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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.
Robot weaving carbon fiber into rocket parts. Source: NASA/YouTube
Robot weaving carbon fiber into rocket parts. Source: NASA/YouTube

The US just moved a step closer to building an advanced robotics institute modeled on the hugely successful Fraunhofer Institutes. The proposed ARM or Advanced Robotics Manufacturing Institute is one of seven candidates moving forward in an open bid for $70 million funding from NIST for an innovation institute to join the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. Previously funded institutes are for advanced composites, flexible electronics, digital and additive manufacturing, semiconductor technology, textiles and photonics.

Photo courtesy: Fellow Robots, Inc.
Photo courtesy: Fellow Robots, Inc.

Robotics today is a fast growing industry with applications in myriad markets, including retail, transportation, manufacturing, and even as personal assistants. Fellow Robots is at the forefront of reimagining these uses for the best retail experience – to improve your experience when shopping and to help employees with the most up to date product information and location of goods and services.

Viv is an AI personal assistant launched at TechCrunch Disrupt NY. It promises to radically simplify our interface with everything. Siri cofounders, Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer, are looking to create a developer ecosystem so Viv will be the way every device interacts with you in the future.

chi2016-event

ACM CHI the premier Human-Computer Interaction conference is being held at San Jose ‘in the heart of Silicon Valley’ May 7 – 12.  There are panels and papers on robotics, and about the next generation of interfaces that will impact robotics and all our technologies. Live streaming to begin Monday May 9, at 08:30 (PST).

Young People In The Robotics ClassroomOATV, or O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, is a seed stage investment firm based in San Francisco with a track record of backing robotics startups in emerging areas. As well as investing in Fetch Robotics, some of their other hardware investments include 3D Robotics, Planet Labs, Misfit Wearables, Littlebits and Sight Machine. OATV typically invest between $250,000 and $2 million into startups at a critical early stage of development. This pre-revenue runway helps startups refine their prototypes, determine product/market fit, and achieve strong follow on rounds. OATV invests early, typically before market categories are well defined.

The White House announced a series of public workshops on artificial intelligence (AI) and the creation of an interagency working group to learn more about the benefits and risks of artificial intelligence. The first workshop Artificial Intelligence: Law and Policy will take place on May 24 at the University of Washington School of Law, cohosted by the White House and UW’s Tech Policy Lab

by ,   -   April 27, 2016

New Zealand country map polygonal with spot lights placesNew Zealand’s government innovation agency Callaghan Innovations and Silicon Valley’s innovation non-profit SVForum organized Transforming AgTech, an event bringing together New Zealand and US agricultural startups in typical Silicon Valley style.

Silicon Valley Robotics Rich Mahoney and Andra Keay led a panel on robotics and agriculture. Here, they highlight NZ startups and innovation groups present at the event.

by ,   -   April 26, 2016

New Zealand’s government innovation agency Callaghan Innovations and Silicon Valley’s innovation non-profit SVForum organized: “Transforming Ag Tech," an event bringing together New Zealand and US agricultural startups in typical Silicon Valley style.

by ,   -   April 18, 2016

engineering_still_needs_more_women-heroIt’s super hard to find skilled people willing to work for robotics companies in Silicon Valley. Even though robotics is awesome and going to change the world. Because big companies with big paychecks are stealing all the talent. So, you seriously can’t afford to overlook anyone. Yet, judging from the gender ratio at robotics companies, most are overlooking one huge potential talent pool.

by ,   -   April 12, 2016

SVRBP-1-robot-block-party-silicon-valleyOn April 6th, Jabil Blue Sky Innovation Center hosted the 7th Annual Silicon Valley Robot Block Party. The free event was ‘sold out,’ with more than 2000 RSVPs and 40 companies in attendance. The event was part of National Robotics Week, showcasing the latest technologies, and was one of the events participating in the record-breaking 258 across the US!

by ,   -   April 6, 2016

The seventh annual National Robotics Week is on from April 2-10, 2016. In this post we find Robot Garden, in Livermore, California, learning and tinkering with robots at their community maker space.

by   -   March 18, 2016

CruiseForget about Google and Boston Dynamics. This week the real news is that GM acquired small San Francisco based startup Cruise Automation for the rumored sum of more than $1B US, according to Fortune. Robotics has its first unicorn!

by ,   -   February 23, 2016

PresidentReport

For the first time, robotics was featured in the annual Economic Report of the President. The hefty 435 page report from the President and the Council of Economic Advisors was released to Congress on Feb 2016. This shows the increasing importance of robotics in world economic strategy.

by ,   -   February 19, 2016

Core_team_fetch
Fetch Robotics builds robot systems for the logistics industry. The company was founded in 2014 and is headquartered in San Jose, CA. Unveiled in April 2015, the Fetch Robotics system is comprised of a mobile base (called Freight) and an advanced mobile manipulator (called Fetch).

by ,   -   January 14, 2016

Relay-and-Steve-Cousins-SaviokeIn this second Silicon Valley Robotics Case Study, Savioke CEO Steve Cousins talks about his alpha customers and early trials, discusses the evolution of his company’s business strategy, and describes how robot delivery as a service fits into the hotel service model.  Savioke has just raised a $15M Series A round for their hotel delivery robots, which are now deployed in five hotel chains, have completed 12,000 successful deliveries, and have an NSF grant to explore other applications for their robots, like eldercare. You can follow the full SVR Case Study series on Robohub here.


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