For humans, it can be challenging to manipulate thin flexible objects like ropes, wires, or cables. But if these problems are hard for humans, they are nearly impossible for robots. As a cable slides between the fingers, its shape is constantly changing, and the robot’s fingers must be constantly sensing and adjusting the cable’s position and motion.
In times of crisis, we all want to know where the robots are! And young roboticists just starting their careers, or simply thinking about robotics as a career, ask us ‘How can robotics help?’ and ‘What can I do to help?’. Cluster organizations like Silicon Valley Robotics can serve as connection points between industry and academia, between undergrads and experts, between startups and investors, which is why we rapidly organized a weekly discussion with experts about “COVID-19, robots and us” (video playlist).
ICRA 2020, one of the main international robotics conferences, is happening online this year due to COVID-19. That means there is loads of free content you can view from home. It’s a great way to see what’s happening in the field straight from those pushing the state of the art.
What are the main reasons that robotics companies and startups fail? Is it the technology or is it the business? Fresh Consulting analyzed significant industry case studies from Rethink Robotics to iRobot for their whitepaper “Why Robotics Companies Fail,” and launched it on June 11 at a panel discussion moderated by James Dietrich, from Fresh Consulting, with guest speakers Aaron Prather, Senior Advisor for the Technology Research and Planning Team at FedEx Express; Andra Keay, Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics and startup accelerator advisor, and Eric Klein, Partner and Founder at Lemnos Labs.
You know robotics has ‘made it’ when Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) is reporting on it. Just five years ago, SVB barely had a hardware division, let alone a robotics and frontier tech team. This report itself shows the maturity of the field of robotics, and that’s also one of the key takeaways. There may be fewer deals in robotics, but the deals are getting bigger, as consolidation in new robotics markets starts to happen.
ICRA is the largest robotics meeting in the world and is the flagship conference of the IEEE Robotics & Automation Society. It is thus our honor and pleasure to welcome you to this edition, although the current exceptional circumstances did not allow us to organize it in Paris as planned with the glimpse and splendor that our wonderful robotics community deserves. Now, for sure, Virtual ICRA 2020, the first online ICRA, will be one of the most memorable ICRA editions ever! [Message from the General & Program Chairs]
Robots are increasingly being deployed in retail environments. The reasons for this include: to relieve staff from the performance of repetitive and mundane tasks; to reallocate staff to more value-added, customer-facing activities; to realize operational improvements; and, to utilize real-time in-store generated data. Due to the impact of the 2020 Coronavirus outbreak, we can now add a new reason to use robots in retail: to assist with customer and employee safety.
Welcome to the voting for the Audience Choice Demo from HRI 2020 (voting closed on May 14 11:59PM BST). Each of these demos showcases an aspect of Human-Robot Interaction research, and alongside “Best Demo” award, we’re offering an “Audience Choice” award. You can see the video and abstract from each demo here. You can also register for the Online HRI 2020 Demo Discussion and Award Presentation on May 21 4:00 PM BST.