If it were up to us, robotics would be a top priority for the United States Government. A top priority. Unfortunately for us (and fortunately for everyone else) we are most definitely not in charge of those sorts of policy decisions. It's always nice, however, when people who do have a little bit of pull get interested in robotics, and on Friday, the Obama Administration will be discussing the National Robotics Initiative with a bunch of robocelebrities on a Google+ Hangout.
If you tune in on Friday, here's who you'll get to see chatting about "the state of American robotics and the possibilities for robots to improve life on Earth," or more specifically, "how robots can help transform everything from school classrooms to the factory floor and operating rooms to the way we explore the Solar System," or even more specifically, "how the Obama Administration’s National Robotics Initiative is accelerating innovations that will expand the horizons of human capacity and potentially add over $100 billion to the American economy in the next decade."
- Rodney Brooks, president, Rethink Robotics, with humanoid robot Baxter
- Daniela Rus, director of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
- Matt Mason, director of the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University
- Robin Murphy, director of the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue at Texas A&M University
- Allison Okamura, principal investigator at the Collaborative Haptics and Robotics in Medicine Lab, Stanford University
Pretty awesome mix of people, right? And if you're lucky, they might even answer one of the questions that you ask on Twitter or Google+. Check it out here, starting this Friday at 2 p.m. EST.
To prep you for this presidential event, here's some historical footage of Mr. Obama getting up close and personal with some robots:
[ National Robotics Engineering Center at CMU ]
[ Sphero ]
And of course, the classic:
[ The White House ]
Evan Ackerman is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Since 2007, he has written over 6,000 articles on robotics and technology. He has a degree in Martian geology and is excellent at playing bagpipes.