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Andra Keay is the Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics, an industry group supporting the innovation and commercialization of robotics technologies. Andra is also founder of Robot Launchpad for startups, and cofounder of Robot Garden, a new robotics hackerspace. Andra is a core contributor to Robohub, the global site for news and views on robotics. She obtained her MA in Human-Robot Culture at the University of Sydney, Australia in 2011, building on a background as a robot geek, STEM educator and film-maker. Andra graduated as an ABC film, television and radio technician in 1986 and obtained a BA in Communication from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) Australia, in 1998.



by   -   December 2, 2017

In the lead up to the finals of the Robot Launch 2017 competition on December 14, we’re having one round of public voting for your favorite startup from the Top 25. While in previous years we’ve had public voting for all the startups, running alongside the investor judging, this year it’s an opt-in, because many of the startups seeking investment are not yet ready to publicize. Each year the startups get better and better, so we can’t wait to see who you think is the best! Make sure you vote for your favorite – below – by 6pm PST,  10 December and spread the word through social media using #robotlaunch2017.

by   -   November 22, 2017

The Robotics Hub, in collaboration with Silicon Valley Robotics, is currently investing in robotics, AI and sensor startups, with checks between $250,000 and $500,000. Current portfolio companies include Agility Robotics, RoBotany, Travelwits and Ariel Precision Technologies.

by   -   November 9, 2017
Sydney Padua’s Ada Lovelace is a continual inspiration.

At #WebSummit 2017, I was part of a panel on what the future will bring in 2030 with John Vickers from Blue Abyss, Jacques Van den Broek from Randstad and Stewart Rogers from Venture Beat. John talked about how technology will allow humans to explore amazing new places. Jacques demonstrated how humans were more complex than our most sophisticated AI and thus would be an integral part of any advances. And I focused on how the current technological changes would look amplified over a 10–12 year period.

by , and   -   October 10, 2017

Ada Lovelace Day on October 10 2017 is a day to celebrate the achievements of women in technology and there was no shortage of women to feature on Robohub’s annual Ada Lovelace Day “25 women in robotics you need to know about” list. (If you don’t see someone you expected then they’ll probably be on next year’s list, or on our first four lists from 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 – please read them too!)

This year we are featuring women from all over the world, including early stage entrepreneurs, seasoned business women, investors, inventors, makers, educators, and organizers; we also feature early career researchers, established academics, senior scientists and politicians. The unifying characteristic of all these women is their inspirational story, their enthusiasm, their fearlessness, their vision, ambition, and accomplishments. Every year we’re inspired and hope that you are too.

Robotics manufacturing in the US will be getting federal support to match business or startup investments via the new Advanced Robotics Manufacturing (ARM) Institute. Perhaps more importantly, the ARM Institute can act as a conduit to connect and amplify robotics innovations between regions of the USA. As the global robotics ecosystem becomes flooded with interest, and investors, any technological lead the USA currently has is rapidly disappearing.

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Editor’s note:

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we’re reposting our latest ‘25 Women in Robotics You Need to Know About‘ list. Over the last four years, Robohub has featured 100 inspiring women leading future developments within robotics, with plenty more for the years to come!

Our next edition will be released on Ada Lovelace Day.

Cobalt Robotics has launched their stylish security robot. The robot was designed by Yves Behar and as a fabric covered robot, it’s putting a new spin on soft robotics! Behar’s goal was to create a robot that didn’t conform to Hollywood stereotypes but instead as an augmentation of human ability and an enhancement to the human environment.

by and   -   February 28, 2017

Shakey the Robot, the world’s first mobile, intelligent robot, developed at SRI International between 1966-1972, was the first robot to be honored with a prestigious IEEE Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing. The IEEE Milestone program honors significant inventions, locations or events related to electrical engineering and computing that have benefitted humanity, and which are at least 25 years old.

The largest markets for robots is for when there aren’t any people around. We often call those jobs the dirty, dull and dangerous ones. But then there are devices like CleverPet which play with your dog when you aren’t home. What’s not to love about playing with dogs? And yet there is a huge industry growing up around looking after your pet when you simply aren’t available to do it. CleverPet won the 2015 Robot Launch startup competition and took home 1st place at CES 2016.

The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) has announced a call for startup companies in robotics, machine vision and motion control for its Automate Launch Pad Competition. The competition will be held at the Automate 2017 Show and Conference in Chicago, Illinois on April 5, 2017. The presenting sponsor of the competition is GE. The event is co-produced with Silicon Valley Robotics.

by   -   January 31, 2017

Robotics isn’t gender neutral, it’s gender blind. And that means that there are a lot of hidden opportunities for savvy investors and entrepreneurs. One of the first robotics companies I followed was Restoration Robotics, a Silicon Valley based company that’s raised more than $111 M USD in 6 rounds. Restoration Robotics saw a niche for robotics in treating male baldness.

Credit: Catalia Health
Credit: Catalia Health

Catalia Health is leading the surge in social robotics, with Mabu, their patient care management system. Catalia Health likes to be seen primarily as a health company that utilizes robots, rather than a robotics company. This focus on solving real world problems while shipping a product has seen Catalia attract both customers and investors, and recently close their Series A round.

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If you attended CES 2017 last week you may have seen more than 70 HAX powered startups in Eureka Park, the ‘playground of innovation’. As service robotics steals the spotlight, we wanted to showcase some of the ways that accelerators and programs like HAX help grow hardware and robotics startups, including taking them to market.

Here’s an interview with Cyril Ebersweiler, Founder and Managing Director of HAX, excerpted from the new “Service Robotics Case Studies 2” report by Silicon Valley Robotics, the industry association.

by and   -   December 14, 2016
Photo: 2016-2017 Girls of Steel Robotics students in grades 8 to 12.
Photo: 2016-2017 Girls of Steel Robotics students in grades 8 to 12.

The Girls of Steel – a competitive FIRST team in Pittsburg, PA – is on a mission to engage more young women into engineering. Over the last few years, we’ve heard what it’s like to be part of an all-girls robotics team and spoke with team’s mentors. Now, we’re following up with the team to talk about their successes and developments since being listed in our 25 Women in Robotics list.

by   -   December 1, 2016

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Vidi Systems from Switzerland is the overall Grand Winner of the 2016 Robot Launch global startup competition, beating out many US contestants in a field that included sensors, artificial intelligence, social robots, service robots and industrial solutions. Overall, the European robotics startups performed very strongly this year with 8 making The Shortlist for awards. Canada also had good representation with 3 entries, but the rest of The Shortlist were based in the USA, even if they had originated in Israel or Hong Kong.