Carnegie Mellon University

viewing Armor 1 mat sinking unit at night

April 29, 2022

Night at NREC

On April 28, 2022, a group of approximately 65 students enrolled in the Master of Science in Robotic Systems Development (MSRD) program at Carnegie Mellon University were invited to spend an evening at the National Robotics Engineering Center in Lawrenceville.

After a brief welcome and introduction, students split into groups to explore several different projects throughout the building. Demonstrations included humanitarian demining operations, agriculture technology advancements, camera sensing and vision systems, drone mapping, and environmental simulation tools, a blend of internal NREC development projects and client sponsored work in the mining industry.

"There is immense talent throughout this group of MSRD students. They are individually curious and collectively capable of achieving truly spectacular feats." — Dimi Apostolopoulos

Discussion of project technology and potential future applications carried over into several dinner conversations between fellow engineers. Before departing for the end of the end of the evening, the group was able to watch Armor 1 in action, its giant 2-ton arms picking up concrete mats, aligning, and tying the mat sheets together. The yellow structure in NREC’s parking lot is only one third of the fully deployed system to revolutionize revetment operations along the Mississippi River.

Dimi Apostolopoulos, Senior Systems Scientist, leads the MSRD program with John Dolan, Program Director, on CMU campus.

“Night at NREC is one of my favorite events to coordinate and host, combining my on-campus instruction with the Robotics Institute and my applied robotics research at NREC. There is immense talent throughout this group of MSRD students. They are individually curious and collectively capable of achieving truly spectacular feats, and I am excited to watch their careers take off in various robotics industries,” said Apostolopoulos.

NREC is glad to resume the annual Night at NREC event following two years of pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Master of Science (M.S.) in Robotic Systems Development (MSRD) is an advanced graduate degree with a focus on technical and business skills. The program is designed for recent college graduates or practicing professionals who wish to enter the robotics and automation field as practitioners in the commercial sector. MSRD aims to teach the multidisciplinary skills needed to succeed in industry.

the group of students poses for a photo in the high bay

Students pose for a group photo in the high bay.








students practice flying virtual drone with joystick

Practicing drone flight during a project demonstration.









an NREC engineer explains the background and process of armor 1 before the demo

Explaining the purpose and functions of the Armor 1 mat sinking unit prior to demonstration.









students are welcomed to NREC in the auditorium

Dimi Apostolopoulos welcomes students to the National Robotics Engineering Center.









students gather to learn about a project in the high bay

One group gathers to learn about various agriculture tech projects from an NREC engineer in the high bay.









learning about demining operations

NREC engineers explain technology developed for humanitarian demining operations.