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InnoRobo

by   -   June 20, 2017

Conferences and trade shows, held in interesting locations around the world, can be entertaining, informative and an opportunity to explore new places, meet new people and renew acquaintances. Three recent examples: Xponential, the mostly defense-related unmanned land, sea and air show, held in Dallas; Innorobo, focused on service robotics, in Paris; and ICRA, the IEEE’s premier robotics conference, in Singapore.

by   -   May 6, 2016
Source: The Robot Report
Source: The Robot Report

May and June offer two important trade shows and conferences for professional and personal service robotics: Innorobo, held in Paris May 24-26 and AUTOMATICA, held June 21-24 in Munich.

by   -   July 2, 2015

Innorobo is one of the the premiere EU event dedicated to robotics and disruptive technologies. Running now through July 3 in Lyon, France , the event features talks from the likes of Carlo Ratti, Rodney Brooks, Brad Nelson, Jaime Paik, Shigeo Hirose and many many more. Robohub’s Audrow Nash is on site – check out the live tweets below.

by   -   February 18, 2015
Innorobo 2014.
Innorobo 2014.

Innorobo’s call for start-ups has just closed and 25 semi-finalists from around the world will now be reviewed by a jury of experts to select the five winners. The winners will pitch to investors at a plenary conference and exhibit free of charge at Innorobo, the international robotics summit. Why does Innoecho – the consulting company specialized in driving disruptive technologies to market, and organizer of Innorobo – hold such a call?

by   -   March 25, 2014

In a serious critique of French business practices, the International New York Times wrote about a brain drain from France – a migration of aspiring entrepreneurs feeling that they have to leave France to have a chance to get their ideas off the ground and into the marketplace. The Telegraph, from which this cartoon came, had a similar article: Down and out: the French flee a nation in despair.

by   -   March 14, 2014

ces-beam-bloomberg-ubj-580

Are telepresence robots really robotic? Is the da Vinci robotic surgical system robotic? Is a car with adaptive cruise control acting robotically? Well … no to all three questions.

All three are borderline cases and examples of robotics in a transition state and being affected by two converging robotics-related trends:

  • Toward more capable and lower-cost robots, and
  • Towards physically-responsive smart devices.

To be able to choose between proprietary software packages is to be able to choose your master. Freedom means not having a master. Freedom means not using proprietary software.

– Richard Stallman, open systems advocate

Certainly robotics has its share of proprietary software and control systems. Each robot manufacturer markets their products based on the need for secure, proprietary and un-shared systems so that they can ensure stability and control. Whole industries have been set up to bridge those proprietary barriers so that multi-vendor solutions can happen.

Two prominent people in the robotics industry had a discussion on the subject last year. In a spirited cocktail party debate in Lyon, France at InnoRobo 2012, an innovation forum and trade show for service robotics, Colin Angle and Robert Bauer argued their points of view.

Left: Robert Bauer, Executive Director, Commercialization, Willow Garage. Right: Colin Angle, Chairman of the Board, co-founder and CEO, iRobot (NASDAQ:IRBT).

Angle suggested that freely providing such a key and critical component as the robotic operating and simulation system – and the extensive libraries that go with it – as the Open Source Robotics Foundation (previously Willow Garage) does with their open source and unprotected robotic operating system (ROS) – was tantamount to letting the biggest consumer giant(s) gobble up any mass market applications and re-market them globally at low cost because they already have (or could easily reverse-engineer) the hardware and could produce it cheaply, the operating system was free courtesy of ROS, and the only real cost was the acquisition of the application(s).

Angle thought that it was dangerous and led to losing a potentially American/European market to offshore commodity conglomerates, and said:

Robotics innovation represents a tremendous opportunity for economic growth akin to automobiles, aerospace and information technology. If we are to freely share our ‘intellectual capital’ on the open market we risk losing the economic engine that will advance our economies and send growth and jobs overseas.

Cover of 3/19/2012 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek magazine.

The issue of losing trade secrets to foreign conglomerates has been a continuing focus at Bloomberg Businessweek magazine:

In November, 14 U.S. intelligence agencies issued a report describing a far-reaching industrial espionage campaign by Chinese spy agencies. This campaign has been in the works for years and targets a swath of industries: biotechnology, telecommunications, and nanotechnology, as well as clean energy. “It’s the greatest transfer of wealth in history,” said General Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency.

Bauer said that Willow Garage’s objectives with ROS was to stimulate the industry by enabling participants to not have to reinvent the many cross-science elements of robotics ventures; to reuse software because it saves developer time and allows researchers to focus on research. By giving them free access to the tools, libraries and simulation capabilities of ROS, and access to the PR2s that are available for testing and experimentation, Willow Garage hoped to advance the state-of-the-art in autonomous robotics technologies.

Bauer also said that, once a successful app was developed, at that point the new endeavor would likely lock down the operating system and application software in order to protect their invention.

Angle suggested that what the robotic industry needs for inspiration is successful robotics companies – profitable companies with millionaire employees selling in-demand products; not more notches on the oversized belts of big offshore conglomerates. Further, he said that unless ROS is protected and made stable and secure, it could never be used for sensitive (defense, space, security) solutions, and until it became rugged, secure and stable, it could never be used in factories, which cannot afford down time from either their robots or software.

