Carnegie Mellon Celebrates National Robotics Week With Robot Demonstrations, Lecture, Open House

Carnegie Mellon University will celebrate the third annual National Robotics Week on April 20 with project demonstrations, lab tours of the Robotics Institute, the annual Mobot (mobile robot) Races and a special lecture by Robotics Professor Howie Choset.

National Robotics Week recognizes robotic technology as a pillar of 21st century American innovation. Events are scheduled nationwide. Rep. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania’s 14th District, co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Robotics, introduced the resolution in the House of Representatives in 2010 that established the annual event. Carnegie Mellon’s celebration is timed to coincide with the university’s Spring Carnival.

“If Andrew Carnegie were alive today, he would undoubtedly love robots,” said Choset, who will be presenting a view of robotics for the layman. His talk, Robotics 101, will review the wide variety of types and sizes of robots and provide insights into the details necessary to make them work. He will speak at 2 p.m. April 20 in the Rashid Auditorium of CMU’s Gates and Hillman centers.

Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute is the largest university-affiliated robotics research group in the world. National Robotics Week provides the campus community and the public with an opportunity to see CMU robots and robot labs firsthand.

From noon to 4 p.m., visitors to the Planetary Robotics Lab highbay on the first floor of the Gates and Hillman centers can see demonstrations of Choset’s snake-like robots; of small, low-flying rotorcraft that can map rivers and their environs; of Canine robots that play fetch; and of Calliope, a prototype mobile robot and robot arm used by students in CMU’s cognitive robotics course.

Lab tours during that time period will include HERB, the home-exploring robotic butler; Ballbot, a robot that moves atop a bowling-ball-size sphere; the dual-armed PR2 and other robots in the Search-based Planning Lab; a new visualization laboratory now being assembled in Newell-Simon Hall; and two robot soccer labs. Pre-registration is required by April 16. Please visit http://www.ri.cmu.edu/rinrw for more information, updated demonstration and lab listings, and to register.

The School of Computer Science will host the 18th annual Mobot Races from noon to 2 p.m. Participants will race small autonomous vehicles through a slalom course on the paved walk outside Doherty and Wean halls.

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Carnegie Mellon Celebrates National Robotics Week With Robot Demonstrations, Lecture, Open House

Carnegie Mellon University will celebrate the second annual National Robotics Week with research project demonstrations at the Robotics Institute, the annual Mobot (mobile robot) races and the Teruko Yata Memorial Lecture, featuring William Swartout of the University of Southern California.

National Robotics Week, http://www.nationalroboticsweek.org/, is observed on the second week of April to recognize robotics technology as a pillar of 21st century American innovation.

“Now in its second year, National Robotics Week continues to be a tremendous success in educating the public on how robotics impacts society, both now and in the future,” said Rep. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania’s 14th District, co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Robotics. “Robotics provides an exciting, hands-on way for students to learn science, technology, engineering and math subjects, and the industry is poised to create many high-tech jobs in the U.S. in areas ranging from manufacturing to health care.”

National Robotics Weeks events, which coincide with the university’s Spring Carnival, will begin with Swartout’s Yata Lecture, “What Have We Learned From Virtual Humans?” Swartout is director of technology for the USC Institute for Creative Technologies, where researchers have been building virtual humans for the past decade. The institute’s vision is to create computer-generated characters that look and behave just like real people. That feat will require weaving together different threads of research such as computer vision, natural language understanding and emotion modeling.

Swartout will speak at 3:30 p.m., Thursday April 14 in Rashid Auditorium of the Gates and Hillman centers.

On Friday, April 15, the Robotics Institute will host a variety of robotics demonstrations from noon to 4 p.m. in the Planetary Robotics Lab highbay on the first floor of the Gates and Hillman centers.  A limited number of openings are available each hour for demonstrations of balance experiments with a Sarcos humanoid robot. A reception in the highbay will follow from 4 to 6 p.m.

The demonstrations in the Planetary Robotics Lab highbay are open to the public. Pre-registration is requested by April 11 for the Yata lecture and reception on April 14, as well as the April 15 Sarcos demonstrations and robotics reception. More information and links to the pre-registration form are available in the Events and Activities section of the Robotics Institute website, www.ri.cmu.edu.

Also on Friday, April 15, the School of Computer Science will host the 17th annual Mobot races, http://www.cs.cmu.edu/mobot, from noon to 2 p.m. Participants will race small autonomous vehicles through a slalom course on the paved walk outside Doherty and Wean halls.

National Robotics Week Kicks Off with Events Across the Country

The first annual National Robotics Week commenced this week with a series of regional events and activities aimed at increasing public awareness of the growing importance of “robo-technology” and the tremendous social and cultural impact that it will have on the future of how people will live, work and play worldwide. First announced in February, National Robotics Week will occur annually on the second full week of April to recognize robotics technology as a pillar of 21st century American innovation. The week’s aim is to highlight the growing importance of robotics in a wide variety of application areas and to emphasize its ability to inspire students while building their interest in technology and innovation.

From California to Massachusetts, events held throughout the week feature dozens of opportunities for the public to interact with robots in a hands-on learning environment. Lectures, robot competitions, introductory courses on robotics for kids, educational workshops for businesses, demos and tours of robotics labs will provide networking opportunities and expose many to the genius and wonder of robotics.

National Robotics Week is a product of an effort by leading universities and companies to create a “national roadmap” for robotics technology, which was initially unveiled at a May 2009 briefing by academic and industry leaders to the Congressional Caucus on Robotics. U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-14), co-chair of the caucus, and other members submitted a formal resolution (H.Res. 1055) that Congress passed on March 9, 2010 to support the designation of the second full week in April as National Robotics Week.  

