was held in Baltimore, Maryland on September 10-13 as part of the
. The event took place at
, a relatively expensive and old
hotel but conveniently situated in the very downtown. The conferences were chaired by Prof. Lung-Wen Tsai
while the Technical Program Chairman was .
The Academic Program
Sunday morning, September 10, the conferences started with several tutorials given in parallel. Of particular interest
was the , presented by
The tutorial attracted a relatively large number of international attendees despite its three-hour duration
and the jet lag (particularly harsh for our Asian colleagues).
A large number of papers on parallel manipulators with a strong emphasis on practical issues were
presented in series during six sessions starting from Monday morning and ending on Tuesday noon. The
sessions attracted distinguished researchers such as Prof. Joseph Duffy, Prof. Lung-Wen Tsai,
papers with a bunch of his students),
Prof. Marco Ceccarelli, Prof. Vincenzo Parenti-Castelli, and several others.
Tuesday afternoon, an interesting special session on Rapid Prototyping of Mechanisms and Robotic
Systems was held, organized by Prof. Constantinos Mavroidis and
. Six papers were
presented. The session was ignited with the presentation of Thierry Laliberté and
their demonstration of a
made by rapid prototyping.
The Tours and Receptions
The opening reception was held on Sunday evening at Johns Hopkins University. Next evening, a University
of Maryland reception was given at the Omni Hotel. Tuesday late afternoon, a University of Maryland tour
was organized. Demonstrations of several student projects were part of the program, followed by a brief
reception offered by the Faculty of Engineering, and a tour of the campus. Unfortunately, neither
of the several parallel manipulators at UMD were shown. Finally, for the remaining enthusiasts, a tour to
the was made on Wednesday afternoon.
The tour included demonstrations of the Ingersoll's
by Al Wavering and
of the NIST's by Roger Bostelman.
On Monday, a luncheon for the Mechanisms Conference attendees was given at which a number of awards
were presented (though some of them virtual, due to blunders in the fabrication and delivery of
the real trophies). Some of the awards included the Mechanisms Comitte Award
presented to , the
Mechanisms Comitte Best Paper Award, received by the same, the DED Outstanding Design Educator Award
given to , and the
DED Machine Design Award presented to Prof. Joseph Duffy.
, the largest city in Maryland, with its population of
slightly less than a million, is a major seaport and industrial center. Largely rebuilt after a
fire in 1904, it is famous for its white-stepped, red-brick row houses. Johns Hopkins University
and Goucher College are among the city's many educational institutions. The city's points of
interest include the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Inner Harbor area, including the U.S.S.
Constellation and the National Aquarium, the nation's third oldest zoo, and the Maryland Science
The Next BMRC
Overall, the conference was well organized, with an increased participation rate and quite a few
of tours. The standards are raised for the next Biennial Mechanisms and Robotics Conference that
will be held in Montreal in 2002. Its organizers, though, should not be too much worried, as some of
their obvious advantages to offer are lower cost and better venue with a much larger international
airport and countless cultural features. Possible activities may well include a tour to the Canadian
Space Agency, a tour to the CAE with a demonstration of its flight simulators, a visit to the Centre
for Intelligent Machines at McGill, and a visit to the robotics lab at Laval University in Quebec city.