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Welcome to Episode 9 of The Robot Report Podcast, which brings conversations with robotics innovators straight to you. Join us every Wednesday for discussions with leading roboticists, innovative robotics companies, and other key members of the robotics community.
This week Gene and I talk with Kathy Walker, the Executive Director and Founder of the eKentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute (eKAMI). Kathy is the master-mind behind eKAMI, which has done tremendous work re-skilling the coal miners of Appalachia, providing them with the education and skills to land jobs as robot technicians, among other positions. We talk to Kathy about scaling this program, the demand for robotics engineers, positioning the U.S. to capitalize on automation and the new robotics lab eKAMI is building.
Gene also chats with Robin Phillips, head of the maxon SpaceLab. maxon produced 10 drives for NASA’s Perseverance Rover, which is scheduled to launch its $2.7 billion mission to Mars tomorrow. The discussion hits on building and testing components for space, mistaking life on Mars for human skin cells, sending humans to Mars, and how maxon has adapted to COVID-19.
Gene and I also recap some recent headlines, including the return of the infamous social robot Jibo. We broke the news in March that NTT Disruption acquired Jibo’s IP, but NTT just launched a new Jibo website, giving us a glimpse into the robot’s potential future. Will it work? We discuss.
We also talk about Boston Dynamics pilot program with Ford and the opportunities for the Spot quadruped robot.
If you would like to be a guest on an upcoming episode of the podcast, or if you have recommendations for future guests or segment ideas, contact Steve or Eugene. For sponsorship opportunities of The Robot Report Podcast, contact Courtney Nagle for more information.
0-3:07 – Show Intro
3:08-30:57 – Conversation with Kathy Walker, Executive Director & Founder, the eKentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute
30:58-36:14 – Jibo social robot returns
36:15-42:31 – Boston Dynamics partners with Ford
42:32-1:17:03 – Conversation with Robin Phillips, head of the maxon SpaceLab
1:17:04-1:18:13 – Show Outro
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Jibo’s social robot assets acquired by NTT Disruption
Spot robots helping Ford survey Michigan plant