The Robotic Renaissance Project is an original Curriculum Innovation and Development Project developed under the auspices of Gateway Engineering Education Coalition and the National Science Foundation. The essence of this project is to adopt mobile robotic technology from engineering and implement it in an interdisciplinary education environment involving the performing arts and design.

Students from the Art, Architecture and Engineering Schools worked in interdisciplinary teams to develop projects revolving around robotics and theater. Each team developed a dramatic scenario which could be acted out by robots. Instructors put forward materials on the history of robots in film and theater, from Karel Capek's R.U.R. to Star Wars. Projects included plays, performative works and robotic inventions and culminated in a telerobotic exhibition at The Whitney Museum of American Art in the Spring 2001, where a robot roamed the museum and was controlled by viewers over the web who were in communication with physical visitors.

The Project had three major objectives:

  1. To create and implement an interdisciplinary curriculum for the development of robotics and its use in theater and film
  2. To initiate a permanent telerobotic theater environment at The Cooper Union
  3. To produce, during the tenure of the The Gateway Coalition, a major public presentation under the direction of a professional artist

The Robotic Renaissance Project was developed in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The Cooper Union under the leadership of Chairperson Professor Jean LeMée, with Dr. Stan Wei, Dr. Carl Weiman, and Adrianne Wortzel.