UW News

November 28, 2017

Two UW professors elevated to IEEE Fellows

Two faculty members in the University of Washington College of Engineering have been elected as 2018 fellows of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Tom Furness, professor of industrial and systems engineering, was honored for “leadership in virtual and augmented reality” and Siddhartha “Sidd” Srinivasa, professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, was recognized for “contributions to robotic manipulation and human-robot interaction.”

The IEEE Fellow distinction is reserved for select members who exhibit an extraordinary record of accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest, which include aerospace systems, biomedical engineering, computing, consumer electronics, energy, telecommunications and more. Nominated by peers and conferred by the IEEE Board of Directors, fellowship is considered both a prestigious honor and a noteworthy career achievement within the technical community. The total number selected in any one year does not exceed one-tenth of 1 percent of the Institute’s total voting membership.

Tom Furness

Tom Furness

Furness is a pioneer in human interface technology and grandfather of virtual reality. In addition to his ISE professorship, he holds adjunct professorships in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and human-centered design and engineering. He is the founder of the Human Interface Technology Laboratory (HIT Lab) at UW and sister HIT Labs at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the University of Tasmania, in Australia. He is also the founder of the Virtual World Society, which is dedicated to bringing together hearts and minds through virtual reality to solve pervasive problems in the world.

Prior to joining the faculty at the UW in 1989, Furness served a combined 23 years as a U.S. Air Force officer and civilian scientist developing advanced cockpits and virtual interfaces for the Department of Defense. Furness lectures and speaks widely on virtual reality innovations and holds 21 patents in advanced sensor, display and interface technologies.

Siddhartha Srinivasa

Siddhartha Srinivasa

Srinivasa joined the Allen School faculty this past fall as the Boeing Endowed Professor from the faculty of Carnegie Mellon University, where he was a member of the Robotics Institute and founding director of the Personal Robotics Lab. He has made pioneering contributions to two fundamental areas of robotics, robotic manipulation and human-robot interaction (HRI), with the aim of enabling robots to perform complex tasks with and around people. A full-stack roboticist, Srinivasa has built several end-to-end systems that integrate perception, planning and control in the real world.

Srinivasa’s groundbreaking work in manipulation has enabled robots to push, pull and sweep objects under conditions of clutter and uncertainty through non-prehensile, physics-based interactions. He also is credited with having created the field of algorithmic HRI through his efforts to build the formal mathematical foundations of human-robot interaction. To that end, Srinivasa and his team built HERB, the Home Exploring Robot Butler, to serve as a realistic testbed for new algorithms enabling human-robot collaboration. In addition to his role in the lab, HERB has become an ambassador of sorts for Srinivasa and his team — and for the field of robotics, generally.