The summit brought together university professors, students and industry to learn about innovative and diverse research happening in our Boston Robotics Hub. Tom Hopcroft, President and CEO of MassTLC, kicked off the summit speaking about the “Massachusetts Robotics Revolution”, the diverse robotics areas ranging from consumer, agriculture, education, and entertainment to industrial, medical, marine, military/defense, public safety and transportation. He stated that Massachusetts and New England are the “Epicenter of Robotics R&D” and cited The Massachusetts Robotics Revolution Report’s listing of 17 academic institutions with ties to robotics research as well as 150+ companies touting ties to the robotics industry.
Top robotics research presenters represented Boston University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Northeastern University, Tufts University, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Steve Kelly, president and COO of Myomo and Mass TLC Robotics cluster Co-chair, introduced the speakers, telling humorous robotics jokes! The research presentations were bookended by two engaging panels.
Discussion with Industry Thought Leaders – panelists discussed their views and needs for robotics in the future:
- Tony Lennon from MathWorks spoke about a futuristic “Smart Factory” and industrial automation
- Lt Col Andrew Platt from the Massachusetts National Guard spoke about the military’s robotics needs in the area of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance
- Dr. Joseph Coughlin, Director MIT’s AgeLab, talked of the future of robotics for our ageing population
Rachel Emsley, intellectual property attorney at Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, presented information on intellectual property rights, patentable vs. non patentable inventions, and patent challenges for robotics companies. She assembled a panel representing 4 diverse companies to get their opinions, stories and recommendations on intellectual property protection. There was no lack of audience participation and questions on this topic!
Intellectual Property Protection Discussion Panel:
- Ted Acworth, Founder & CEO, Artaic Innovative Mosaic
- Andrew Hoffman, Principal Software Architect, Kiva Systems
- Tom Ryden, Co-founder & COO, VGo Communications
- Glen Weinstein, EVP & Chief Legal Officer, iRobot Corporation
Students from several of the universities were at the summit showing off their projects and sponsor companies showed their products and discussed their programs during the breaks.
The summit concluded with a sponsor/student lunch and Kiva Systems, MathWorks and Boston Engineering spoke with students interested in employment.
Thank you to all of our speakers. Thank you to our supporting organization, the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center, and to Microsoft NERD for providing a wonderful venue!
And THANK YOU to our event sponsors: Aldebaran, Boston Engineering, The Boston Globe, DecisionOne, Finnegan, First, Kiva Systems and MathWorks.