National Robotics Week occurs annually on the second week of April to recognize robotics technology as a pillar of 21st century American innovation. The week’s aim is to highlight the growing importance of robotics in a wide variety of application areas and to emphasize its ability to inspire students while building their interest in technology and innovation.
From Palo Alto to the National Mall in Washington to Boston, events being held throughout the week will feature dozens of opportunities for the public to interact with robots in a hands-on learning environment. Panel discussions, robotics competitions, introductory courses on robotics for kids, educational workshops for businesses, demos and tours of innovative labs will provide networking opportunities and expose many to the genius and wonder of robotics.
National Robotics Week is a product of an effort by leading universities and companies to create a “national roadmap” for robotics technology. The program was initially unveiled at a May 2009 briefing by academic and industry leaders to the Congressional Caucus on Robotics. U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-14), co-chair of the caucus, and other members submitted a formal resolution (H.Res. 1055) that Congress passed on March 9, 2010 to support the designation of the second full week in April as National Robotics Week.
“Now in its second year, National Robotics Week continues to be a tremendous success in educating the public on how robotics impacts society, both now and in the future,” said Rep. Doyle. “Robotics provides an exciting, hands-on way for students to learn science, technology, engineering and math subjects, and the industry is poised to create many high-tech jobs in the U.S. in areas ranging from manufacturing to healthcare.”
The current effort is being coordinated by a National Robotics Week Advisory Council, organized by iRobot Corp. (IRBT) and The Technology Collaborative, a Pittsburgh-based non-profit economic development organization, along with a number of other companies, universities and organizations, including: Adept Technology (ADEP); the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI); AUVSI Foundation; Carnegie Mellon University; Carnegie Science Center of Pittsburgh; FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology); Infamous Robotics; Innovation First International; Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council; Museum of Science, Boston; Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago; Robotic Industries Association (RIA); The Tech Museum in Silicon Valley; and Stanford University.
Robotics technology is expected to fuel a broad array of next-generation products and applications in fields as diverse as manufacturing, healthcare, national defense and security, agriculture and transportation. At the same time, robotics is proving to be uniquely adept at enabling students of all ages to learn important science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts and at inspiring them to pursue careers in STEM-related fields.
“Robotics is rapidly proving to be one of the most effective, compelling and engaging means for teaching and reinforcing fundamental STEM concepts,” said Colin Angle, chairman and chief executive officer of iRobot. “National Robotics Week plays a key role engaging students in science and technology, and has emerged as an important platform to highlight the growing importance of robotics. iRobot is extremely proud to be a part of this important initiative through our SPARK program.”
For a full listing of National Robotics Week events around the country and an extensive inventory of robotics-related resources and information, visit www.nationalroboticsweek.org or on Twitter (@roboweek or #roboweek) and Facebook (facebook.com/roboweek).