The inaugural Robotics Summit & Showcase gets underway today at the Westin Boston Waterfront. The two-day event brings together the best minds in robotics to focus on the design, development, manufacture and delivery of commercial class robotics and intelligent systems products and services.
The Robotics Summit features two full days of enlightening keynotes and general sessions in four tracks delivered by the world’s leading robotics and business professionals. The event also includes networking receptions, luncheons and an expo floor packed with the latest robotic technology.
It all gets underway at 9:30 AM with a keynote from Damion Shelton, co-founder and CEO of Agility Robotics, maker of the Cassie bipedal robot. The sold-out showcase floor, which features 22 exhibitors, opens at 12:30 PM.
Here’s a look at the complete two-day agenda and some of the cutting-edge robots attendees will learn about or meet.
Bipedal Locomotion and Autonomous Mobility
Speaker: Damion Shelton, CEO, Agility Robotics
Developers of mobile robotics systems have a choice of technological approaches to support ground-based locomotion – wheels, tracks, and legged systems, among them. But only one class of locomotion – bipedalism – movement using two feet, is optimized for existing environments designed for human occupation and movement.
Damion Shelton, CEO of Agility Robotics, the developer of the Cassie bipedal robot, will describe the advantages of bipedal locomotion for autonomous mobility in unstructured, human populated environments. Possible use cases for bipedal robotics, as well as specific design, development and testing requirements for bipedal systems, will also be discussed.
Designing Mobile Picking Robots for E-Commerce Fulfillment
Adrian Kumar, VP Solutions Design North America, DHL Supply Chain
All e-commerce retailers, as well as third party logistics providers, understand that picking operations are a major contributor to the burgeoning cost of e-fulfillment. Increasing the level of automation in warehouses and distribution centers has proven to both decrease the costs of e-commerce fulfillment operations and improve efficiency.
DHL’s Adrian Kumar will describe how mobile service robots are supporting picking operations at fulfillment centers and warehouses, along with the processes to design, develop and install such systems. Real-world case studies will be used to highlight salient points.
Producing Commercial Class Robotics Systems: Challenges and Advanced Manufacturing Solutions
John Dulchinos, VP Global Automation and 3D Printing, Jabil
The development of commercial class robotics systems requires the mastery of multiple disciplines, and the resultant systems must be innovative, robust, and work as advertised. Yet even if these issues are addressed, many other significant, often unrecognized challenges related to product introduction and production must also be addressed.
John Dulchinos, VP, Digital Manufacturing for Jabil, the world’s 3rd largest contract manufacturer, will describe these go-to-market challenges, along with advanced manufacturing solutions that can be employed to best them. Topics include rapid prototyping, ensuring quality, designing for manufacturability, volume production, mass customization, supply chain management, fulfillment and more.
Robotics, Intelligent Systems and Transformational Innovation
John Lizzi, Executive Leader, Robotics, GE Global Research
Advancements in automation, robotics and intelligent systems, coupled with pervasive communication and deep analytics, make it possible for businesses to drive down costs, optimize performance and generate revenue. However, as with any class of nascent technology, both the end-user and supplier communities are faced with rapid business change, continuous technological churn, and much uncertainty.
GE’s John Lizzi will describe the current state-of-the-art in robotics and supporting technologies, revealing the larger, repeating patterns of technological and business significance, while emphasizing the opportunities enabled by transformational innovation along the way.
Soft Robotics: Ongoing Research, Commercial Systems and Future Directions
George Whitesides, Professor, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University
Principal Investigator, Whitesides Research Group, Harvard University
The unassuming term “soft robotics,” robotic systems that exist at the intersection of robotics technology and materials chemistry, has recently made its way from the rarefied environs of academic journals and scholarly symposia and into the mainstream. George Whitesides will describe ongoing soft robotics research at Harvard’s Whitesides Research Group, as well as commercial class soft robotics systems currently on the market or nearly so. Topics related to materials, sensing, control and actuation will be discussed, along with how inherently flexible soft robotics systems can be engineered to provide for novel capabilities and support task versatility.