Since that time, solutions that bridge the open vs. shut debate are showing up in many sectors:

  • Willow Garage has transitioned ROS to two different non-profit foundations to continue development of ROS and ROS-Industrial: The Open Source Robotics Foundation and the ROSIndustrial.org.
  • ROS-Industrial is a new effort to enable closed industrial systems to at least have a “front end” to make available the introduction of new sensors, make robot programing and simulation easier, and take advantage of the wealth of new talent exposed to ROS in academia.
  • Start-up companies selling co-robots are using ROS and beginning to share application software. Danish Universal Robots and Rod Brooks’ Rethink Robotics both use ROS for software development but not for control systems. Rethink Robotics plans to offer an SDK capability with an app store for robotics applications shared by other Baxter users sometime in 2014. The SDK is already available in the academic version of Baxter.
  • Industrial robot makers are beginning to provide ROS-like capabilities in the form of updated software and simulation suites, e.g., ABB Robotics recently introduced RobotStudio which is a GIS interface to ABB’s proprietary internals for robot simulation and programming.

Thus as the debate rages on, so too do the very pragmatic solutions that are necessary to make things move forward and work.

The best solutions often involve multiple vendors. Look at the Tesla factory. Integrating their software and control systems into the larger manufacturing system, or even between different systems on a line, involves serious and talented programming — a process that everyone agrees needs to be simplified and made less costly.

ROS-like products are fine for development and simulation, and because they are prevalent in most of academia, new hires are familiar with what it does and how it works. But that’s when those new hires are confronted with the complexities of proprietary software and teaching pendants. I’ve heard it said that it’s like going back to the mainframe era of computing. At the least, it involves learning old-style coding languages.

Most of the big robot manufacturers are beginning to make an effort to improve their training and programming methods, to get them onto more practical tablets, and to provide offline simulation. But the going is slow, hence the argument for open source rages on. The truth appears to be in the middle: older systems need to be updated and yet still retain their proprietary nature. Mix and match between vendors is a fact of life and needs to be accommodated either by the use of ROS-Industrial or by the robot manufacturers themselves in the form of a new set of standards and interfaces.

Read more answers →

by   -   December 23, 2011
Today’s devices are becoming smarter and connected. They sense their environment, process the data collected and act upon their decisions autonomously or semi-autonomously.  The transformation is beyond productivity and enters our daily life in health, safety, transportation, communication, entertainment, chores and more. This trend is a real opportunity for disruptive innovations.

InnoRobo – 14th to 16th of March 2012, in Lyon, France – is gathering the thinkers and doers to their innovation summit to accelerate the emergence of such innovations.
by   -   December 23, 2011


In Lyon, France, 14th to 16th March, 2012. Save the date!

By Frank Tobe, Editor/Publisher, The Robot Report (www.TheRobotReport.com)
and Catherine Simon, General Secretary, French Federation of Robotics

Today’s devices are becoming smarter and connected. They sense their environment, process the data collected and act upon their decisions autonomously or semi-autonomously.  The transformation is beyond productivity and enters our daily life in health, safety, transportation, communication, entertainment, chores and more. This trend is a real opportunity for disruptive innovations.


InnoRobo – 14th to 16th of March 2012, in Lyon, France – is gathering the thinkers and doers to their innovation summit to accelerate the emergence of such innovations.


InnoRobo promises to gather top range exhibitors from Asia, North America and Europe and will demonstrate more than 100 different robots, with 30+ displayed for the first time in Europe.  The whole emerging robotic ecosystem (creators, technologies, component suppliers, distributors, high end research labs and educational institutions) will be participating in an energetic, open-minded atmosphere, sharing and exchanging with entrepreneurs, investors, reporters and researchers.  

Of course there will be some uniquely French things that you won’t experience elsewhere:


In addition to the exhibition hall, there will be conference sessions with five major themes:


Synergies and convergence between Industrial and Service robotics:

Industrial robotics is known for its applications in welding, soldering, handling, painting and assembling, for the automotive, electronics, metal, plastic and chemical industries. But industrial robotics is evolving towards new industries as well as smaller firms. It needs to reinvent itself and produce more flexible, mobile, easily trainable robots to work hand in hand with human workers. The human robot interactions (HRI) in factories and Co-botics are hot topics demonstrating the synergies and convergence that are likely to happen between industrial and service robotics technologies and solutions.

Health and Medical robotics:

The growth of medical robots and surgeon/doctor augmentation devices since the mid-80s has been overwhelming, both as a field of innovation and research but also as a market for new products and services. Medical robotics is considered one of the success-stories of service robotics. It is a prominent segment of growth driven by demographic shifts, rising prosperity in developing countries and advances in medical technology.

Urban robots for citizens:

One vision for the future features a generation of robots designed to play various roles in urban society. Some robots will be guides, others will help the elderly, some will make sure megacities are safe and others will collect our rubbish and do various daily chores. Beyond this we envision intelligent robotics to solve our major societal challenges: mobility with an overwhelming urbanization, and sustainable development for our planet to survive our demanding energy consumption.

Cloud robotics:

Every file, document, database and digital information is now going through the “Cloud”. What does it mean for our future, with machine to machine communication, connectivity for each and every of our daily life object? The imaginary world of Matrix is not so far away: your personal robot can learn with a simple download from the Cloud how to fly a helicopter or cook the perfect dinner.

Human-Robot interactions:

User-centered design is a must for robots to truly become a mass market. Although technologies progress rapidly, and despite the impressive demonstrations of humanoid robots from Japan or elsewhere, we are not there yet.  Hence the shape of robots has to be driven both by its functions and by our human expectations.  A robotic dog which doesn’t sense my approach remains a gadget, a humanoid robot which cannot engage in a natural conversation will be a disappointment.  What is the correct level of interactions with a robot? What is the ideal form factor associated to the functions it performs? What kind of robots are we ready to accept and cooperate with in our daily life? These major questions will be dealt with by researchers, ergonomists, anthropologists and roboticists at InnoRobo.

In short, InnoRobo is all about the emerging business of service robotics, where growth is projected to be a major economic driver of the 21st century’s economy. Robotics will change our life, so it might be worth getting to know when and how. InnoRobo is a way to participate in that process.

For further information: www.innorobo.com 



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