Friday, February 26, 2010

Belniak on Social Media Listening

Alan Belniak, Director of Social Media Marketing at PTC, lead a very educational session on social media listening -- how to do it on your own using a host of free tools and services. Following Alan’s presentation the advisory board met to plan a summit in June focused on Advanced Listening. In addition, we are planning a tweet-up in the Waltham area on April 15th -- come join us for a fun night with Paul Gillin and Anne Handley from MarketingProfs. Lastly, Paul Gillin is going to give an overview of his upcoming book about B2B social media marketing at our next member roundtable on April 28th. Follow updates on the social media cluster and its upcoming programs on twitter at #masstlc and #cnolanmtlc.

post contributed by Christine Nolan, MassTLC

Friday, February 5, 2010

Local Robotics News

I've been collecting a bunch of local robotics announcements with an eye towards pulling together a post on all the great wins that have been happening in the sector. As I sat down to write up the post, I saw that MassHighTech had beat me to the punch. Check out their Robotics News page with following announcements.

Akamai CEO Sagan named to iRobot board - Paul Sagan, the CEO of Cambridge content delivery network firm Akamai Technologies Inc., has joined the board of iRobot Inc., the Bedford developer of consumer, industrial and military robots.

Greiner's CyPhy Works raises $1.8M in funding - CyPhy Works Inc. has landed $1.8 million in funding. The company, led by iRobot co-founder Helen Greiner, changed its name from the Droid Works in December.

Robots find niche in surgery, rehabilitation and drug development - Companies making machines that rehabilitate muscles with limited motion, perform surgery and help find new drugs are among the hottest in the robotics industry.

DARPA awards $32M for Boston Dynamics robot - Boston Dynamics Inc. reports it has landed $32 million from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop a Big Dog-like robot to carry supplies for U.S. Marines.

Cardiorobotics grabs $5M in VC financing - Cardiorobotics Inc., maker of the cardioARM, a snake-like, remote-controlled robotic probe intended to minimize incisions necessary for surgical procedures, has landed $5 million in venture capital.

Robotics startup Harvest Automation pulls in $4M tranche - Harvest Automation Inc. has raised a $4 millon tranche of a Series A round of funding. The financing round was led by Life Sciences Partners and MidPoint Food & AG fund LP.

iRobot co-founder wins funds to inspect bridges, renames robotics startup - CyPhy Works Inc., the company formerly known as The Droid Works and founded by iRobot Corp. co-founder Helen Greiner, has landed a $2.4 million research award from the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Surgical robots await medical, investment acceptance - The remotely controlled, robot-assisted surgery technology pie is a promising one. Yet, for Massachusetts investors, scientists and doctors, a number of obstacles are blocking them from a hefty slice.

Corindus raises $4.7M in equity funds - Vascular robotic systems developer Corindus Inc. has pulled in $4.68 million of a planned $10 million equity financing. The Natick-based company designs, develops and markets remote control systems for cardiology operations.

MHT All-Star Rodney Brooks: Roots of an industry - Rodney Brooks, CTO of Heartland Robotics Inc. and co-founder of iRobot Corp., won the Mass High Tech All-Star Distinguished Achievement award for 2009. Read about how Brooks' first robot he built at the age of 16 eventually turned into a career centered around that technology.

Loofbourrow to head up iRobot senior health unit - IRobot Corp. today announced a new business unit focused on utilizing robotics for senior citizen healthcare, and named Authoria Inc. founder and former CEO Tod Loofbourrow as president of the new group.

Artaic founder and CEO Acworth doubles in paranormal investigating - Boston entrepreneur Ted Acworth has never really held a job you could call “normal.” His current company, Artaic LLC, does robot-made mosaic installations and counts two Boston hospitals among its growing list of customers. With his work at Artaic growing more intense, Acworth has had to drop a sideline as a UFO investigator, though he's picked up work as a ghost hunter.

WPI robotics team wins NASA lunar excavation contest - A team from Worcester Polytechnic Institute — Paul’s Robotics, led by WPI undergraduate robotics engineering major Paul Ventimiglia — has won the $500,000 grand prize from a NASA lunar excavation robotics contest, the 2009 Regolith (moondust) Excavation Challenge, in California.

Ahura Scientific, QinetiQ deal brings spectrometry to robots - Ahura Scientific Inc. reports it has partnered with QinetiQ North America’s Technology Solutions Group to add Ahura’s spectrometry technology to QinetiQ’s Talon robots. Under terms of the agreement, the companies will add a compact, laboratory-grade Raman spectrometer to Talon military robots.

Born in the Recession: Change, efficiency and messaging drove iRobot's downturn survival - Bedford-based iRobot Corp. was founded in Somerville in 1990, just in time for an economic downturn that would last the next couple of years. Today, iRobot is a profitable public company known for making robots that vacuum floors and help soldiers disarm bombs.

Robonica aims to shift former board game hub to robotic games - It’s been nearly two decades since the North Shore was churning out Monopoly and other Parker Brothers board games, but a new Beverly company, Robonica, hopes to revive that legacy by mixing traditional game play with emerging robotics technology.

