Assistant Professor Jacob George

Electrical and computer engineering assistant professor Jacob George was recently awarded the NVIDIA Jetson Nano 2GB Developer Kit Grant Program. Jetson Nanos are small embedded systems capable of running AI and IoT applications and are ideal for learning, building and teaching AI and robotics. 

The program offers a limited number of professors, educators, and trainers from around the world access to Jetson developer kits. George intends to utilize the kits in a series of new robotics courses that will be offered at the University of Utah beginning Fall 2021 and Spring 2022. The courses were developed alongside ECE assistant professor Daniel Drew.

“We wanted to make these courses affordable for students while still providing them with an awesome experience and the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art equipment. This program allows us to do that,” George said. 

NVIDIA Jetson Nano

Introduction to Robotics & AI will offer ECE and ME undergraduates hands-on, project-guided learning. Students can look forward to projects involving mobile robots with embedded computer vision and intelligent cyber-physical systems modulating IOT in real-time. The course was developed around the idea that early exposure to these applications will encourage students to pursue more advanced coursework and careers in Robotics and AI. 

The second course, Neural Engineering and NeuroRobots, is intended for graduate students in ECE, BME, ME, and CS and focuses on tools in the field of Neural Engineering with an emphasis on real-time robotic applications. 

“Robotics is interdisciplinary,” George said. “These courses are not only for ECE students but students from a variety of departments will have access to these courses.” 

By the end of the course, students will have the opportunity to create various neurorobotic applications based on techniques they’ve learned. Possible student projects include bionic arms controlled by thought that restore a natural sense of touch or neural links that can decode a person’s thoughts to reanimate a paralyzed limb.

Jetson Nanos will enable students to develop real-world, cutting-edge medical applications using robotics & AI. George anticipates that in time, the kits will benefit a variety of other courses throughout the ECE department.