Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Robotics Summit to Showcase Future Applications

Dozens of robotics researchers, public officials, and private sector executives from across the region will convene at Microsoft NERD on December 8th for an unprecedented look at the future of robotics. The summit will begin with remarks from the Massachusetts Secretary for Housing and Economic Development Gregory Bialecki, followed by research briefings, a presentation on technology transfer opportunities and tours of seven Robotics Labs at MIT. Attendees will learn firsthand about the latest research coming down the pipeline and opportunities for partnership and commercialization. 

Presentations will include:
Biomimetic Underwater Robot Program -  Joseph Ayers, Northeastern University Marine Science Center - We are developing neurotechnology based on the neurophysiology and behavior of animal models. We developed two classes of biomimetic autonomous underwater vehicles.
Hybrid and Networked Systems Lab - Calin Belta, Boston University - We are interested in phenomena that occur when continuous dynamics, described by systems of differential equations, are combined with discrete dynamics, modelled as automata or state transition graphs (examples range from man-made systems such as mobile robots, to naturally occurring systems such as biochemical networks).
WPI Robotics Engineering Program - Mike Gennert, WPI - WPI boasts the only undergrad robotics degree program in nation. Research areas include: surgical robotics, human-robot interaction, swarm robotics, and robotics systems engineering.
Laboratory for Perceptual Robotics - Rod Grupen, UMass Amherst - Our lab studies computational systems that solve sensory and motor problems. Experimental platforms include sensor networks, mobile manipulators, and integrated bimanual humanoids.
Robotics, Learning and Autonomy Lab - Chad Jenkins, Brown University - We explore problems in human-robot interaction, robot learning, robot perception, autonomous control, dexterous manipulation, and game development. 
Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering - Jim Kinsey, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) - Projects include the development of in-situ calibration techniques for navigation sensor calibration, dynamic model-based nonlinear state estimators for underwater robot navigation, and exploiting advances in underwater vehicle navigation to obtain fine spatial resolution gravity maps.
Surgical Navigation and Robotics Laboratory - Hata Nobuhiko, Brigham and Women’s Hospital & Harvard Medical School - Our unique approach, where imaging, computing and robotics are integrated into one unit to enhance the capability of image-guided therapy, aims to advance a minimally invasive therapy and ultimately develop new treatment methods.
Biomimetic Devices Laboratory - Jason Rife and Ethan Danahy, Tufts University - The overall goal of the laboratory is to develop devices based on the highly adaptive mechanisms of animal movement. These devices will have direct applications in robotics (e.g., manufacturing, emergency search and retrieval, repair and maintenance of equipment in space) and in medical diagnosis and treatment (e.g., endoscopy, remote surgery).
MIT Robotics Labs - Seth Teller, MIT CSAIL - Seth will provide a brief overview of research in the following MIT Robotics Labs (tours available after lunch): Distributed Robotics Lab, Robot Locomotion Lab, Robust Robotics Lab, Humans and Automation Lab, Personal Robots Group, Aerospace Controls Lab, Robotics, Vision, and Sensor Networks Group.  
Robotics Lab @ UMass Lowell - Holly Yanco, UMass Lowell - Research focuses on human-robot interaction (HRI), ranging from visual displays to evaluation methods to a new HRI architecture for robots. Application domains include assistive technology, urban search and rescue (USAR), explosive ordinance disposal (EOD), and hazardous materials (HAZMAT) response.  

