STEM CONNECT's Duncan earns Emerging Innovator of Year award

The NUTech Ventures Emerging Innovator of the Year was awarded to Brittany Duncan, the Ross McCollum associate professor in the School of Computing and co-director of the NIMBUS Lab. This award recognizes an individual, often a junior faculty member, for recent innovation contributions. Duncan was recognized for the development and novel applications of drone and robotic technologies to solve real-world problems.

Duncan is a co-PI of the NSF STEM CONNECT grant in the Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education.

Watch a YouTube on Duncan:

As follows is the Spotlight article on Duncan, published in the annual report:

Dr. Brittany Duncan is the Ross McCollum Associate Professor in the School of Computing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, as well as a co-director of the NIMBUS (Nebraska Intelligent MoBile Unmanned Systems) Lab. Her research involves the study of unmanned systems with a focus on aerial vehicles to improve their interaction with people and the environment. Much of what she’s doing now is observing how drones can help researchers understand the environment and climate in relation to migration activity in the face of Arctic warming, a collaboration with the University of Alaska – Fairbanks.

Duncan’s research highlights the interface of burgeoning fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and human behavior. She takes interest in people’s perception of robots, specifically small unmanned aerial vehicles, as they become more prevalent in our everyday lives. Her long-term research goal is to continually advance the study and application of drones so that they may comfortably and safely interact and communicate in close proximity to people. Duncan has long explored human-drone interactions through extensive fieldwork with the NIMBUS Lab in her current work at UNL and with the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue in her Ph.D. work. NUtech works closely with Duncan to assess the technology advancements in drone applications coming out of the NIMBUS lab and her work on campus.

Duncan praised NUtech Ventures for their partnership. “NUtech Ventures has been fabulous,” she said. “We’ve been able to work with them to protect our intellectual property, preemptively disclose and protect our products, and file provisional patents. Through their programs, we’ve been able to explore the possibility of a startup business and learn about customer discovery — everything you need to know about starting a small business that academics never think about.”