Vincent Vohnout to deliver March 24 Honors Council lecture

BEMIDJI, Minn. — Dr. Vincent Vohnout, associate professor of technological studies at Bemidji State University, will present an Honors Council Lecture entitled “Walking Machines: A Short History of Legged, Mechanized Locomotion” on Tuesday, Feb. 24. The lecture, which is free to the public, will be held at 7 p.m. in Hagg-Sauer 112 on the Bemidji State campus.

A means of mechanical locomotion that is as competent as most any animal in natural terrain has been sought after ever since horses were displaced by the automobile. A vast array of different attempts to get wheel- and moving track-based machines to solve this problem has met with only modest success despite nearly 100 years of effort.

Legs have always been recognized as the superior locomotion element in an unimproved environment. However, no useful and practical means of control of mechanized legged locomotion was available until the development and refinement of the single board, digital computer.

Since this point in time, some 25 years ago, legged machine locomotion has made some remarkable steps — and a few leaps.

Vohnout joined the Bemidji State faculty in 2006. Before entering academia, Vohnout co-founded Adaptive Machine Technologies, an engineering research and development company in Columbus, Ohio. He served as president of the company for nine years before departing to complete his doctorate. A licensed professional engineer in Ohio, Vohnout also has a private consulting and research practice. He holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and a doctorate in industrial engineering from Ohio State University and earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at Cleveland State University.

Vohnout’s presentation is the third of five Honors Council lectures during the spring series, which runs through April 29.

2009 Spring Honors Lecture Series
* Feb. 11: “Perceptual Experience and Physical Theory,” David Lund
* Feb. 24: “The Road Less Traveled,” Donald Day
* March 24: “Walking Machines: A Short History of Legged, Mechanized Locomotion,” Vincent Vohnout
* April 15: “Don’t Stop Talkin’ ‘Bout Freedom: The Censorship of Rock Music in the 1960s and 1970s,” Michael Taylor
* Apri 29: “From the Tomb to the Cathedral: The Roots and Traditions of Orthodox Icon Painting,” Natalia Himmirska

For more information about the Honors Council Lecture Series, please contact the honors program at (218) 755-3984.

March 24
– 7 p.m. – Bemidji State University Honors Lecture: “Walking Machines: A Short History of Legged, Mechanized Locomotion” presented by Dr. Vincent Vohnout, associate professor of technological studies, Bemidji State. Location: Hagg-Sauer 112, Bemidji State campus. Admission: free.