MIT Lab Tours will include:
Distributed Robotics Laboratory - Daniela Rus, MIT CSAIL - spans areas including modular and self-reconfiguring robots, distributed algorithms and systems of self-organizing robots, networks of robots and sensors for first-responders, mobile sensor networks, animals and robots, cooperative underwater robotics, desktop robotics, and forming, moving, and navigating sparse 2D and 3D structures.
Robot Locomotion Laboratory - Russ Tedrake, MIT CSAIL - The goal of our research is to build machines which exploit their natural dynamics to achieve extraordinary agility and efficiency.
Robust Robotics Laboratory - Nicholas Roy, MIT CSAIL - Our research goals are to build unmanned vehicles that can fly without GPS through unmapped indoor environments, robots that can drive through unmapped cities, and to build social robots that can quickly learn what people want without being annoying or intrusive.
Humans and Automation Laboratory - Mary Cummings, MIT CSAIL - Research focuses on the multifaceted interactions of human and computer decision-making in complex sociotechnical systems.
Personal Robots Group - Cynthia Breazeal, MIT Media Lab - Research focuses on developing the principles, techniques, and technologies for personal robots. This lab has developed numerous robotic creatures ranging from robotic flower gardens, to embedding robotic technologies into familiar everyday artifacts (e.g., clothing, lamps, desktop computers), to creating highly expressive humanoids -- including the well-known social robot, Leonardo.
Aerospace Controls Laboratory -  Jonathan P. How - researches topics related to autonomous systems and control design for aircraft, spacecraft, and ground vehicles.  Theoretical research is pursued in areas such as: decision making under uncertainty; path planning, activity and task assignment; estimation and navigation; sensor network design; robust control, adaptive control, and model predictive control.
Robotics, Vision, and Sensor Networks Group - Seth Teller, MIT CSAIL - Seth’s research focuses on Situationally-Aware Computing for Autonomous Robotics and Human Assistance.

Details and Registration at: http://futureofrobotics2009.eventbrite.com/

Friday, November 20, 2009

Arnold Honored for DIGITS Campaign at 49th Annual Francis W. Hatch Awards

Arnold Worldwide received a bronze award in the public service category at the 49th Annual Francis W. Hatch Awards for development of the brand, logo, and tagline for the STEMTech Alliance's DIGITS program. The gala event, organized by the Ad Club of Boston, recognized the creative talent behind the campaign: chief creative officer Pete Favat; art directors James Adame, Jess Ruggieri; copywriters Lisa Taylor, Henry Jones; illustration Nate Williams, Jason Murphy; producers Jim Spadafora, Alice Blue; and photographer Jorg Meyer.

The STEMTech Alliance was created in late 2007 when the Mass Technology Leadership Council, under the leadership of president emerita Joyce Plotkin, reached out to five other science and technology industry associations to ask them to work collaboratively to tackle a serious problem impacting Massachusetts' global competitiveness and leadership in scientific and technological innovation. The problem -- the diminishing pipeline of students in science, technology, engineering and math (dubbed STEM by the National Science Foundation) is resulting in a shrinking pool of STEM-qualified workers for science and technology-based businesses. Known as the STEMTech Alliance, the resulting coalition of Massachusetts science and technology associations, which represent over 1500 companies and 300,000 people who work in software, Internet, telecommunications, biotechnology, medical devices, engineering and clean energy, launced the DIGITS program. See http://www.digits.us.com/ for more information.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What are the IT Decision Makers saying about SaaS and the Cloud?


Leaders from MassTLC's SaaS and Cloud Clusters hosted a session for savvy CIOs and business executives to explore software as a service, cloud computing, and new business processes that are providing competitive advantage. With the growing adoption of SaaS in mid-size and large enterprises, the discussion turned to optimizing business performance by improving processes enabled by on-demand delivery models. But we learned that the drive for best practices in the SaaS age present a range of challenges that IT executives are earnestly driving as requirements with their SaaS providers.

The CIOs' role as strategic advisors to business is expanding as they take on these critical issues as enterprise processes are optimized with SaaS. Some issues discussed include: Concerns about security and compliance; Interoperability, portability and integration issues for SaaS; Usability and performance requirements; Outlook for 2010; and more.

The program was sponsored by IBM; Ruberto Israel & Weiner; Salesforce.com; and Silverpop. Participants included: Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director, THINKstrategies - moderator to give market overview and trends; Jeff Calow, IBM Distinguished Engineer, Chief Architect, IBM; Madeleine Noland, CIO, Backchannelmedia; Dan Richards, VP of Constant Contact Labs, Constant Contact; Mike Stubblefield, Managing Director, Sales and Service Technology, Putnam Investments

For more info visit http://www.eventbrite.com/event/468134202

Friday, November 13, 2009

B2B Marketers Share Social Media Stories from the Trenches

Paul Gillin, author of The New Influencers moderated a MassTLC Social Media Cluster breakfast event entitled Social Media in Real Life: Four B2B Marketers Share from the Trenches. The event targeted B2B marketers and covered the most effective social media tools. Four presenters shared overviews of their company's social media program with a drill down into a specific area where they have had the greatest success. Take a look at the speaker presentations below for tips and keys to success around LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blogging and Video for B2B companies.

