BOSTON - Two university programs that are recipients of Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative grants, Northeastern University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), were highlighted by their respective institutions.
While both of these grantees are part of the Commonwealth’s program to invest in innovative advanced manufacturing they could not be more different, reflecting the broad diversity of the state’s advanced manufacturing sector.
One of the major challenges facing the seafood industry in the United States happens after a fish is caught and brought to shore for processing. Cleaning, preparing, and packaging seafood for transportation to its next destination is extremely unattractive to workers because it is challenging and unpleasant. This has created a less than desirable system where seafood caught in US waters is shipped internationally for processing and then shipped back to the US for distribution. In January, a team at Northeastern received a $500,000 grant from M2I2 to address this problematic system.
Laura Castanon of News@Northeastern recently interviewed the Northeastern team on how they see multi-use collaborative robotics as a solution to this problem. “If we can augment every human worker we have right now with a robotic coworker, we should be able to double the production. We should be able to process the seafood that we cannot currently process in the United States,” said Taskin Padir, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Northeastern tasked with designing and building the robots.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
MIT.nano reported on a recent visit by M2I2 officials to their Lab for Education and Application Prototypes (LEAP) at MIT. Opened in 2017 after receiving a grant from M2I2, the LEAP is part of the AIM Photonics Academy which houses its administrative offices at MIT. The visit was part of an annual review of M2I2’s commitment to the LEAP.
“The LEAP is becoming a hub on campus for the packaging and testing of both electronic and photonic chips,” said Anuradha Agarwal, the leader of the LEAP and a principal research scientist at the MIT Materials Research Laboratory.
In 2018, M2I2 announced a $4 million grant for an AIM Photonics R&D facility at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Launched by the Baker-Polito Administration in 2016, the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative (M2I2) aims to help Massachusetts manufacturers adopt innovative new technologies and guides the state’s investment in the Manufacturing USA program. The Administration has committed $100 million-plus in funding to support M2I2 projects across the Commonwealth; the investments are managed by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. Through the creation of sector-specific Manufacturing USA Centers, M2I2 will advance innovations and job growth within the state through cross-collaboration among companies, universities, national labs, government, incubators, accelerators, and other academic and training institutions.