Building Dynamic Robots
Marc Raibert, founder and CEO, Boston Dynamics
Raibert will give you an update on the company that makes those viral YouTube videos and go under the hood of its biped and quadruped robots that jump, run, balance and even do backflips. Raibert will give a status report on the robots and conduct a live demo of SpotMini, the company’s latest four-legged robot that handles objects, climbs stairs, and opens doors.
Here’s a look at the complete agenda:
Track 1: Technologies, Tools and Platforms
Designing Robots from the Inside Out
Speaker: Lee Ginter, Sales Engineering Manager, Harmonic Drive
Realtime Motion Planning
Speaker: Peter Howard, CEO, Realtime Robotics
Advanced Grasping and Manipulation
Moderator: Tom Ryden, Executive Director, MassRobotics; Co-Founder and Former COO, VGo Communications
Speakers: Leif Jentoft, Co-Founder, RightHand Robotics
Zachary Tomkinson, Sales Development Manager, East, Universal Robots
Mark Chiappetta, Chief Technology Officer, Soft Robotics
Innovations in Sensing and Robot Vision
Moderator: Aditya Kaul, Research Director, Tractica
Speakers: Jeremy Bergh, Sales Director, North America, IDS Imaging Development Systems
Jason Derenick, Vice President of Technology, Exyn Technologies
Julian Ryde, Staff Scientist, Intelligent Robotic Systems, United Technologies Research Center
Developing Autonomous Mobile Robots for Human Populated Environments
Speaker: Phil Duffy, Vice President, Innovation, Brain Corporation
Track 2: Design and Development
Increasing Intelligence and Effectiveness Using On-Device Deep Learning
Speaker: Heather Ames Versace, Co-founder and COO, Neurala
Autonomy & Opportunity
Speakers: Jason Derenick, Vice President of Technology, Exyn Technologies
Tim Rowland, CEO, Badger Technologies
Jason Walker, Co-founder, CEO, Waypoint Robotics
Enhance Your Robot Development Using Interactive Simulation
Speaker: James English, President and Chief Technical Officer, Energid Technologies
How Supply Chain Support Boosts Robotics Innovation and Competitiveness
Speaker: Søren Aarhus, Business Development, Odense Robotics
Track 3: Manufacturability, Production, and Distribution
Using AR Technologies to Overcome Robotics Development Uncertainty
Speaker: Mark Smithers, Co-Founder and CEO, Boston Engineering
Wheels, Treads or Fins? DFx Optimizes Robot Manufacturing Panel
Moderator: Andy McMillan, Chair of the Cirtronics Advisory Board, Cirtronics
Speakers: Derek Daly, Chief Operating Officer
Tom Frost, President, Endeavor Robotics
Youssef Saleh, Founder and CEO, Ava Robotics
Making Smart Robotics Smarter
Speaker: Brian Mason, West Coast Business Development Manager, Elmo Motion Control
Robotics as a Service: Lowering Barriers and Expanding Use-Cases
Speaker: Rian Whitton, Research Analyst, ABI Research
Track 4: Investment
Evolution of Investing in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (RAAI)
Speakers: Travis Briggs, CEO, ROBO Global
Jeremie Capron, Director of Research, ROBO Global
Investing In the Autonomy Economy: Opportunities for Innovators & Investors
Moderator: Fady Saad, Co-Founder and Partnerships Director, MassRobotics
Speakers: Anders Bialek, VP, Corporate Development, iRobot
Sana Fathima, Investment Manager, Lockheed Ventures
Oliver Mitchell, Founding Partner, Autonomy Ventures
Steven Taub, Managing Director, GE Ventures
Creating a National Manufacturing Ecosystem through Robotics Innovation
Speaker: Jay Douglass, COO, ARM Institute
Cutting-edge robots at the Robotics Summit
Here is a sample of robots that attendees will meet and/or learn about at the Robotics Summit. Many other robots will be demoed and discussed at length during the two-day event.