- Amy Black, Senior Marketing Communications Manager, Kadient - focus, Viral content (see presentation)
- Rick Burnes, Inbound Marketing Manager, HubSpot - focus, LinkedIn and Facebook (see presentation)
- Rachel Happe, Founder, The Community Roundtable - focus, Twitter (see presentation)
- David Mills, Social Media Marketing Manager, AutoDesk - focus, Blogger relations (see presentation)

The MassTLC Social Media cluster will be meeting again in early December to discuss programming for 2010. Plans are for the next program to be focused on the true ROI of social media with a prominent, nationally known expert in this area. If you are interested in becoming more involved, please contact christine@masstlc.org.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

MassTLC's Robotics Cluster Meets with Delegation of Dutch Roboticists

Leaders of MassTLC's Robotics Cluster met with a delegation of Dutch Robotics industry and academic leaders to build relationships and learn more about robotics around the world. The primary focus of the delegation was assistive and medical robotics, and as such, Charles Remsberg, CEO of Hocoma gave a presentation on rehabilitative robotics. Also present to represent the Cluster were Cluster co-chair Tom Ryden, Kathleen Hagan, and more.

In the Netherlands, a cluster of research institutes and companies have organized into the 'Foundation for Advanced Robotics and Mechatronics', focusing on advancing research and education in the field of robotics. The delegation's goals with the visit were to establish contact with U.S. based companies and industry organizations to discuss the newest technological developments in the area of assistive and medical robotics, in order to explore potential topics for R&D collaboration.

The Dutch Robotics delegation briefed the MassTLC Robotics Cluster as well. Their delegation consisted of the following: Prof. Stefano Stramigioli, Full Professor of Advanced Robotics, University of Twente Impact; Dennis Schipper, CEO, Demcon; Bianca Screever, Demcon; Arthur Blom, Assistive Innovations; Freek Tonis, Hankamp Gears; Sarthak Misra, Assistant Professor, University of Twente MIRA; Fred van Houten, Full Professor of Design Engineering, University of Twente; Jan Emmerzaal, University of Twente; Martijn Kuit, Managing Director, University of Twente MIRA; Herman van der Kooij, University of Twente; Wilbert Pontenagel, Kennispark Twente; Michiel Jannink, Roessingh RD/Oost NV; Nico Arfman, Project Manager Health & Technology, Oost NV; Hans van Eerden, Press; Bart Sattler, Netherlands Office for Science and Technology, Royal Dutch Embassy; Mark van den Brandt, Netherlands Office for Science and Technology, Royal Dutch Embassy; and Eric Henning, KEMA Chalfont, PA.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Over 400 turn out to Honor Technology Leaders at MassTLC Awards

We were honored and humbled by the turn-out of technology pioneers, venture capitalists, and other leaders at this year's Mass Technology Leadership Awards gala at the Boston Marriot Copley Place. In its twelfth year, the awards set out to recognize the best and brightest technology innovators and leaders in the Bay State.

The evening began with recognition by the Council's Education Foundation of K-12 teachers who have gone "above and beyond" the norm to hook their students on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Above & Beyond Awards were presented to:
- Brian Vitarisi, Eric Simoneau, Louis Diaz, Carlos Vega, and Juanita Brown of the Sarah Greenwood K-8 School, Dorchester
- Ryan King and April Sither of the Masconomet Middle School, Topsfield
- Lori Coburn and Marjorie Roberson of the Natick High School, Natick
- Carrie-Anne Sherwood of the Codman Academy Public Charter School, Dorchester
- Angela Cardono Cunard, Jennifer Borden, and David Bonneau of the Seekonk High School, Seekonk

The Council's Commonwealth Award was given to Leo Beranek, founder of Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN), the firm credited with developing the ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet. Leo has been described as a Renaissance man -- a scientist, an inventor, an entrepreneur, a musician, a television executive, and philanthropist, and an author -- who has lived life in constant motion. MassTLC Chair Steve O'Leary recently interviewed Leo for Mass High Tech (view interview and video clip).