Heartland Robotics' $12M funding fuels hiring spree - Heartland Robotics Inc., the manufacturing-focused robotics company founded by iRobot Corp. (Nasdaq: IRBT) co-founder Rodney Brooks, has taken in $12 million from three investors, and is aggressively hiring engineers, the Cambridge-based startup announced.

Spare robot parts for Army net iRobot $6.1M - IRobot Corp. reports it has landed $6.1 million from the U.S. Army for spare parts for robots. Under the deal, from the Army’s Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation, iRobot will deliver spare parts for its PackBot robot.

IRobot, Vecna awarded slice of $3.6M robotics grants - The Robotics Technology Consortium has given out $3.6 million to a group of robotics companies including local firms iRobot Corp. and Vecna Technologies Inc.

Bluefin Robotics moves HQ to Quincy - Underwater robotics company Bluefin Robotics Corp. will move its Bay State headquarters from Cambridge to Quincy with the signing of a 53,000-square-foot lease in the Quincy Shipyard.

IRobot receives $35M PackBot order - In what appears to be the 12th order under a $286 million indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity xBot contract, iRobot Corp. announced today a $35.3 million order from the U.S. Army TACOM Contracting Center in Warren, Mich.

IWalk lands $20M to develop robotic prosthetic ankle - Cambridge-based iWalk Inc. has received $20 million of a $21 million Series B round to fund development of a self-contained robotic prosthetic ankle, with funding coming from Cambridge-based General Catalyst Partners and New York-based WFD Ventures LLC.

Amazon’s Bezos backs Brooks and Heartland Robotics - Heartland Robotics Inc. has closed a Series A round of equity financing worth $7 million, backed by Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos, federal regulatory documents indicate.

PackBot contract nets iRobot another $5M - Following on the heels of a $13.5 million deal with the Navy earlier this week, iRobot Corp. has landed $5.1 million from the U.S. Army for its PackBot robot. Under the order, the eleventh under a $286 million indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity xBot contract

PackBot deal nets iRobot $13.5M - Bedford-based iRobot Corp. has landed $13.5 million from the U.S. Navy for its PackBot robots, which enable soldiers to identify and disable explosives from a safe distance.

Cardiorobotics lands $11.6M in VC - Cardiorobotics Inc. has taken in $11.6 million in a Series A venture capital funding round, led by Eagle Ventures of Pittsburgh. The funding also saw participation from the Slater Technology Fund, a previous backer, according to the Rhode Island-based Slater.

Grant propels flying robot service net - A local R&D engineering firm and a Georgia university are teaming up to help unmanned, flying military robots relaunch quicker and more efficiently by using a flying net to catch and power up the autonomous vehicles.

Emerging Technologies: Five emerging sectors offer promise with new technologies - While the economic downturn has battered businesses across the region, progress continues at companies that are developing several categories of emerging technologies. With the concentration of universities and research institutions and frequent backing from the local venture community, many small companies and startups are moving ahead with plans to commercialize or refine a variety of innovative technologies, from medical robotics to location-based applications.

Stealthy North End Technologies gets $1.2M in bridge funding - Robotics and communications startup North End Technologies Inc. has taken on board $1.2 million in funding to help the company reach its next stage of investment, a planned $8 million Series B round.

Stealthy Droid Works lands $100K NSF grant - The National Science Foundation has awarded a $99,865 grant to The Droid Works Inc., the stealthy robotics firm headed by Helen Grenier, co-founding director at Bedford-based iRobot Corp. The funding will go toward the development of an “indoor/outdoor robotic air vehicle for emergency response.”

Interactivity and networking tech aid seniors - Networking and device technologies can allow the elderly to be self sufficient while permitting some monitoring and interaction with health-care professionals or family. The applications are vast in potential and take the form of virtual pets (think DigiPets for older folks) or web-based touchscreens.

Inside Product Design & Development: iRobot splits product market between consumers and defense - Bedford-based iRobot straddles the consumer market — where it is best known for the Roomba floor cleaner — and the government and industrial markets, with applications as advanced as combat surveillance and bomb disposal.

Energid digs up deal with Seabed Rig - Energid Technologies Corp. reports it has licensed technology to Seabed Rig AS, and will create a robot control system for Seabed’s automated drilling and exploration platforms.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Measuring Social Media Campaigns

MassTLC's Social Media Cluster hosted a breakfast seminar featuring Katie Paine, "the queen of PR measurement" and author of Measuring Public Relationships. Katie knows PR, but more importantly she knows how PR relates to the goals of the business. She reminded us all that the most important reason to measure is to know what's working and what's not. She also shared a cool gadget that shows how fast different facets of social media are growing.

View Katie's presentation and follow #measurepr on twitter. We were also fortunate to hear Ros Morville from Constant Contact and Matt Champion from the British Consulate share how they are measuring social media. Both can be followed on twitter @rosmorville and @ukinboston. What's next for the cluster? Members should join our roundtable discussion on February 26th on listening platforms.

More info on the events section of our website or follow @masstlc and #masstlc on twitter.