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    ICRA 2007


    International Conference on Robotics & Automation 2007
    In April this year I got the opportunity to go to Rome and participate in my first robotics conference, ICRA 2007. Held at Angelicum University and S. Pietro School of Engineering, the conference brings people from around the world to present and share their robotics research. Since a typical robotics conference admission cost is from $500-$1000 per person, I figure most hobbyists will never get the opportunity to see one. I will do my best to convey this experience for my readers =)

    ICRA Cocktail Party

    ICRA is the biggest of the robotics conferences, drawing the largest number of submitted papers and participants. If I remember correctly, they received 1800 paper submissions and had almost 2000 participants.

    This was a work related trip as I was presenting my groups research on the Design of a Biomimetic Controlled-Curvature Robotic Pectoral Fin.

    In all, there was over 700 presentations given during the conference - I think about 12 at a time held simultaneously. Each presentation was ~15 minutes long plus 5 minutes for setup and questions, allowing those interested to see a quick summary of the papers accepted by ICRA. Since the theme for this year was the all encompassing 'ubiquitous robots' (all types of robots), there were categories ranging from biomimetics, space robots, underwater robotics, walking robots, flying robots, colony robots, computer vision, sensors, and the list went on . . .

    There were also three major panels held where big names discussed various issues within robotics. For example, perhaps the most riveting (look, I used a big word!) of them was the talk about Microsoft and its Robotics Studio platform.

    As we all know, Bill says that robotics software is like PC software of 20 years ago and all it needs is Microsoft to bring it all together. Various people came up to discuss this and I think the conference panel generally decided that robotics matches closer to the electronics industry, where everything is very much cost driven so its better to have an OS that's built for the application and not a one-size-fits-all approach.

    Robot Demos
    During the conference various companies and several individuals demo'd their robots. Most of the big companies were there, such as Microsoft, Mobile Robotics, etc.

    This was a cute coffee-making robot that wandered around . . . but like most robots being shown to the public there was an 'incident' where it autonomously rammed into a flyer stand . . .

    ICRA Coffee Robot

    There were several more robots that wandered around, although the one by Mobile Robotics apparently can see invisible people . . .

    A quad rotor demo'd at ICRA by a participant:

    And another robot:

    6 wheeled robot at ICRA

    Continue to Part II >>>

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