The Council's Innovation Catalyst Awards went to Bill Warner, founder of AVID Technologies and Wildfire Communications. Bill was described as a Student and Teacher, Investor and Executive, Startup Entrepreneur and Public Company CEO, Inventor and Reinventor, Handcycler and Recycler, a man who has helped shape many lives and whose own life was shaped by many.

The Council gave an additional nine awards in individual categories like CEO and CIO of the year, as well as in company categories like Private Sector Company of the Year. This year's 40+ finalists comprised an impressive slate of technology leaders. The winners are as follows:

Chief Executive Officer of the Year - Colin Angle, Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder, iRobot

Chief Information Officer of the Year - George Brenckle, CIO, UMass Memorial Health Center

Chief Technology Officer of the Year - Jeff Flowers, Chief Technology Officer, Carbonite

Emerging Executive of the Year - Patricia Cotter, Vice President Worldwide Operations, Netezza Corporation

Innovator of the Year - Dharmesh Shah, Chief Technology Officer and Founder, HubSpot

Investor of the Year - Bijan Sabet, Partner, Spark Capital

Private Sector Company of the Year - Phase Forward

Public Sector Organization of the Year - WBUR

Innovative Company of the Year - WiTricity

Special thanks to our platinum sponsors included: Invest Northern Ireland, Microsoft New England Research & Development Center (NERD), PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ropes & Gray and SVB.

Read Mass High Tech's coverage, Past and Present Innovators Take Center Stage at MassTLC Awards.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

MassTLC and MassNetComms To Join Forces

We are excited to announce that MassTLC and MassNetComms will join forces to form the state's largest business association dedicated to driving innovation, fostering entrepreneurship and accelerating company growth across the technology sector.

The combined organization, which will operate under the MassTLC name, will bring over 500 companies under one tent including the world's top global technology brands, technology divisions of major corporations, venture capitalists, educational institutions and a breadth of service providers. The newly combined organization represents the entire technology landscape from deep infrastructure to end-user applications and from the technologist to the consumer.

Drawing upon the breadth of its membership, the organization provides insight into both established sectors and growing markets such as mobile, cloud computing, digital games, robotics, video and social media. The convergence we're seeing across the technology sector is creating opportunities for entrepreneurs as new markets are continuously emerging and evolving.

Our decision to join together and build scale in a single organization comes at an important moment in time. As a driver of innovation, the combined organization will contribute more significantly to economic recovery, regional prosperity, and the public debate at a time when technology is increasingly the solution for addressing our nation's priorities.

The combined Council will build upon the shared goals of each organization, including building a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem, investing in workforce development and talent retention, fostering a business climate that supports technology transfer and the growth of technology companies, promoting the technology sector for the purpose of attracting companies, investment, and talent to the region.

Company memberships in both organizations will continue in the newly combined MassTLC and members will see an increase in service as we integrate and combine programs and initiatives to better serve our members by:

- Strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem through an expanded set of innovative programs and initiatives both within the Council and in partnership with other local organizations;
- Supporting local technology companies through a wide range of networking events, best-practice forums, educational programs and other initiatives that foster business value and company growth;
- Promoting he Massachusetts technology sector with to entrepreneurs, investors, policy leaders, and executives for the purpose of attracting and retaining companies, investments, and talent;
- Heightening the presence of the technology economy within the state and influencing the public debate at all levels of government, and supporting workforce development;
- Connecting the Massachusetts community and providing access to important global leaders shaping our industry and the global community, as represented by such previous program participants as Mikhail Gorbachev, Alan Greenspan, Steve Ballmer and Eric Schmidt.

We are excited to come together and deliver greater value to both our memberships and the broader technology community.

To learn more about the combination, visit www.masstlc.org/massnetcomms.

Tom Hopcroft, President & CEO, MassTLC
Mark Horan, Executive Director, MassNetComms