The Catalan Government has awarded the Creu de Sant Jordi 2020 to Josep Amat Girbau, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of Rob Surgical and one of the people behind the new Bitrack robot, designed to make non-invasive surgery more widely available.
The Creu de Sant Jordi is the highest distinction given to individuals or companies that, thanks to their merits, have provided outstanding services to Catalonia. Amat has an extensive background as a robotics engineer and an excellent reputation. Currently, he is emeritus professor of architecture and computer science at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), advisor to the Robotics and Vision Group at the Research Centre for Biomedical Engineering-UPC and member of the Institute for Catalan Studies and the Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Barcelona. From 1991 to 2006 he was a visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Josep Amat is extremely grateful because “it is the greatest recognition my country could give me. It is also particularly special to me because my father Josep Amat i Pagès also received the Creu de Sant Jordi, in his case as a painter, and because it recognises people like me: engineers. Catalonia is today among the world’s highest ranked countries in terms of creating technology spin-offs and start-ups. Rob Surgical is one of its success stories in transferring research and technology from the UPC to society.
The Col·legi d’Enginyers de Catalunya (COEIC) dedicates this interview to Josep Amat, who has been a member of its Industry Committee 4.0 robotics working group since 2014: he tells us that personal robotics is where we will see progress being made in the next few years.