Prepare Yourself: National Robotics Week Is Here

And check out the cool set of robot trading cards we created to celebrate

2 min read
Prepare Yourself: National Robotics Week Is Here

The fifth annual National Robotics Week event here in the U.S. will be held April 5-13, 2014. This is going to be the last time we remind you, we promise. It's an easy promise to make, because April 5 is like, tomorrow!

And this year we have something special for you: IEEE Spectrum teamed up with iRobot and Georgia Tech's Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines to create a cool set of robot trading cards (pictured above).

We modeled them after baseball cards, and each features a robot with "stats" and other info. Check out the 10 awesome robots we chose for this year's "team" (you can also download the set as a PDF and print all cards). If your favorite robot is not there, don't worry—we plan to make more cards next year.

And for even more robots (158, to be exact), don't forget about IEEE Spectrum's award-winning, internationally acclaimed Robots for iPad app, which you can get for FREE on iTunes.

National Robotics Week 2014 promises to be a blast, so get involved! Here are some highlights for this year, hot off the press release:

  • Robot Zoo, Cambridge, MA (April 19) – At this action-packed event, explore amazing robotics technology, demonstrations and activities from organizations throughout Massachusetts, the United States, and the World.
  • Xconomy Forum: Robo Madness 2014, Menlo Park, CA (April 10) – At Xconomy's third annual robotics forum—hosted by SRI International during National Robotics Week—industry experts will grapple with the social, economic, and entrepreneurial questions arising as the robotics revolution hits home. Among the impressive lineup of speakers is Paolo Pirjanian, chief technology officer at iRobot.
  • Silicon Valley Robot Block Party, Palo Alto, CA (April 9) – Hosted by Silicon Valley Robotics, see the most advanced robotics research in Silicon Valley, the hottest robot startups, the coolest robot companies and all the just plain fun robots you can imagine.
  • MSI Robot Block Party, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, IL (April 5-13) – The robots are coming (and they're here to help)! To celebrate National Robotics Week 2014, MSI will be demonstrating several different kinds of robots from the U.S. and around the world, offering lectures from some of the top university robotics scholars and presenting special workshops and hands-on activities.
  • Robotics Expo at the Smithsonian, Washington, DC (April 4-5) – The museum exhibits a number of robotics milestones, such as DARPA’s ARM robot, Robonaut 1, the MER Mars Rover model, and the Google Car, among many others. During this official National Robotics Week event, teams will demonstrate the projects they have created. Students from the Infamous Robotics Inventors Club will be demonstrating the robot they invented and designed.

Evan will be at both of those California events, and if you're there too, come say hi. Meanwhile, if you don't leave near any of these events, consider moving, and take a look at the other 220-odd events taking place across all 50 states.

The Conversation (0)

The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
Horizontal
A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof
DarkGray

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

Keep Reading ↓Show less