Carnegie Mellon University

Roberta Klatzky, 2018 IEEE Fellow

November 29, 2017

IEEE Elects Roberta Klatzky as a 2018 Fellow

By Shilo Rea

Carnegie Mellon University’s Roberta Klatzky, a world-renowned expert in cognition who examines the relationships between human perception and action, with a focus on touch, has been elevated to a fellow in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the world’s largest technical professional organization.

The IEEE fellow status is a distinction reserved for select members who have demonstrated extraordinary accomplishments in an IEEE field of interest. Klatzky, the Charles J. Queenan Professor of Psychology, is being recognized for contributions to human visual, auditory and haptic perception in robotics and virtual environments.

“Bobby is one of our most accomplished scientists and educators. Her work exemplifies the kind of world-class, highly interdisciplinary research that we regard as uniquely CMU. Her work has real-world impact, and it is wonderful that the IEEE has recognized her many contributions,” said Michael J. Tarr, head of the Department of Psychology and the Trustee Professor of Vision Science.

Klatzky, who holds appointments in the Department of Psychology, Human-Computer Interaction Institute and the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC), considers her research as a cognitive scientist who focuses on perception to be far from what most people think of as psychology. She became interested in perception while studying math at the University of Michigan and believes that her math background has been invaluable, given the quantitative nature of her work and her close collaboration with researchers in engineering and the life sciences. 

She investigates perception, action and touch from the perspective of multiple modalities, sensory and symbolic, in real and virtual environments. Her research has been instrumental to the development of telemanipulation, image-guided surgery, navigation aids for the blind and neural rehabilitation.

Klatzky, who joined the CMU faculty in 1993, has also been an instrumental administrator.  She served as head of the internationally renowned Psychology Department from 1993-2003 and helped to sustain the department's leadership in cognitive science, artificial intelligence, and social, developmental and health psychology.

Earlier this year, Klatzky joined the world’s most accomplished scholars, scientists, writers, artists and civic leaders with election into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Her many other awards include the 2010 Alexander von Humboldt Research Award, providing her with support for a period of collaborative research in Munich, and the Kurt Koffka Medaille from Justus-Liebig-University of Giessen, Germany for her work on perception and action.