Research News

Vanderbilt engineering grad student wins NASA fellowship

Vanderbilt graduate student Electa Baker is one 65 individuals that NASA has selected for its 2013 class of Space Technology Research Fellows.

Electa Baker (John Russell / Vanderbilt)

The fellowship will enable Baker to create new visualization methods that allow robot operators to assess the large amounts of information that they need to supervise robotic operations. This information will be displayed in specially designed interactive maps that can also be used to provide autonomous robots with the information that they need to do their jobs without human supervision.

NASA experts judged her research to be highly innovative with potentially valuable space and commercial applications.

Baker will be collaborating with researchers at NASA while continuing to work on campus under the guidance of her adviser, Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Julie A. Adams. The goal of their research is to define a set of standardized conventions to visualize large amounts of information. Robotics is a rapidly emerging field, so it is important to create an effective visual standard for operators working across a broad range of environments that is also suitable for robots of varying levels of autonomy.