“The United States has the largest number of academic and research organizations with programs focused on the advancement of robotics technology in the world,” said Colin Angle, chairman and chief executive officer of iRobot. “It is exciting for all of us involved in this industry to have support from both the public and private sectors to create National Robotics Week. It provides a real opportunity to demonstrate to the country the profound impact robotics can and will have on our everyday lives.”

The current effort is being coordinated by a National Robotics Week Advisory Council, organized by iRobot Corp. and The Technology Collaborative, a Pittsburgh-based non-profit economic development organization, along with a number of other companies, universities and organizations, including:  Adept Technology (NASDAQ: ADEP); the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI); AUVSI Foundation; Botball® (KISS Institute for Practical Robotics); Carnegie Mellon University; Carnegie Science Center of Pittsburgh; FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology); Georgia Institute of Technology; Infamous Robotics; Innovation First International; Johns Hopkins University; MIT; Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council; Museum of Science, Boston; Robotic Industries Association (RIA); The Tech Museum in Silicon Valley; Stanford University; University of Massachusetts Lowell; University of Pennsylvania; and University of Southern California.

Alliance of Top Industry, Academic and Non-Profit Organizations Team Up to Launch National Robotics Week

The first annual National Robotics Week will be held from April 10-18 (Just think there will hardly be any snow!), recognizing robotics technology as a pillar of 21st century American innovation, highlighting its growing importance in a wide variety of application areas, and emphasizing its ability to inspire technology education.

Experts agree, robotics is positioned to fuel a broad array of next-generation products and applications in fields as diverse as manufacturing, healthcare, national defense and security, agriculture and transportation. At the same time, robotics is proving to be uniquely adept at enabling students of all ages to learn important science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts and at inspiring them to pursue careers in STEM-related fields. During National Robotics Week, a weeklong series of events and activities is aimed at increasing public awareness of the growing importance of “robo-technology” and the tremendous social and cultural impact that it will have on the future of the United States.

National Robotics Week is a product of a 2009 effort by leading universities and companies to create a “national roadmap” for robotics technology, which was initially unveiled at a May 2009 briefing by academic and industry leaders to the Congressional Caucus on Robotics. U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-14), co-chair of the caucus, and other members have submitted a formal resolution asking Congress to support the designation of the second full week in April as National Robotics Week.

“During National Robotics Week, we are asking people to ‘experience the possibilities’ that come from using robotics technology in everyday life,” said Rep. Doyle. “From schools to the workplace to healthcare, robotics will play a huge role in making life easier for everyone and will be a significant area of job growth and development in the decades ahead.”

The current effort is being coordinated by a National Robotics Week Advisory Council, organized by iRobot Corp. (NASDAQ: IRBT) and The Technology Collaborative, a Pittsburgh-based non-profit economic development organization, along with a number of other companies, universities and organizations, including:  Adept Technology (NASDAQ:ADEP); the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI); AUVSI Foundation; Botball® (KISS Institute for Practical Robotics); Carnegie Mellon University; Carnegie Science Center of Pittsburgh; FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology); Georgia Institute of Technology; Infamous Robotics; Innovation First International; Johns Hopkins University; MIT; Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council; Museum of Science, Boston; Robotic Industries Association (RIA); The Tech Museum in Silicon Valley; Stanford University; University of Massachusetts Lowell; University of Pennsylvania; and University of Southern California.

“We see robotics as a transformative technology that has the potential to change our society and become as ubiquitous over the next several decades as computing technology is today,” said Colin Angle, chairman and chief executive officer of iRobot. “We are thrilled as an organization to have a key role in this national effort to demonstrate to the country how robotics has matured into an all-encompassing and enabling technology.”

During National Robotics Week, numerous public events and activities will be held in cities across the country, including:

  • Boston, Mass.
    • New England Botball Regional Tournament and New England Botfest, University of Massachusetts Lowell, April 10
    • Robot Block Party, Museum of Science, April 17
  • Pittsburgh, Pa.
    • Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute 30th Anniversary Open House
    • Announcement of the Class of 2010 Robotics Hall of Fame Inductees
    • Carnegie Science Center Café Scientifique Event
  • Philadelphia, Pa.
    • University of Pennsylvania GRASP Lab Open House
  • Washington, D.C.
    • AUVSI Sponsored Unmanned Systems Day on Capitol Hill
    • Congressional Caucus on Robotics Briefing
    • CSM VEX Robotics Challenge, College of Southern Maryland, April 10
    • Greater D.C. Botball Regional Tournament, Woodson High School, April 17
  • San Francisco, Calif.
    • Young Innovators Day, The Tech Museum of Innovation, April 11
    • Robot Block Party, Stanford University, April 14
    • Robots in Action, Adept Technology, April 16
  • Los Angeles, Calif.
    • USC Center for Robotics and Embedded Systems Open House
  • El Cajon, Calif.
    • Southern California Botball Regional Tournament, Cuyamaca College, April 10
  • Atlanta, Ga.
    • FIRST Championship, The Georgia Dome, April 15-17
    • Georgia Tech Center for Robotics and Intelligent Machines Open House
  • Baltimore, Md.
    • Johns Hopkins University Open House
  • Marion, Ohio
    • National Robotics Challenge, April 15-17

“Nineteen years ago, in an effort to ‘hook’ students on the fun and excitement of science and technology, FIRST created a national robotics competition that now draws more than 250,000 participants a year. The thinking was that the younger and more diverse the participants, the better chance we will have of producing a generation of innovative problem solvers,” said Dean Kamen, noted inventor, president of DEKA Research and Development, and FIRST Founder.