Robotics Business Review covers national and global developments in automation, but we also are a part of the local robotics scene in Massachusetts. At next week’s AIA Vision Show in Boston, we’ll be paying close attention to the Collaborative Robots Track. It will be an opportunity to see the latest developments in machine vision and how they affect cobot innovations.
The AIA Vision Show is put on by the AIA — Advancing Vision + Imaging, the global association for vision information. It’s part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), which also includes the Robotic Industries Association (RIA) and the Motion Control & Motor Association (MCMA). The organizations sponsor trade shows, include robotics integrators among their members, and are advocates for the industry.
From April 10 to 12, 2018, at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, the Vision Show will examine how machine vision has become essential to product safety, healthcare, entertainment, and robotics.
1. Keynote speakers
Helen Greiner, co-founder of iRobot Corp. and founder and chief technology officer (CTO) of CyPhy Works, is a local luminary. Not only has Greiner helped create the one household name in robots with iRobot’s Roomba vacuum cleaner, but she has also worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.
CyPhy Works makes PARC, the Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications tethered drone that has been used for public safety and communications. Among other events, PARC has been used to help secure the Boston Marathon.
Another keynote speaker will be Diego Prilusky, general manager at Intel Studios. He was previously a co-founder of Replay Technologies, a “pioneer in large-scale volumetric video capture for live sports.” Prilusky has worked on animation for feature films and has experience with creative direction, technical management, and business objectives.
2. Sessions on cobot innovations and manufacturing
Collaborative robots are no longer just research platforms; they are enabling small and midsize enterprises to stay competitive in global manufacturing and other markets. The Collaborative Robots Track at this year’s conference will be a good venue to learn more about new applications, cobot innovations, and case studies of how cobots are actually being used.
For starters, Gary Bartz, sales engineer at ARC Specialties Inc., will explain the difference between “Traditional vs. Collaborative Robots.” Todd Knauer, safety champion at Balluff, is scheduled to discuss how cobots connect to sensor networks and the emerging Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) as part of Industry 4.0 initiatives.
In addition, Howie Choset, CTO of the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute, will be in a session on “From Biologically Inspired Robots to Collaborative Manufacturing Systems.” There will also be sessions on advances in grippers, safety, and robots in healthcare — and that’s just on Day 1!
Other sessions of note around cobot innovations will feature Carl Vause, CEO of Soft Robotics; Tony Melanson, vice president of marketing at Aethon; and Mark Franks, director of the GMNA Vehicle Systems group at General Motors. Major robotics vendors including ABB, FANUC, Schunk, and Universal Robots will also be present.
3. Networking events
Every robotics event includes meal breaks and after-show meetups, but this year’s AIA Vision Show also includes a Networking Party at Jillian’s Lucky Strike. It’s a chance to hobnob with the vibrant Boston-area robotics community, which includes about 200 companies. (It’s also a chance to meet me!)
4. Exhibitors on the show floor
Many of the companies involved in the Collaborative Robots Track will also be exhibitors on the show floor. They’ll be joined by companies such as FLIR Systems Inc., Omron Microscan Systems, and Robotic Vision Technologies Inc.
“Hot Corner” sessions on the show floor will provide another opportunity for attendees to learn about cobot innovations, 3D sensing and imaging, and augmented reality. On Thursday, April 12, a startup competition in the Vision Show theater will give judges and attendees a glimpse at young machine vision and robotics companies.
Like the entire industry, the AIA Vision Show has been growing in the past few years, so this is a chance to see companies on the rise.
5. Meeting with suppliers and end users
Just as interesting to us as the conference program and show floor are the suppliers and end users of robotics, artificial intelligence, and unmanned systems who’ll be attending the Vision Show. We’ll be looking for news about machine vision and cobot innovations from developers to share with our readers.
The best way to understand how automation is evolving and being used is to talk with people out in the field, so I hope to see you at the show! If you can’t make it, watch Robotics Business Review next week for our coverage.