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Turning robots into products, with Erin Rapacki

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17 January 2012



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adeptFor up to date information about the business of robotics you can’t go past the Robots Podcast from EPFL Switzerland. Every 2 weeks, Robots will take you for a ride through the world’s research labs, robotics companies and their latest innovations.

In Robots Podcast episode #93, Sabine interviews Erin Rapacki, who previously worked at DEKAiRobot, and Anybots, and is currently Product Marketing Manager for Mobile Robots at Adept Technology. In the interview, she argues that robotics research should be more driven by real-world problems in need of marketable solutions, and that they should take advantage of available platforms, such as those available from Adept, rather than continually reinventing the mobility aspect of their projects. She also discusses the prospects for cloud robotics and states that many of the missing pieces roboticists have been waiting on have arrived, mentioning faster processors, tablet computers, and the Kinect. Ms. Rapacki recently authored a guest post on the IEEE Spectrum Automaton blog, titled “Dear Reader, I Have News for You: Robots Are Boring” in which she states:

What we need from robotics companies and roboticists everywhere are more boring robots: Robots that would be most appreciated when they complete a task in a manner that is smooth and economical; robots that investors and companies can trust building business models around.

As you might surmise from this snippet, “boring”, as she uses it in that post, means approximately the same thing as the FDA’s “safe and effective”. And while it might sound like doublespeak, in most circumstances boring is good.
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Andra Keay is the Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics, founder of Women in Robotics and is a mentor, investor and advisor to startups, accelerators and think tanks, with a strong interest in commercializing socially positive robotics and AI.
Andra Keay is the Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics, founder of Women in Robotics and is a mentor, investor and advisor to startups, accelerators and think tanks, with a strong interest in commercializing socially positive robotics and AI.





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