Holly Yanco

Holly Yanco is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and the Director of the New England Robotics Validation and Experimentation (NERVE) Center. She was named Distinguished University Professor at the university in 2015. Her research interests include human-robot interaction, multi-touch computing, interface design, robot autonomy, fostering trust of autonomous systems, evaluation methods for human-robot interaction, and the use of robots in K-12 education to broaden participation in computer science. Yanco's research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, including a CAREER Award, the Army Research Office, DARPA, NIST, and Google. Yanco was the General Chair of the 2012 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction and is now the co-chair of the conference's steering committee. She served on the Executive Council of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) from 2006-2009 and was the Symposium Chair for AAAI from 2002-2005. She is a senior member of AAAI. Yanco has a PhD and MS in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a BA in Computer Science and Philosophy from Wellesley College.

Victoria Albanese

Victoria is currently a graduate student at the UMass Lowell, pursuing a master's degree in Computer Science. In 2018, she graduated from UML with a bachelor’s degree in the same, with minors in Robotics and Mathematics. I work as a TA for Mobile Robotics I and II as well as a RA at the HRI Lab. My latest project involved The Rapid Synchronization of Dense Point Clouds to Enable Robotic Manipulation for the Verizon 5G robotics competition. Here we leveraged Verizon’s super fast Edge computers to compile object models from multiple point cloud streams; this allowed a UR5 to analyze the model and pick up an unknown object quickly, for example on a moving conveyor belt. Another project (my senior capstone) involved enabling a two armed Baxter robot to solve the Rubik’s Cube. When I’m not cubing, in my spare time I enjoy tap dancing, jigsaw puzzles, Doctor Who, and Star Wars.

Jordan Allspaw

Jordan is the mananger of the HRI Lab . After graduating high school in 2008 he has moved away from his hometown in California to the more seasonal northeast. Before changing to a Computer Science major he studied at Northeastern University as a Chemical Engineer, and maintains a strong interest and background in the sciences. In the lab he has had a chance to work on various multi-touch systems and looks forward to his future projects. An eagle scout and ex-track runner, his hobbies include distance running and video games.

Zhao Han

Zhao is a doctoral student at UMass Lowell. Before coming to Massachusetts - the hub of robotics, he graduated with his Bachelor and Master’s degrees with three co-op semesters from the University of Manitoba in Canada. Prior to that, he watched the 2008 Summer Olympics in his hometown, China. As of Feb. 2017, Zhao is working on a humanoid robot, Baxter, making its handover movements more human-like, especially for a natural release when you want to take the object from its hand. In his free time, Zhao enjoys exploring New England and travelling far occasionally.

Adam Norton

Adam Norton is the Assistant Director of the New England Robotics Validation and Experimentation (NERVE) Center. His research interests include the design of robot control interfaces, evaluation methods for robots and end users, and using robotics for outreach with students. At the NERVE Center Adam is responsible for evaluating robot capabilities and developing new test methods for robots and end users of robots. He has developed test methods with NIST for response robots (ASTM E54.08.01) and autonomous industrial vehicles (ASTM F45), evaluated human-robot interaction (HRI) at the DARPA Robotics Challenge, and autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for DARPA's Fast Lightweight Autonomy program. Adam has worked in the Robotics Lab at UMass Lowell since 2006 as the media and graphic designer. Adam has also aided in designing and fabricating robot modifications for some of the lab's robots. He is an instructor and core member of the Artbotics program, which combines art, computer science, and robotics to create interactive, kinetic sculptures. He graduated from UMass Lowell in 2010 with a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Art and Graphic Design.

Undergraduate students

  • Gal Bejerano
  • Shannon Conneilly
  • John DeNyse
  • Peter Gavriel
  • Daniel Giger
  • Michael Gonzales
  • Dan Hemphill
  • Patrick Hoey
  • Gregory LeMasurier
  • Daniel Lynch
  • Jenna Parrillo
  • Rohan Shankar
  • Alexander Skinner
  • Alexander (Sasha) Wilkinson
  • Kevin Yassini


Members of the HRI Lab with collaborators from BYU and CMU during a visit to Amazon Robotics in Summer 2019

Robotics Lab Alumni