The 7th European Robotics Week (ERW2017) takes place between 17 and 26 November 2017 across Europe. The ERW2017 is expected to include over 1000 local events open to the public. There will be open days at factories and research laboratories, hackathons, robot classes and workshops, robot competitions and even robots visiting schools across Europe.
The central event takes place in Brussels, Belgium on 20-23 November 2017. It is a multi-track event aiming to inspire regions to take on board the positive contribution robotics can bring to our society and geared towards aspiring the younger generations to follow an education in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM). The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) is hosting an exhibition featuring robots developed under EU research projects. The European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip, in charge of the Digital Single Market, highlights the importance of robotics and artificial intelligence for Europe in his latest blog post .
This year's themes
This year the European Robotics Week’s central event focuses on the importance of robotics in healthcare, education, environment, and international cooperation. Each of the thematic sessions will be home to a number of EU funded projects in the field of robotics.
The exhibition – day by day
Healthcare - 20 November
Robotics technology is already in use in the healthcare sector and is saving the lives of European citizens every day. The European Commission is funding some great projects which explore the further use of robotics for the healthcare sector. One of these projects is MURAB, which develops an autonomous robotic device to drastically improve precision and effectiveness of the biopsy for cancer diagnostic operations. The Endoo project is set to make a huge difference saving people with colon cancer (65 000 lives at stake in Europe every year) by developing an active colonoscopy platform for robotic guidance of a painless, innovative, smart, and soft-tethered device. These projects will be exhibited in Brussels together with the CYBERLEGs Plus Plus project, which develops new exoskeleton technologies. Further great EU funded healthcare robotics projects, which will not be presented in Brussels, are NEBIAS, which develops the most advanced bionic hand and SMARTsurg, which works on improving robot-assisted minimally invasive surgeries.
Education - 21 November
Another field where robotics technology brings up great innovations is education. The RockEU2 project will present the European Robotics League at the exhibition. This open competition allows researchers to test their robots' abilities in real-world situations. The DE-Enigma project aims to revolutionise autism therapy by offering adaptive robot-mediated learning. Their developed robot will be able to process children’s motions, vocalisations, and facial expressions, and engage and play with the child. Not in Brussels will be the EASEL project, which has developed a robot that can assist teachers and may complement them in the classroom for certain tasks. Their robot will be able to read, respond to the behaviour and emotional state of the learner and adapt its responses.
Environment - 22 November
The use of robots for environmental purposes can be seen with two underwater projects. The CoCoRo project is creating a swarm of interacting, cognitive, autonomous robots. The swarm of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) are able to interact with each other in order to achieve environmental monitoring, search and exploration of underwater habitats. The DexROV project is also creating underwater robots. While being operated from Belgium, their underwater robots can be used for the maintenance of underwater infrastructures. Other use of robotics in environmental settings can be in sustainable farming (Flourish and PANtHEOn projects).
International cooperation / Digital Innovation hubs - 23 November
International cooperation is important for new developments in robotics. The ECHORD++ project funds small-scale research projects called experiments with a maximum duration of 18 months. One of them is the HyQ-Real project which develops the most versatile quadruped robot. Another example is the SHERPA project which aims to develop a mixed ground and aerial robotic platform to support search and rescue activities in a real-world hostile environment like the alpine scenario. Further international cooperation examples of robotics projects are ReconCell and HORSE.
About the European Robotics Week
The European Robotics Week is organised by SPARC, the Public-Private Partnership for Robotics in Europe. It takes place at the end of November every year and each year several hundred labs, schools, museums and companies all over Europe open the doors to the public. In Spain alone there are already around 200 events this year. Each year there are new countries signing up to the ERW, even from outside the European Union (EU). All events are free of charge, but many require that you register as the number of places may be limited. Please have a look at the map to see if there is anything going on near you.
The opening reception on 21 November 2017 at 18:00 at the CoR event in Brussels will have robot talks and music by the largest robotics orchestra in the world, Logos.