Frank Tobe on “What were the top stories in robotics from 2013?”
by Frank Tobe
As Editor and Publisher of the Robot Report, I follow robotics news closely, especially in business and finance. Here are my top picks for 2013:
- Google sets up Robot Division; acquires 7 startups to jump-start operations
- ROBO ETF tracking Robo-stox index created to let investors invest in the robotics industry
- WSJ, NYT, CBS 60-Minutes, NBC all focus on robotics – including two covers stories in Time Magazine and two 60-Minutes segments (here and here)
- China’s 5-year plan targets robotics as a growth industry and sets up specific areas for industrial robot manufacturing, service robot development and marketing and support centers
- Mako Surgical sells to Sryker for $1.65 billion; Apple buys PrimeSense for $350 million; MakerBot sells to Stratasys for $403 million; $35 million to 3D Robotics to mainstream aerial robotics and Airware gets $10.7 million to build generic autopilot for UASs; Liquid Robotics gets $45 million to expand marketing and double their fleet of wave gliders
- Rethink Robotics and Universal Robots off to good start in SME marketplace – co-robots really are a big thing. SMEs aren’t only marketplace: VW and BMW are both using new co-bots to augment worker capabilities in auto plants.
- Smithsonian Channel Bionic Man documentary and museum exhibitions fascinate audiences with 50% bionic man
- Crowdfunding sites will soon let investors buy stock; just waiting for regs from SEC.
- IFR reports for industrial robot industry shows good growth prospects for rest of decade; reports for service robotics industry shows promising growth particularly in medical and logistical systems making up for the decline in defense spending
Lower-key but still notable:
- First use of robotic anesthesiologist gives rise to a whole new marketplace
- Beams used for telepresence at trade show
- FoxBot line of robots by Foxconn slowly entering Foxconn factories
- Russia focusing on robotics startups and innovation in general
- New Kinect completely redone; windfall for robotics
- X-47B unmanned jet takes off and lands from aircraft carrier
- List of hardware accelerators growing as are incubators and angel investors
- ROS-Industrial list of partners growing exponentially
- Updated Roadmap for US Robotics released
- Intuitive Surgical regularly pummeled in news for a variety of reasons
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