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Robohub is an online platform that brings together leading communicators in robotics research, start-ups, business, and education from around the world.
by   -   September 6, 2013

Didn’t get a robot entered in the DARPA grand robotics challenge (DRC)? Never mind, there are several robot design and business model competitions on at the moment, from social robots, to affordable robots, to open source humanoids. The International Conference on Social Robotics (ICSR) is running a design competition for robot companions. RoboSavvy is running a design competition for an open source humanoid robot and the African Robotics Network (AFRON) is running their second annual “$10 robot design” challenge.   Deadlines are approaching so get designing!


by   -   July 27, 2013

SUSBEXPO is the first conference about unmanned systems to really focus on the growing commercial opportunities of this market. AUVSI put on a spectacular annual show, but it is predominantly military systems. SUSBEXPO is the brain child of Patrick Egan, who is a UAS business consultant, as well as being deeply involved in AUVSI, SUASNews, building on a background with the military and regulatory groups. The conference was held at the Golden Gate Club in San Francisco on July 25-26 and attracted attendees from all over the US and beyond. UAVs were on exhibit from companies like 3D Robotics, AgriFlight and MLB Drones, and Patrick Egan is expecting SUSBEXPO to be even larger next year.


by   -   June 6, 2013

Day One of AWE2013, the Augmented World Expo, finished with Sphero, the robot ball, taking out the first ‘Auggie Award’ for hardware. Sphero, by Orbotix, won the Auggie for their augmented reality game “Sharkey the Beaver”. They’ve also just released a new AR game with zombies “The Rolling Dead”. Using Sphero as a fireball-shooting warrior, you shoot fireballs at zombies spawning out of the ground. You can play anywhere, so the world becomes your video game.


by   -   June 5, 2013


Augmented reality and virtual reality have been overhyped and underdelivering for years but there are many indications that things are changing. It’s not just that Google Glass has been on the streets for a year now. Well, a select few have had Google Glass for a year already and the cut down consumer version is predicted for 2013/2014. There are also about 10 other versions on display here. I’m at the Augmented World Expo in Santa Clara with 1000+ AR professionals from 30+ countries, seeing 100+ demos and hearing 110 speakers discuss what is happening for augmented humans in the augmented world.


by   -   May 22, 2013

It’s impossible to see everything at Maker Faire but I tried. I was exhibiting with my hackerspace Robot Garden and had the pleasure of being both a participant and a spectator. This was the 8th annual Maker Faire and it’s grown from 18,000 attendees to over 165,000, and that’s not counting hundreds of participants ranging from hobbyists and performers to startups to research groups, hackerspaces and supporting companies like Autodesk and TechShop. And yes, there were robots.


by   -   May 19, 2013

accelerator-480x245

New accelerators are opening and existing programs are expanding. It’s an exciting time to be a robotics or hardware startup. In my next post I’ll talk about some of the sorts of startups that investors are showing interest in, but briefly, unless you are in the industrial space: Don’t call it a robot. Call it a connected device.


by   -   May 17, 2013

I’m setting up at Maker Faire with Robot Garden (a new robotics hackerspace and accelerator) and hope you’ll all come see Robot Garden @ iGate in Booth #2675 in Expo Hall. We might not be able to report back cause we’re giving presentations and having a booth and trying to look around ourselves but this is an event full of fantastic things. Not only are there some great new fab tools like ShopBot’s new Handibot and Otherfab’s new Othermill and Robot Garden’s own 3d plastic recycler OmNom, but there are robots everywhere!


by   -   April 16, 2013

PR2 and kids at Robot Block Party

It was another amazing Robot Block Party at the CARS facility in Stanford. More than 30 companies, startups, STEM groups and individuals demonstrated robots ranging from PR2s to tiny brain powered helicopters. The Block Party was sandwiched between the Robotics and Law conference, “We Robot: Getting down to business” at Stanford Law School and the equally impressive Xconomy forum “Robots Remake the Workplace” at SRI International. Many people who came for one event, stayed in the area a day or two longer for more.


by   -   April 12, 2013

Well, not quite. According to Rodney Brooks, robotics has too much Steve Wozniak and not enough Steve Jobs. And perhaps that’s where the jobs part of a very full afternoon forum should have ended. Xconomy’s forum “Robots Remake the Workplace” featured a stellar line up of robotics companies, startups and investors who covered a wide range of views about where robotics industries were going. Vivek Wadhwa, VP of Academics and Innovation at Singularity University and Wade Roush, Xconomy Chief Correspondent and moderator of the sessions, tried hard to represent the recent negative view of robotic’s impact on jobs and the economy. But in the end, it was clear that robots vs. jobs was a far less compelling discussion than diving deeper into what sort of robotics businesses are taking shape and what issues they face.


