Since it launched May 2012, AFRON has 300 members from 25 countries including Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Algeria, South Africa, Egypt, Tanzania, Cameroon, and Ethiopia, as well as affiliated members from the US, Switzerland, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, and Argentina. With guidance from an esteemed Advisory Board, AFRON’s first project was the “$10 Robot” International Design Challenge (sponsored in part by IEEE RAS) which sought designs for extremely low cost robots for education. The ten winners (and six Honorable Mentions) were announced at Maker Faire New York in September 2012 and reported in WiRed, IEEE Spectrum, Popular Mechanics, and Slashdot; they were exhibited at UC Berkeley.
The African Robotics Network (AFRON) is a community of institutions, organizations and individuals engaged in robotics in Africa. AFRON seeks to promote communication and collaborations that will enhance robotics-related education, research, and industry on the continent. To achieve this, AFRON organizes projects, meetings and events in Africa and at Robotics and Automation conferences abroad. Established in April 2012, AFRON hosts a website, Facebook page, and moderated email list. There are no subscription fees or dues. To join, please visit the website and click “Membership”.
Co-Founders Ken Goldberg and Ayorkor Korsah Accept the Disruptive Innovation Award
Professor, IEOR, EECS, Art, Information, UC Berkeley, USA
Ken Goldberg is craigslist Distinguished Professor of New Media at UC Berkeley, where he and his students investigate robotics, art, and social media. Goldberg directs the Automation Sciences Research lab and is Faculty Director of the CITRIS Data and Democracy Initiative. Goldberg earned dual degrees in Electrical Engineering and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania (1984) and MS and PhD degrees from Carnegie Mellon University (1990). He joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1995 where he is Professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (IEOR), with secondary appointments in Electrical Engineering/Computer Science (EECS), Art Practice, the School of Information, and in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the UCSF Medical School.
Goldberg has published over 170 peer-reviewed technical papers on algorithms for robotics, automation, and social information filtering; his inventions have been awarded eight US Patents. He is Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering (T-ASE), Co-Founder of the African Robotics Network (AFRON), Co-Founder of the Berkeley Center for New Media (BCNM), Co-Founder and CTO of Hybrid Wisdom Labs, Co-Founder of the Moxie Institute, and Founding Director of UC Berkeley’s Art, Technology, and Culture Lecture Series.
Goldberg’s art installations are related to his research and have been exhibited at venues such as the Whitney Biennial, Berkeley Art Museum, SF Contemporary Jewish Museum, Pompidou Center, Buenos Aires Biennial, and the ICC in Tokyo. Goldberg co-wrote three award-winning Sundance documentary films, “The Tribe”, “Yelp”, and “Connected: An Autoblogography of Love, Death, and Technology.” His artwork is represented by the Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco.
Goldberg was awarded the Presidential Faculty Fellowship in 1995 by President Clinton, the National Science Foundation Faculty Fellowship in 1994, the Joseph Engelberger Robotics Award in 2000, and elected IEEE Fellow in 2005. Goldberg lives in the Bay Area with his daughters and wife, filmmaker and Webby Awards founder Tiffany Shlain.
Asst. Professor, Computer Science, Ashesi University, Accra, Ghana
G. Ayorkor Korsah is an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department at Ashesi University, Ghana, where she teaches courses in programming, algorithms, and AI robotics. She completed her Ph.D. work in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, USA. Ayorkor’s research and professional interests range from designing algorithms for robotics planning and coordination to exploring the role of technology in education in developing communities. In 2012, she co-founded the African Robotics Network with Ken Goldberg, to promote communication and collaborations that will enhance robotics-related education, research, and industry on the continent. She also runs the annual Ashesi Robotics Experience (ARX), a pre-college enrichment program aimed at inspiring high school students to pursue careers in science, technology and engineering.