Boston Dynamics SpotMini
SpotMini is one of the most recognizable robots on the planet, and Robotics Summit attendees have the chance to get up close and personal with this four-legged masterpiece.
Agility Robotics Cassie Bipedal Robot
Shelton will take us behind the scenes of the Cassie bipedal robot.
Meca500 6-axis Industrial Robot Arm
Mecademic’s Meca500, the world’s smallest 6-axis robot arm, will be demoed in Harmonic Drive’s booth (#214). Based in Montreal, Mecademic designs, develops and manufactures the most compact and accurate small six-axis industrial robots on the market.
Built with precision machined aluminum and zero-backlash gearboxes, the Meca500 is the most precise six-axis robot arm, boasting a repeatability of 5 μm. Not only is the Meca500 more than twice as small as other small industrial robots, but its controller is embedded in its base, instead of hosted in a bulky external cabinet. The Meca500 is a plug‑and‑work automation component, so you can spend more time innovating your product or optimizing your production line.
Ava Video Collaboration Robot
Leveraging a deep technical heritage from iRobot, Ava Robotics designs and builds autonomous robots that comfortably coexist with humans in workplaces and other large spaces. Ava is a new video collaboration solution that offers users what we call “practical teleportation.”
Ava transforms the experience of remote collaboration by combining autonomous mobility with high definition Cisco video conferencing, enabling users to easily and safely move around a distant location, as if they were physically there.
Ava will be featured by Cirtronics in booth #212. Cirtronics, a contract manufacturer located in the greater Boston area, uses DFx to support optimizing product cost and quality from design reviews through production, testing, and aftermarket support tailored specifically to the needs of each customer.
Ava will also be discussed and demoed during the panel “Wheels, Treads or Fins? DFx Optimizes Robot Manufacturing” that will define DFx in the context of manufacturability. It will include presentations by each of the executives and an opportunity for the audience to ask questions of the panel. Some of the robots discussed in the session will also be available.
Endeavor Robotics UGVs
Endeavor Robotics is the world’s leading supplier of battle-tested Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs). Endeavor will be featured at the Robotics Summit in partnership with Cirtronics. The company’s latest UGVs will be discussed on the “Wheels, Treads or Fins? DFx Optimizes Robot Manufacturing” panel.
Endeavor will also be highlighting its uPoint Multi-Robot Control System uPoint Multi-Robot Control System that is used by its latest UGVs. uPoint reduces operator training time by leveraging IOP technology and a familiar tablet user-interface. Through the integration of mesh networking radios and uPoint controllers, operators can control and observe multiple UGVs – of different type – simultaneously, and at far greater range. To drive and move a robot, users simply drag their finger across the screen.
The uPoint System consists of an Android-based, ruggedized controller and Persistent Systems MPU5 Radio network. uPoint and the MPU5 network have been integrated across Endeavor’s family of ‘man-transportable’ products, including its FirstLook, SUGV and PackBot robots.
Tega Social Robot
Tega is a research platform developed by MIT Media Labs and Cooper Perkins. Tega is a research tool for teams to study the social interaction between humans and robots, extending into teaching at schools and helping the sick heal in hospitals. The development of the platform required the integration and parallel development of robot cognition, animation art, industrial design, software engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering.
Tega leverages smartphone technology to not only graphically display facial expressions but also for computation, which includes behavioral control, sensor processing, and motor control to drive its five degrees of freedom: head up/down, body-tilt left/right, body-lean forward/back, body-extend up/down, and body-rotate left/right.
Tega wil be discussed as part of the panel about “Developing Cognitive Robotics Systems.”
Waypoint Robotics Vector Mobile Robot
Waypoint Robotics, a NH-based startup formerly known as Stanley Robotics, will be exhibiting in booth 305 at the Robotics Summit and Showcase. Waypoint Robotics will be demoing its ROS-based Vector mobile robot, its EnZone wireless power solution, Dispatcher software development kit and Dispatcher fleet management software.