by   -   April 6, 2013

robotics week Ad

Happy Robotics Week to everyone!  Thanks to all the organizers, contributers and robot fans around the US. But why stop there? This year’s National Robotics Week has 177 events in all 50 states, DC, Puerto Rico and Mars!


by   -   March 19, 2013

The first Engadget Expand expo at Fort Mason in San Francisco was a great weekend out with lots of robotics. In fact the striking thing was how much of the event was talking about or demonstrating robotics – even in some of the panels which were ostensibly about something else ie. space exploration, smart devices and arguably even 3D Printing.


by   -   January 15, 2013

In my opinion, the International Consumer Electronics Show used robots gratuitously, out of context and without benefit to robotics companies. It’s a category problem more than anything else and is repeated across consumer electronics, media and popular culture.

CNET used robots in the showreel for the “post mobile future of technology” panel, yet didn’t discuss automation or artificial intelligence. CES used robots in their general showreel, playing in all the shuttle buses and PR for CES2013, and yet buried the “robot tech zone” at the back of beyond. It would have been good to see the poster robot, Amp, in production or in person. But also, there were far more robots out of the robot zone than inside it. Robotics has jumped the shark. Consumer robotics is alive and well, but it doesn’t resemble the PR.


by   -   January 9, 2013

Robotics is still the picture rather than the story at International CES, the largest innovation and consumer electronics display in the world. When CNET’s Next Big Thing panel discussed “What is the post mobile future?” the showreel used pictures of robots to illustrate themes of connectivity, internet of things, and sensor data networks. All connected to smart devices. Cisco predicted that there’d be 1 trillion connected devices in the world in 2013.The post mobile future is actually more of a ‘plus mobile’ future.


by   -   October 23, 2012

Bossa Nova Robotics launched the lean version of Rosie, the robot maid from the Jetsons, today at Robobusiness. CEO Martin Hitch explained how Bossa Nova have taken their experience in the brutal and rapidly evolving robot toy industry and translated it into what they hope will be the prototype of the common ‘economy model’ household robot – though this one is primarily for researchers. Bossa Nova are releasing the SDK and looking for developers. Oh, and it’s running Windows/Ros, and is tablet agnostic on a sleek 5 foot body on a pivoting tripod base with (patented) safety legs that can deploy even when powered off.


by   -   March 28, 2012

For the 1st time in startup weekend history, teams are asked to build robot startups in a 54hr challenge. Using just a mockup OR an existing robot platform OR all the robot resources you possess, can you pitch and develop a fantastic robot business? Winning teams get a chance to pitch their business idea at the DEMO conference in front of crowds of VCs/angels/media/fans.

Mega Startup Weekend will be held on April 13-15 at Microsoft. Mega Startup Weekend is the largest Startup Weekend in the Bay Area and in the world, hosting over 300 attendees in 3 different verticals – robots, gaming and mobile.  This is our annual Celebration of Entrepreneurship, hosted by Microsoft BizSpark, Startup America, and DEMO.

Please share this information with other roboticists and see you there! The mighty Robot LaunchPad team will be mentors and organizers at the Mega Startup Weekend event. (Use “robotlaunch” as promocode and get 25% discount.)

But how can I build a robot startup in just 54 hours? 

The key is to build a robot business model. Anyone can use existing robot technologies to create a brilliant new robot business. That’s why we’ve put examples here for every level of robot skill – from technically minded robot noob, to skillful robot/software programmer, to uber DIY robot drone with duck tape types.

1. Technically minded robot noob – create a mockup. If you can identify a market need and robot products that exist or can be easily converted, then build the business model not the robot. Eg. Maybe supermarkets could use robot arms to help shoppers reach products on top shelves. Find a market need that robots could do, then build a business model and a mockup.

2. Skillful roboticist or coder – leverage existing robots with accessible APIs and create new apps and markets. Eg. Existing autonomous mobile platforms could deliver food/luggage/shopping at large airports/hotels/malls. Need ipad/iphone app connecting it up and a business plan.

3. You DIY robots for breakfast? – you can build anything in 54 hours. Go on, surprise us!

Rodney Brooks says that the next generation of robots will be more closely integrated with people in manufacturing and the workplace. Today’s challenge isn’t ‘what can a robot do?’, it’s ‘what should a robot be doing now’?