White House to Host Robotics Hangout on Friday

Does this mean that robots have finally taken over the government?

2 min read
White House to Host Robotics Hangout on Friday

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."

The Hangout will be moderated by Vijay Kumar, assistant director for robotics and cyberphysical systems, and Tom Kalil, deputy director for technology and innovation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and will feature a panel of these leading experts:
  • 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 ]

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

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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

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?

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