Northeast Robotics Colloquium

Welcome to the 5th edition of NERC!

List of Posters (PDF)

Program finalized.


The Northeast Robotics Colloquium (NERC) brings together the roboticists in the northeastern United States and Canada, in an event that is simultaneously a research meeting, a networking event, a job-fair, and a showcase for established and up-and-coming robot companies. Ultimately, we hope to promote the kind of healthy and well-connected robotics community that will be essential in fueling the field's rapid growth in the coming decade.

NERC is back in 2016, hosted at Cornell University above the shores of Cayuga Lake in Ithaca, NY.

Date: noon, October 29 – noon, October 30, 2016
Location: Cornell University (Schwartz Auditorium, Rockefeller Hall)

The colloquium will feature invited research talks by leading local academics, robotics industry booths and demos, recruitment opportunities, and the opportunity to meet and mix with other roboticists. Academic and industrial research labs will have the opportunity to present their work at a poster session.

The colloquium will feature an extensive poster/demo session intended to foster discussion on the recent developments in robotics from both academia and industry. This is a great opportunity for you to publicize your ongoing work, as well as get feedback.

Are you looking for a job or internship in robotics? Please fill this form. We will send your contact and CV to our industrial sponsors.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers

Kirstin Petersen, Cornell University.

Kirstin Petersen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. She is interested in design of multi-robot systems inspired by social insects in nature, with distributed control and simple individuals to collectively achieve complex goals. Her research is especially focused around robot collectives capable of autonomous construction of user-specified structures in three-dimensions. The work spans electronics, mechanics, embedded software, algorithms, entomology, and architecture.

Tim Barfoot, University of Toronto.

Tim Barfoot is a Professor at the Institute for Aerospace Studies. He works in the area of guidance, navigation, and control of mobile robots for space and terrestrial applications. He is interested in developing methods to allow mobile robots to operate in large-scale, unstructured, three-dimensional environments, using rich onboard sensing (e.g., cameras and laser rangefinders, not the global-positioning system) and computation.

Marjorie McShane, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Marjorie McShane is an Associate Professor in the Cognitive Science Department at RPI, whjere she co-directs the Language-endowed Intelligent Agents Lab. She focuses on the connection between natural language understanding and cognition, including computational semantics, knowledge representation, and reference resolution.

Adam Rouse, University of Rochester Medical Center.

Adam Rouse is a Post-doctoral Associate at the University of Rochester in the department of Neuroscience. He is a member of Marc Schieber’s Finger Movement Laboratory which investigates how the brain controls movements of the body, and how to advance brain-machine interface technology for restoration and repair of lost or damaged neurological function. His work is focused on understanding the neural control of coordinated movements of the arm and hand as well as designing novel algorithms for decoding neural signals to control upper limb prosthetics.

Important Dates

Poster/Demo Submission October 20, 2016
Poster/Demo Acceptance Notification October 23, 2016
Online Registration Deadline October 25, 2016
NERC Experience Registration Deadline October 25, 2016
Colloquium October 29–30, 2016


Registration is now open here.

Registration options:

Regular registration (faculty, graduate students)$50
Reduced (undergraduates, high school students,
high school teachers, family members over 12)
Family members under 12free

Early registration closes on October 25, 2016. Late/on-site registration is $20 more.

The NERC Experience

The NERC Experience is designed to make it easy and fun to attend NERC for people based in major cities, such as Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Albany. The NERC Experience includes transportation to and from the event, as well as a great networking lunch on the way home. You may purchase the NERC Experience during registration. Be sure to indicate your preferred city. Information on the buses for each city is below.

City Pickup time Pickup location Dropoff time
Boston approx 6am Saturday 25 Hayward St, Cambridge (MIT) approx 8pm Sunday
Philadelphia approx 7am Saturday 3330 Walnut St, on the left, in front of the School of Engineering and Applied Science (UPenn) approx 7pm Sunday
Pittsburgh approx 6am Saturday 5000 Forbes Ave, bus pullout (CMU) approx 8pm Sunday
Albany approx 9am Saturday U-shaped driveway at the RPI student union approx 5pm Sunday


