RoboBusiness Leadership Summit 2011

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Article publication date: 27 April 2012



Pransky, J. (2012), "RoboBusiness Leadership Summit 2011", Industrial Robot, Vol. 39 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

RoboBusiness Leadership Summit 2011

Article Type: News From: Industrial Robot: An International Journal, Volume 39, Issue 3

Hundreds of technology executives in the robotics industry convened in Boston, MA, USA, on November 2-3, 2011, at the 7th Annual RoboBusiness Leadership Summit produced by Robotic Trends, a division of EH Publishing, Inc.

Colin Angle, CEO and Co-Founder of iRobot Corp., one of the largest service robotics companies in the world with a 2010 revenue of US$400 million, kicked off this conference dedicated to the commercial advancement of robotics, with his keynote speech entitled, “Robots that Matter”. Angle emphasized the importance of solving high value needs of businesses and consumers, and making affordable robots that solve real-world problems.

iRobot, a 700-person company whose success is based on building robots that matter, celebrated in 2010, its 20th year of making a difference. In addition to its six million home robots sold (predominantly floor, pool, and gutter), the company has deployed more than 4,500 robots to military and civil defense forces worldwide, performing thousands of dangerous bomb-disposal, search and reconnaissance missions, including those in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the 9/11 World Trade Center. iRobot’s deep-diving Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) Seaglider, helped monitor the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and a pair of Packbots were sent to do inspections at the highly contaminated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan.

Angle encouraged robotic entrepreneurs to develop affordable robots to care for the elderly, the industry’s next major challenge.

Turning military bases into a real-world test bed for robotics in a program called Autonomous Robotics for Installation and Base Operations (ARIBO), was the focus of the talk given by Dr James Overholt, a senior research scientist in robotics for the US Army. Dr Overholt shared the latest collaborative approach to robotics research and development involving federal scientists, commercial entities, and academic experts in a “Living Lab” in Detroit, Michigan, USA, named RobotTown, in which humans and robots live together in a do-it yourself community to create and socialize robotic applications.

In addition to the keynotes, the two-day conference featured breakout sessions in the Business Development and Investment Track, and the Advanced Capabilities and Emerging Technologies Track. These 16 presentations included:

  1. 1.

    The New Robotics Market – Lessons from the Front Line, a panel session with the CEOs of successful emerging robotics companies who described their visions of the future of the intelligent, mobile robot market industry, and shared their experiences and secrets for success.

  2. 2.

    Autonomy as the “Killer App” in which Regis Vincent of the Science Research Institute, SRI International, provided an overview and a review of the latest methods and enabling technologies of the various classes of autonomous capabilities that are changing mobile robotic products in all industries.

  3. 3.

    Tech Transfer and Partnerships to Accelerate Growth which stressed the importance of strategic partnerships and technology transfer arrangement for growth and expansion of robotic firms. Insights regarding proper protections and financial structures were provided by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), and two of their partners, FujiSoft Inc., and BeatBots LLC.

  4. 4.

    The state of the art in robotic manipulation and grasping in the following research and application areas: human-like dexterous manipulation, multi-fingered and compliant grasping cooperative, dual armed systems, safe human-robot interaction, grasping non-rigid items, increasing manipulator speed, programming and simulating manipulation systems, control systems for complex movement, novel end effectors, mobile manipulation, and autonomous grasping manipulation.

Highlights on the exhibition floor included a demonstration by VGo’s telepresence robot in the Freescale booth, Aethon hospital robots, innovations by SRI including a wall climbing robot, and robots made by students at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

RoboBusiness Leadership Summit 2011 also premiered the first Annual Robie Awards, recognizing the achievements of the industry’s most innovative robotics products and companies.

The next RoboBusines Leadership Summit will take place in Pittsburgh, PA, USA, on October 23-24, 2012. Further information on RoboBusiness can be found at:

Joanne Pransky

Related articles