The Science Museum in London is organising the Robotville Festival, where 20 unique robots will be displayed, including FILOSE fish robot and the iCub robot. One of the projects taking centre stage during Robotics week is the European Clearing House for Open Robotics Development, or ECHORD.
ECHORD's unique approach brings together 53 universities and 80 industrial companies (including many SMEs and start-ups) to put the EU robotics industry in a global leadership position by improving the technology transfer between academia and industry. ECHORD's experiments include those geared towards joint enabling technologies (develop new robots, components, networks, etc.); others towards application development (use of robots and components in new areas and scenarios, such as using robots in agriculture); and others towards feasibility demonstration (showing that prototypes can actually be deployed in specific industrial settings which do not yet use robots).
The organisers said a lot will happen during this week: school visits with lectures on robotics, guided tours for pupils, open labs, exhibitions, challenges and robots in action on public squares. The participating companies, universities and research centres have come up with interesting programs to bring their robots and organisations to the attention of the public educating them on how robotics impacts society, both now and in the future.
The Maltese events are being organised in collaboration with the Department of Systems and Control Engineering of the University of Malta, the Malta College for Science and Technology (MCAST), the eLearning Centre in the Directorate for Quality and Standards in Education, and two private companies, namely Holistics Ltd and IMS Ltd providers of courses in Robotics and suppliers of LEGO Education Robotics sets respectively.
In Malta, the fourth edition of Robot Wars was held earlier this month at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta. Six teams of students took part in the event, in which they designed and built robots of the same size to wage war against each other. The robots were named Blitz, Jack, Killer Queen, Kink, Megahurtz and Pacman.
A considerable share of research in robotics in Europe is focused on medical and rehabilitation research, such as robotics surgery (see IP/11/1462) and patient rehabilitation, for example with stroke patients who need constant monitoring and regularly adjusted support.
Robotics is a thriving sector expected to create one million jobs worldwide in coming years, including in the Germany auto industry and Danish shipbuilding industry. In 2010 more than 118,000 industrial robots were sold worldwide – almost twice as many as in 2009. For 2011, 18% growth is forecast. In particular professional service robots are expected to enjoy sales increase of 60% by 2014. Robotics will help European manufacturing stay competitive against global competition.