Robotics Innovation Center Will Anchor Community Outreach Programs in Hazelwood

Stacey FederoffTuesday, February 6, 2024

When the Robotics Innovation Center is completed next year, it will serve as a home to well-established programs connecting CMU and the Hazelwood community.

Situated on the 178-acre site of a former steel mill, Hazelwood Green will soon include Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Innovation Center (RIC). Upon its completion in 2025, the RIC will serve as a home to well-established programs connecting CMU and the Hazelwood community.

Future tenants, such as the Girls of Steel K-12 robotics team, are eager for the facility's opening.

"We've always just sort of scavenged for whatever space we could get," said George Kantor, director of Girls of Steel and a research professor in the Robotics Institute (RI). "Part of having our new space at the RIC was to support the kinds of outreach that we really want to do."

The program reaches about 300 students per year, from elementary level to high school, and teaches them how to build robots. Kantor said having a permanent dedicated space near other research and innovation at the RIC may allow it to reach even more young people.

"We want this to not only be a building for CMU robotics and mechanical engineering people; we want it to be a building for the community," Kantor said.

As breakthroughs in the field rapidly continue, CMU researchers seek new ways for robotics to benefit everyday life. Expanding into Hazelwood provided the right location to engage with Pittsburgh. The architectural features of the planned 150,000-square-foot RIC include an outdoor robot "running room" for testing and sightlines through glass windows into different labs that will help connect the public outside to the researchers inside.

"Robotics is a physical discipline. We build things that move around in the world, and we need space to do it," said RI Director Matthew Johnson-Roberson. "CMU is an integral part of a larger ecosystem, and the more we strengthen those links, the more people can feel like the stuff that we're working on is a benefit to them."

To read more about the programs housed in the RIC and how they'll benefit Hazelwood and the surrounding community, read the full story on the CMU News website.

For More Information

Aaron Aupperlee | 412-268-9068 |