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Robotics by Invitation


What does it take to get from imagination to market?

It's the top-of-mind question for every would-be entrepreneur, and with the Robot Launch 2014 competition deadline coming up on March 30, it's an especially fitting question to pose to our panelists t...
12 March 2014, by

Do robots need heads?

Robots are machines and most people agree that they primarily serve a utilitarian purpose. So why do so many of them have heads? Here are some thoughts by AJung Moon, Mark Stephen Meadows, Travis Deyl...
15 August 2013, by

David Robert on “Do robots need heads?”

As a robot animator I can attest to the fact that robots don't "need" heads to be treated as social entities. Research has shown that people will befriend a stick as long as it moves properly [1]. ...
15 August 2013, by

AJung Moon on “Do robots need heads?”

Are you curious about what your future robotic assistants will look like? My bet is that by the time you buy your very first robotic butler, it will have a friendly head on it that moves. In fact, ...
15 August 2013, by

Mark Stephen Meadows on “Do robots need heads?”

I don't know about you, but if something has a head I assume it has thoughts. When watching a movie I stare at the character's face because I want to know what they feel. So for me a head's a pretty i...
15 August 2013, by

Travis Deyle on “Do robots need heads?”

The obvious answer to this question is "No: there are lots of robots without heads." It's not even clear that social robots necessarily require a head, as even mundane robots like the Roomba are anthr...
15 August 2013, by


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Long view required to keep economic policy in step with developments in robotics

Policy is really about long-term thinking — a process we should do but don't do for various reasons. Though China is a notable exception, very few governments make long-term planning a priority. ...
16 July 2013, by

What do policy-makers need to do to keep pace with economic development in robotics?

Economic policy may not jump to mind as a hot topic for roboticists, but it is a fundamental and influential driver behind the failure or success of the robotics community as a whole. After all, econo...
15 July 2013, by

Rich Mahoney on “What do policy-makers need to do to keep pace with economic development?”

I am not sure how to describe the specifics of what policy makers should do, but I think there are two gaps that policy makers should think about that are associated with the economic development impa...
15 July 2013, by

Frank Tobe on “What do policy-makers need to do to keep pace with economic development?”

[RBI Editors] As an active robotics investor, a leading authority on the business of robotics, and the author of The Robot Report and Everything Robotic, you are at the pulse of the field's econ...
15 July 2013, by and

What would you research if you did not have to worry about grants?

'Bean-counting' is a dull but necessary component of every grant proposal; it helps to keep our plans realistic, doable and accountable. But what if we weren't tied to grants and budgets? Would it cha...
17 June 2013, by

Mark Tilden on “What would you research if you did not have to worry about grants?”

Well, I'm lucky enough to be a gentleman scientist, so I concurrently study problems on minimal dynamical control systems (optimizing performance to silicon ratios), power regeneration and efficiency...
17 June 2013, by

Illah Nourbakhsh on “What would you research if you did not have to worry about grants?”

Community empowerment through massive robotic sensing. There is no question we live in a world that is changing. Pollutants are changing the dynamics of the air we breathe, the water we drink and...
17 June 2013, by

Alan Winfield on “What is the single biggest obstacle preventing robotics from going mainstream?”

Well it depends on what you mean by mainstream. For a number of  major industry sectors robotics is already mainstream. In assembly-line automation, for instance; or undersea oil well maintenance and...
15 May 2013, by

Brian Gerkey on “What is the single biggest obstacle preventing robotics from going mainstream?”

The biggest obstacle to broader adoption of robotics is that only experienced roboticists can develop robotics applications.  To make a robot reliably and robustly do something useful, you need a d...
15 May 2013, by

Mark Tilden on “What is the single biggest obstacle preventing robotics from going mainstream?”

From experience, the single biggest obstacle to personal robotic markets is cost, both in money and time. Robots have the disadvantage of being over-promoted in fictional media while over-priced on ...
15 May 2013, by

What is the single biggest obstacle preventing robotics from going mainstream?

It has been said that we are on the edge of a 'robotic tipping point' … but where, exactly, is this edge? And what's holding us back?  This month we asked our panelists to weigh in on what's keepin...
15 May 2013, by

Do robots kill jobs?

To coincide with Robohub's Jobs Focus, we asked our panelists to weigh in on the role that robots play in the wider economy, and whether this is a good thing or a bad thing for employment numbers. Her...
15 April 2013, by

Raffaello D’Andrea on “Do robots kill jobs?”

There is no doubt that robots, and automation in general, replace humans in the work-force: all productivity-enhancing tools, by definition, result in a decrease in the number of man-hours required to...
14 April 2013, by

Mark Tilden on “Do robots kill jobs?”

Robots do kill jobs but they're crappy jobs, so good riddance.  If you've ever had a job you were desperate for the money, but immediately regretted after you got it, then you know what I mean. ...
14 April 2013, by

Daniel H. Wilson on “How will robots shape the future of warfare?”

Robots have already changed the face of modern warfare, particularly through the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly called "drones." Currently, armed drone aircraft are in widespread use...
16 March 2013, by

Mark Tilden on “How will robots shape the future of warfare?”

Robot machines have been shaping the future of war since the first siege engines appeared in ancient times (I like to think the Trojan Horse was motorized).  Now with technology significantly exten...
13 March 2013, by

Raffaello D’Andrea on “How will robots shape the future of warfare?”

How will robots shape the future of war?  I don’t know. I think that the more important question, however, is: what role should robots have in warfare? In my answer I have tried (as much as is h...
13 March 2013, by

Nicola Tomatis on “What funding scheme is the most conducive to creating a robotics industry?”

I would like to start from the other side: "Why is robotics great in creating new technologies and poor in creating new businesses?". Well, someone may disagree, but I really think that robotics is gr...
15 February 2013, by

Frank Tobe on “What funding scheme is the most conducive to creating a robotics industry?”

Funding new robotic projects in America is mostly done two different ways: (1) strategic funding from NASA, DARPA, DoD, NSF and other government organizations to do the pure science involved in sol...
15 February 2013, by

Henrik Christensen on “What funding scheme is the most conducive to creating a robotics industry?”

The public should in most cases not subsidize companies. Tax payers should not be venture capitalists. The new wave of Lean Startup going around the world is a great model to ensure that companies are...
15 February 2013, by

Raffaello D’Andrea on “What funding scheme is the most conducive to creating a robotics industry?”

The best way to commercialize robotics research is to make better connections between academics and entrepreneurs.  Academics venturing out into the business world tend to have a "hammer looking for ...
15 February 2013, by

Mark Tilden on “What funding scheme is the most conducive to creating a robotics industry?”

Funding schemes aren't viable until we can make more innovative roboticists, and over the years I've tried several methods of engendering the Divine Frankenstein Complex in others. Teaching at a unive...
31 January 2013, by

If you had a EUR 100M investment fund, into which robotics technology or field of robotics would you put your money?

Welcome to Robotics by Invitation! Each month we pose a question of general interest to the robotics community, and ask our panel of experts to answer. So, where would the experts invest their m...
15 January 2013, by

Herman Bruyninckx on “If you had a EUR 100M investment fund, into which robotics technology or field of robotics would you put your money?”

A project that would: represent human knowledge about manufacturing in an ontology server; focus on system integration software and hardware issues; develop affordance-driven system and compon...
15 January 2013, by







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