Thomas R. Kurfess, Ph.D., P.E.
Professor and HUSCO/Ramirez Distinguished Chair in Fluid Power and Motion Control
George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology
Professor Kurfess’ research focuses on the design and development of advanced manufacturing systems targeting complex product production and optimization. He has significant efforts underway in advanced and high precision manufacturing and metrology systems, as well as national and international manufacturing policy issues.
Professor Kurfess served as the Assistant Director for Advanced Manufacturing at the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President of the United States of America. In this position he had responsibility for engaging the Federal sector and the greater scientific community to identify possible areas for policy actions related to manufacturing. He was responsible for coordinating Federal advanced manufacturing R&D, addressing issues related to technology commercialization, identifying gaps in current Federal R&D in advanced manufacturing, and developing strategies to address these gaps.
He has served as a special consultant of the United Nations to the Government of Malaysia in the area of applied mechatronics and manufacturing, and as a participating guest at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in their Precision Engineering Program. He has testified in a number of patent cases, including testifying at the International Trade Commission (ITC). He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, and the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining, and on the Board of Trustees of the MT Connect Institute. He is also the President of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. His research focuses on the design and development of advanced systems targeting the automotive sector (OEM and supplier) including vehicle and production systems. He has significant experience in high precision manufacturing and metrology systems. He has received numerous awards including a National Science Foundation (NSF) Young Investigator Award, an NSF Presidential Faculty Fellowship Award, the ASME Pi Tau Sigma Award, SME Young Manufacturing Engineer of the Year Award, the ASME Blackall Machine Tool and Gage Award, the ASME Gustus L. Larson Award, an ASME Swanson Federal Award, and the SME Education Award. He is a Fellow of the AAAS, the SME and the ASME.
Professor Steve Benford
Professor of Computer Science & EPSRC Dream Fellow
Faculty of Science
University of Nottingham
Steve Benford is Professor of Collaborative Computing at the Mixed Reality Laboratory at the University of Nottingham. His research interests span creative and cultural applications of computing, from interactive art to mainstream entertainment, with a particular focus on new interaction techniques. He has established an international reputation for working with artists to create, tour and study interactive performances that have garnered international acclaim, led to award winning papers and also fed into mainstream entertainment through collaborations with major companies from Sony to the BBC.
Steve’s research has fuelled the emergence of new cultural forms such as pervasive games and mixed reality performance, while also delivering foundational principles for user experience design, most notably his work on trajectories, uncomfortable interactions, spectator interfaces and most recently the hybrid craft of making of physical-digital artefacts.
He has previously held a prestigious EPSRC Dream Fellowship (2011-2014) and was the first Visiting Professor at the BBC in 2012 and a Visiting Researcher at Microsoft Research in 2013.