Saturday, October 29

5:30 am Bus pickup at CMU -- arrive at Rockefeller Hall, Cornell 11:45 am
6:00 am Bus pickup at MIT -- arrive at Rockefeller Hall, Cornell 12:20 pm
7:15 am Bus pickup at UPenn -- arrive at Rockefeller Hall, Cornell 11:50 am
9:00 am Bus pickup at RPI -- arrive at Rockefeller Hall, Cornell 12:20 pm
11:00 am Registration desk opens
Noon Registration; Sign up for dinner; Poster setup; Box lunch
Lunch rooms: 110, 183, 185, 187, 189
1:30 pm Welcome to NERC
1:40 pm Poster lightning talks I
2:00 pm Marjorie McShane (RPI)
2:40 pm Poster lightning talks II
3:00 pm Coffee break
3:30 pm Poster lightning talks III
3:50 pm Adam Rouse (URMC)
4:30 pm Poster session
5:30pm Company spotlight talk: Amazon Robotics
5:45pm Company spotlight talk: Toyota Research Institute
6:00 pm Dinner on the town (not included in NERC registration)
6:30 pm Bus from Rockefeller to Ramada
7:00 pm Optional evening entertainment (free)
8:00 pm Optional evening entertainment (free)
  • Board games (Gates Hall 114)
  • Modern music: Bitter Banquet, a collection of songs and projections based on Euripides's tragedies (Klarman Hall, Rhodes-Rawlings Auditorium)
8:30 pm Bus from Rockefeller to Ramada
10:30 pm Bus from Rockefeller to Ramada

Sunday, October 30

8:00 am Bus from Ramada to Rockefeller
8:30 am Breakfast at Rockefeller Hall
9:00 am Tim Barfoot (Toronto)
9:40 am Kirstin Petersen (Cornell)
10:20 am - Noon Walk to Upson hall for lab tours
Schedule: Tours at 10:40, 11:10 and 11:40
  • Organic Robotic Lab (Shepherd) - Upson 442
  • Autonomous Systems Lab (Campbell and Kress-Gazit) - Upson 550
  • ONLY 10:40 - Human-Robot Collaboration and Companionship Lab (Hoffman) - Upson 562 - ONLY 10:40
  • Robotics and Biomechanics (Ruina) - Upson 566
  • Robotic Personal Assistants Lab (Knepper) - Upson 572
Noon NERC ends; buses depart from Rockefeller to Ithaca Farmer's Market for lunch
2:00 pm Buses depart from Ithaca Farmer's Market for RPI, MIT, UPenn, and CMU

Travel and Accommodation

Ithaca, NY is centrally located within the northeastern United States, being approximately four hours by car from New York City, Philadelphia, and Toronto, and about five hours from Boston, Washington DC, Pittsburgh, Montreal, and Cleveland.

Transportation: The NERC Experience is available for $20/seat (free to children 12 and under) from Boston, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia. Buses will depart at about 6am the morning of NERC. Details here.

Affordable commercial bus service is available from New York City on CoachUSA and Big Red Bullet, and Cornell operates its own campus-to-campus coach service.

Direct flights operate daily on the major carriers to Ithaca-Tompkins County Regional Airport from Philadelphia, Newark, and Detroit.

Cornell is a scenic 4--5 hour drive from most major Northeastern cities. If you arrive by car via these directions, it is a 7-minute walk to NERC in Rockefeller Hall.

Hotel: We have reserved a block of rooms at a discounted rate at the Ramada Ithaca Hotel. To book a room, call (800) 854-9517 before October 12.

Parking: On the weekend, many parking lots are free on Cornell's campus. It is recommended that you park in the Hoy Garage, whch is only a 7-minute walk from NERC. Please see the map below for details. Handicap parking is available in front of Clark Hall off of Garden Avenue -- enter through Clark Hall, which connects to Rockefeller.

Click for larger map

NERC is a family-friendly event

Because NERC is held on a weekend, it is specifically designed to make it easy for families to attend. We're including a low-cost family registration option (and kids under 12 are free!).

Your family can attend and share the food at the conference. Your children can have fun looking and interacting with real robots. Like last year, we will have a kids table with fun robot-themed activities (“early indoctrination”), including play-dough, blocks, robot toys, robot coloring books...

Ithaca is a family-friendly city. Highlights include the ScienCenter and the Cornell Plantations.

Organizing Committee

Steering Committee


Are you looking for a job or internship in robotics? Please fill this form. We will send your contact and CV to our industrial sponsors.

Attribution statement: All logos are the registered trademarks of their respective holders.

More Coming Soon!

Please e-mail the organizers if your company is interested in sponsoring NERC. This is a great recruitment opportunity!