Robotics Research

Creations Limited Only by Imagination

At Mason, our robotics researchers are generating technology that approaches the imagination and vision of H.G. Wells, George Lucas, and even Douglas Adams. Our robots are learning. Our robots are seeing. Our robots are doing. Our robots are saving the day.


Empowering Robots to Learn, See, and Do

Mason researchers Dan Lofaro and Sean Luke pose for a team picture with Mason's Robot World Cup Team
Mason researchers Dan Lofaro and Sean Luke pose for a team shot with three generations of RoboPatriots. The program functions to push the boundaries of computer learning and robotic engineering.

Remember the robot in "Lost in Space" that could accomplish hard physical tasks, warn of imminent danger, solve problems, and function in extreme environments? With advanced developments in computer learning and design in the field of applied robotics at the Volgenau School of Engineering, a vision of the future including such devices has never been more real. 

After the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) issued an urgent call for the development of robotic solutions that could venture into and potentially fix situations too dangerous for human technicians. As a long-time leader in autonomous robotics controls, Mason is answering that challenge. Our researchers, programmers, and engineers are designing and testing a wide variety of mechanisms that could aid in discovery, recovery, and remediation of industrial accidents while at the same time lending these advances to solutions that improve everyday life.

The laboratory is a collective effort among seven faculty in the Department of Computer Science at Mason, researching the following topics:


Researcher Profile: Zoran Duric, Robotics


Portrait of Volgenau's Zoran Dunic

Zoran Dunic

Zoran Duric has published more than 80 technical papers and developed techniques on various topics including computer vision, information hiding, and video processing. Most recently, the focus of his research has been the study and simulation of human movement. His research leadership and participation in the George Mason University Autonomous Robotics Laboratory has added new dimension to human simulated autonomous movement and machine learning. He is an Area Editor of the Pattern Recognition Journal and a member of the Editorial Board of the IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems.

Dr. Duric received his MS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1986. From 1982 to 1989, he was a Member of the Research Staff at the Division for Vision and Robotics, Energoinvest Institute for Control and Computer Science, in Sarajevo. He was also affiliated with the Electrical Engineering Department of the University of Sarajevo. He earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland at College Park in 1995, and joined the Mason Faculty in the fall of 1997.

He teaches such classes as Computer Vision and Introduction to Artificial Intelligence.


Departments Active in Robotics and Autonomous Systems Research


The Department of Bioengineering has close collaborations with national laboratories and medical facilities in the Washington DC metropolitan area, including the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, (NIH), Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), Children’s National Medical Center (CNMC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and INOVA hospitals. Through the efforts of our faculty and students, we seek to achieve national recognition in bioengineering research and education.

The Sid and Reva Dewberry Department of Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering

CEIE Department attracts and educates Virginia’s best performing students as well as national and international undergraduate and graduate students. Our students are opportunity seekers who are prepared to develop and implement innovative and successful solutions to today’s complex and multi-disciplinary engineering challenges.

Computer Science

Researchers in the Department of Computer Science design, implement, and maintain computer software systems used in almost all other professions. Students majoring in computer science will become well grounded in technologies needed for the acquisition, representation, storage, transmission, transformation, and use of information in digital form and must be capable of working closely with members of other professions associated with computing.

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Researchers in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department work on the foundations on which computer engineering and computer science rest. Electrical engineers design and build the equipment that most of us take for granted—computers, cell phones, televisions, rockets, satellites, communications and computer networks, mobile radios, environmental control systems, robots, weapons, and medical devices. With a proud history as one of the school’s founding departments, ECE also the distinction of being closely allied with the recently established Department of Bioengineering.

Mechanical Engineering

Our goal is to enable multiple robots to work as a team to perform complex real-world tasks. By designing theories and algorithms to control teams of robots, we envision autonomous agents to help human workers in many applications including agriculture, environmental monitoring, security, or disaster response.