About Us

LCSR’s mission is to create knowledge and foster innovation to further the field of robotics science and engineering. We will accomplish this goal by cultivating excellence in research and teaching in robotics engineering sciences, and by exploiting opportunities for robotics research and interdisciplinary synergy across all JHU divisions and with collaborators worldwide.

The center’s researchers see robotics as an essential link between computation and action that enhances the health, safety, and efficacy of human.



Who We Are

Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics (LCSR) is a not-for-profit interdisciplinary academic center for engineering, research and development. LCSR was founded as principal locus for robotics research at one of the world’s premier research universities, Johns Hopkins University (JHU). LCSR is comprised of personnel from The Whiting School of Engineering (WSE), the JHU School of Medicine (SOM), Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, and the JHU Applied Physics Laboratory(APL). The Center fosters targeted research programs and collaboration with universities, corporations, and other research organizations worldwide. Located in Hackerman Hall at the Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood campus in Baltimore, Maryland, this unique research center is one of the largest and most technologically advanced robotics research centers in the world.



What We Do

LCSR is currently engaged in a number of research areas that show extraordinary promise:

  • Robotics and Computer Assisted Surgical Technology
  • Robotics in Extreme Environments
  • Perception and Cognitive Systems
  • Modeling, Dynamics, Navigation, and Control
  • Human-Machine Collaborative Systems
  • Bio-Robotics



A Brief History of Robotics at Johns Hopkins

The field of robotics as an engineering discipline had its start in World War II, with teleoperated systems for manipulating radioactive materials. Subsequently, robots were introduced for such industrial applications as welding, painting, materials handling and assembly, as well as a broad range of service applications. The field first emerged as an academic discipline in the 1960’s, with publication of Heinrich Ernst’s 1962 MIT Sc.D. thesis on the MH-1 manipulator, followed by interdisciplinary research in laboratories at Stanford, MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, and elsewhere in the 1970’s. The field of robotics has expanded dramatically in the years since.

Robotics systems fundamentally couple information to action in the physical world. The field encompasses a broad array of integrated actuation, electronics, sensors, and algorithms for planning and control, man-machine interface, and other enabling technologies. Robotics research develops and integrates these technologies to enable systems with the intelligence and adaptability to cope with unstructured environments. The study of robotics includes highly interdisciplinary topics, in particular mechanics and dynamics, kinematics, sensing, signal processing, control systems, planning, artificial intelligence, biology, and biomechanics.

Applications of robotics technology and systems are becoming ubiquitous in our society, including medicine, manufacturing, space exploration, disaster recovery, ordinance disposal, deep-sea navigation, home care, and home automation. The latter is becoming increasingly important with the aging of the population. It is not surprising that Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, identified robotics, and personal robotics specifically, as being the next area for intellectual development, technological innovation and massive commercialization. Johns Hopkins University plays an important role in developing the workforce for an emerging market.

The Johns Hopkins robotics research dates to the early 1960s when researchers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU APL) developed the Johns Hopkins Beast, a wheeled mobile robot that reportedly could navigate hallways and automatically locate and connect to wall outlets to autonomously recharge its batteries. Robotics research at the Whiting School of Engineering (WSE) began in the mid-1990s with the arrival of Gregory Chirikjian in 1992, and of Louis Whitcomb and Russell Taylor in 1995. Subsequently, the establishment of the NSF Engineering Research Center for Computer-Integrated Surgical Systems and Technology (CISST ERC) in 1998 led to a significant expansion of the robotics program, with a strong emphasis on medical robotics.

The Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics (LCSR) was established in 2007 to provide infrastructure for a broad interdisciplinary program in robotics research. Johns Hopkins is widely regarded as one of the top robotics research sites in the world, and is #1 in medical robotics. Currently, eleven full time WSE faculty members are closely affiliated with LCSR, along with 4 faculty members from other JHU divisions who hold secondary appointments in WSE. Disciplines include Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Radiology, and Urology.



The Robotics High-Bay

This open, two-story facility allows guests to observe activities taking place in the LCSR.

Lynn and Joseph R. Reynolds, Jr. Student Innovation Laboratory

This lab, located in the larger robotics laboratory, is a space for students to collaborate and conduct robotics research projects.

The Richard A. Swirnow Computer Integrated and Interventional Systems Mock Operating Room

This laboratory provides opportunities for collaboration between faculty and students from the Whiting School and the School of Medicine to develop and test applications for surgical robotics.


A state-of-the-art 98 seat space for classes and seminars.

Whiting School Multimedia Exhibit Wall

Located on the 1st floor, this wall provides an illuminating look at engineering achievements at Johns Hopkins.

Hackerman Hall Facts
  • Building area: 79,000 sq. ft.
  • Capacity of the underground garage: 604 vehicles
  • Dirt removed from construction site: 12,000 truckloads
  • Labor hours during construction: 340,000