Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Governor Patrick Meets With Robotics Cluster

Mass Technology Leadership Council was pleased to host Governor Deval Patrick at a recent Robotics Cluster meeting, held at iRobot Corporation in Bedford, MA. Governor Patrick said that "extraordinary advances are happening in the robotics industry and today's discussion will help us foster this critical and burgeoning sector of our economy."

At the meeting, industry leaders spoke about the diversity of ongoing robotics research in areas such as defense, healthcare, homeland security, logistics, marine, and other sectors critical to the region's economy. The Governor saw robots that neutralize roadside bombs, patrol the oceans, automate warehouse distribution, rehabilitate patients, and vacuum floors.

Included in the dialogue with the Governor was a discussion of the unique characteristics of the Massachusetts robotic industry. Cluster members highlighted the fact that Massachusetts has a wide range of companies serving a very diverse set of markets, a group of 10 universities engaged in cutting-edge research, track record of innovation and commercial success, critical mass of workers, and the only robotics engineering degree in the country (at Worcester Polytechnic Institute).

The meeting ended with a discussion of the Cluster's goals which are to double employment and revenue by 2015; establish an academic consortium; and increase cluster identity, visibility, and connections.

The Mass Robotics Cluster was formed by the Council in 2005 to bring together companies, institutions, and individuals engaged in robotics research, education, and product design and commercialization. The Cluster includes a broad range of 80 companies, 10 Massachusetts colleges and universities, and service firms that support the industry. The 80 companies in the Cluster employ over 2,500 people and generate sales in excess of $942 million annually.

The changing demographics of the US will raise the need for the capabilities that robotics can deliver. Massachusetts is currently the US leader of this new and emerging industry. "This was a great opportunity to help showcase to the Governor the growing robotics industry in Massachusetts," said Council President Joyce L. Plotkin. "We are pleased that the governor has agreed to work with the Cluster to raise its profile and to reach out to other important constituencies."

Information about the industry was collected as part of a "Cluster Development" grant from the John Adams Innovation Institute of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.

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