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.