Marcia O’Malley receives IEEE Distinguished Service Award

Rice mechanical engineer recognized for service to the Robotics and Automation Society, contributions to the haptics community.

Marcia O'Malley receives IEEE award

Marcia O’Malley, department chair and Thomas Michael Panos Family Professor in Mechanical Engineering (MECH) at Rice, has received the IEEE’s 2024 Distinguished Service Award from its Robotics and Automation Society (RAS).

She was recognized by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers for “outstanding service as Editor-in-Chief of the RAS Conference Editorial Board and various contributions to the haptics community.”

O’Malley is director of the Mechatronics and Haptic Interfaces Lab, which focuses on physical human-robot interaction for applications in rehabilitation, training and virtual reality. She and her students have developed robotic systems (hardware and control algorithms) for upper extremity rehabilitation after stroke and spinal cord injury, and devices for wearable haptic feedback, with applications in virtual reality, training and prosthetics.

O’Malley earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in MECH from Vanderbilt University in 1999 and 2001, respectively, and joined Rice University in 2001. She holds joint appointments in bioengineering, computer science and electrical and computer engineering.

In 2022 she was named a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. She is also a fellow of the IEEE and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). She has served as associate editor-in-chief of the IEEE Transactions on Haptics, chair of the ASME Robotics Public Policy Task Force and member of the ASME Committee on Government Relations.

O’Malley formally received the award, which included a plaque and a prize of $1,000, at the 2024 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation held May 13-17 in Yokohama, Japan.