Vector is an easy to use, industrial strength, high quality, omni-directional, fully autonomous, mobile robot. It’s designed for the workforce of today, so they can set it up and they can put it to work immediately. Vector is small, agile, and ROS-Native, so it’s customizable and future-proof.
Walker will also be speaking on the Autonomy & Opportunity” panel on Wednesday, May 23 from 3:00 pm – 3:45 pm. Alongside Jason Derenick, VP of Technology at Exyn Technologies, and Tim Rowland, CEO of Badger Technologies, the panel will cover the gradual increase in the levels of autonomy and the the capacity for systems to move or perform tasks without human intervention. It is important for developers of robotics and automation technology to understand the various forms by which autonomy can be manifested, and what currently is technically possible or soon will be.
Cambridge, Mass.-based Soft Robotics’ will discuss its soft robotic grippers, including the company’s new SuperPick system. Chiappetta will be speaking on the “Advanced Grasping & Manipulation” panel that will dive into the latest grasping and manipulation technologies and techniques commercially available, as well as solutions emerging from the lab that will allow for whole new classes of robotics applications.
Universal Robots UR10
Universal Robots will be displaying its industry-leading collaborative robot arms in booth #100. Unlike traditional industrial robots that stay hardwired in a cage, the lightweight UR Robots can be moved around, automating high mix low volume production runs.
Programming is intuitive; simply grab the robot arm to teach the desired movement, or use the touch screen. The Polyscope GUI runs on a Linux OS platform for easy customization of specific tasks and tools. Product portfolio includes the UR3, UR5 and UR10 robot arms named after their payloads in kilos, they all feature 0.1 mm repeatability and span in reach from 19.7” in to 51.2”.
Tomkinson will also be featured on the “Advanced Grasping & Manipulation” panel.
Boston Engineering BIOSwimmer Unmanned Underwater Vehicle
Boston Engineering, exhibiting in booth #202 will have an AR demo of its BIOSwimmer unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV). The BIOSwimmer, which features a design inspired by tuna, is built for high maneuverability in harsh environments, with a flexible aft section and appropriately placed sets of pectoral and other fins.
The BIOSwimmer, which is battery-powered and designed for long-duration operation, can inspect the interior voids of ships such as flooded bilges and tanks, and hard to reach external areas such as steerage, propulsion and sea chests. It can also inspect and protect harbors and piers, perform area searches and carry out other security missions. It uses an onboard computer suite for navigation, sensor processing, and communications.
Smithers will be giving a talk called “Using AR Technologies to Overcome Robotics Development Uncertainty.” Smithers will will describe how AR and other technologies can be used to reduce the uncertainty when developing new, innovative, robotics systems. Topics include:
- AR as a robotics system development tool
- Introducing AR into the product development lifecycle
- Meeting requirements and demonstrating compliance
- Case studies demonstrating AR as a development enabler
A division of Jabil, Badger Technologies has developed a fully autonomous robot that will initially be rolled out for the grocery retail environment to address out-of-stock, planogram compliance, price integrity, and audit and compliance issues.
Badger can operate safely alongside shoppers and employees while scanning shelves. Technologies on the robot include LiDAR to map and navigate stores, high-resolution and 3D depth cameras, ROS and more. Rowland will be featured on the “Autonomy & Opportunity” panel.
RightPick from RightHand Robotics is another piece-picking solution you’ll learn about at the Robotics Summit. RightPick is a hardware-enabled software solution that can pick individual items in a variety of workflows within e-commerce order fulfillment centers, distribution centers and other warehouse and production environments.
RightPick handles tens of thousands of different items using a machine learning backend coupled with an intelligent gripper that works in concert with industry-leading robotic arms. RightHand Robotics co-founder Leif Jentoft will be speaking on the panel “Advanced Grasping & Manipulation.”