LAS VEGAS – Amazon, one of the leading influential companies shaping the robotics industry, will hold its inaugural re:MARS event beginning tonight, gathering the top minds in robotics, automation, machine learning, and space exploration.
With more than 100 sessions, keynotes, spotlights, and interactive workshops, the three-and-a-half day event at the ARIA resort and casino will feature discussions on the latest robotics trends and innovations.
Robotics Business Review will be attending the event as an invited media participant, with scheduled interviews set with many of the event’s speakers and keynoters. We also plan on visiting the event’s Tech Showcase, meeting with other robotics companies showcasing their latest products and services.
Here’s a quick look at what we’re excited about:
Tonight’s mainstage opening keynote will feature Boston Dynamics’ CEO Marc Raibert, Morgan Pope and Tony Dohi from Walt Disney Imagineering, and a special celebrity talk by producer and actor Robert Downey, Jr. I plan on totally geeking out if anything resembling an Iron Man suit comes out.
For the other days, I’m looking forward from hearing from Colin Angle, CEO and founder of iRobot, about his vision for home automation and the latest robots from the leader in consumer robotics (plus a demonstration of the coming-soon Terra robot lawn mower). In addition, Tom Soderstrom, IT Chief Technology and Innovation Officer for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, always puts on a great presentation about the latest goings-on in space and robotics.
In addition, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos will have a “fireside chat” at the show, so I’m looking forward to seeing what could possibly be coming next from Amazon.
Interviews with Amazon officials
During the event, we have at least two meetings scheduled with Amazon executives to learn more about some of the work they’re doing – Tye Brady, head of Amazon Robotics, and Roger Barga, general manager of robotics and autonomous services at Amazon Web Services. It will be good to catch up with them to discuss some of their latest initiatives, and also to meet with other Amazon officials around the show floor.
Meeting with robotics companies
The best part of any robotics show is seeing new robots in action, and the Amazon event promises to include several robotics companies with new offerings.
We’ve already met with personal robot maker temi, but at the re:MARS event I’ll see a demonstration of how they’ve integrated Alexa voice commands into the system. The robot includes the ability for customers to play music, check the weather, control smart home devices and access tens of thousands of Alexa skills, just by accessing the robot.
“The Alexa implementation we will be showing at re:MARS is only the first phase,” said Yossi Wolf, CEO and Founder of temi. “We’re excited to continue working with Amazon to add new functionality that will allow users to access full control of temi’s navigation system simply by using Alexa voice commands.”
The company is currently selling the robot for $1,999 on its website, but soon plans to open an Amazon store as well.
Another company I’m looking forward to meeting with is Shadow Robot Company, which plans to give live demonstrations of the “world’s first touch-transmitting telerobot hand,” a collaboration between Shadow Robot, ANA Holdings, HaptX, and SynTouch (see video, above). The system will feature the first robotic hand that can “successfully transmit touch sensations” to a remote tele-operator. The combination of the robotic hand with SynTouch’s biomimetic tactile sensors and HaptX’s realistic haptic gloves gives extreme precision for the remote control, the companies said.
“In recent tests, a human operator in California was able to operate a computer keyboard in London, with each keystroke detected through fingertip sensors on their glove and faithfully relayed 5,000 miles to the Dexterous Hand to recreate,” Shadow Company said in a statement. Examples of use cases for future applications include bomb disposal, deep-sea engineering, or even surgery performed across long distances.
Breakout sessions around specific types of robotics
In addition to keynotes, I’m hoping to attend some breakout sessions at the event, including getting an update on Prime Air drone delivery, learning more about the Robots in Service of the Environment, and discovering what the future of robotics holds in 2030 (I’m wondering if it’s similar to our own “Robots in 2025” session scheduled for RoboBusiness 2019).