Internationally renowned UCLA professor of engineering Dennis Hong gets excited about robots — downright giddy at times. He’s instilled that excitement, along with a palpable sense of creative promise in the students with whom he works most closely, through RoMeLa, the Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory Hong founded that is now housed in the mechanical and engineering department at UCLA.
“Ultimately we really believe we are developing technology that will be able to help humanity and help save the Earth — that is what drives us,” he said.
Starting Dec. 1, visitors to the UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center will get to experience some of their handiwork by interacting with Los Angeles’ first-ever robot concierge, called LARA, which will be a permanent fixture at the conference center. Hong and his students unveiled LARA at a FuturizeX event on Nov. 9.
LARA — or “Luskin Automated Reception Assistant” — was custom built by Hong’s students, one of whom also provided the voice for the two-foot-tall humanoid robot. LARA can via an iPad interface greet Luskin guests and…
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Jessica Wolf, UCLA Newsroom