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The First U.S. National Robotics Week

April 13, 2010 | Posted by Microsoft Research Blog

This week sees the celebration of the first National Robotics Week in the US.


Being one of the early advocates for Microsoft’s activities in robotics since late 2003, and as Microsoft Research’s representative (with Tandy Trower for Microsoft Robotics) in the Computing Community Consortium’s (CCC) efforts to create a “national road-map” for robotics technology, I’m thrilled to see the great momentum in both research and commercial robotics in the US and beyond. All of us at Microsoft Research wish great success to the participants and partners involved in the multitude of events across the country.


From the National Robotics Week “About” page:

National Robotics Week recognizes robotics technology as a pillar of 21st century American innovation, highlights its growing importance in a wide variety of application areas, and emphasizes its ability to inspire technology education. Robotics is positioned to fuel a broad array of next-generation products and applications in fields as diverse as manufacturing, health-care, national defense and security, agriculture and transportation. At the same time, robotics is proving to be uniquely adept at enabling students of all ages to learn important science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts and at inspiring them to pursue careers in STEM-related fields. During National Robotics Week, a week-long series of events and activities is aimed at increasing public awareness of the growing importance of “robo-technology” and the tremendous social and cultural impact that it will have on the future of the United States.

National Robotics Week is a product of a 2009 effort by leading universities and companies to create a “national road-map” for robotics technology, which was initially unveiled at a May 2009 briefing by academic and industry leaders to the Congressional Caucus on Robotics. U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-14), co-chair of the Caucus, and other members have submitted a formal resolution asking Congress to support the designation of the second full week in April as National Robotics Week.



An IPRE personal robot used to help learn computer science 


Some resources for those looking at Microsoft’s robotics and related activities:


Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio – a Windows-based environment for academic, hobbyist, and commercial developers to easily create robotics applications across a wide variety of hardware.

Human Robot Interaction Project Awards – a program of recent Microsoft Research academic collaborations to focus attention on the paradigm shift from “robots as tools” to “social robots”.

Situated Interaction – some of our ongoing in-house research related to social robotics and advanced “natural” human-computer interaction.

Institute For Personal Robots in Education (IPRE) – co-founded between Georgia Tech, Bryn Mawr College and Microsoft Research in 2006, IPRE applies and evaluates personal robots as a compelling context for computer science education and is now supported by NSF (National Science Foundation).

Computer Science Education Week (December 6-12, 2009) – an analogous and technically-related week of celebration and activities for aspiring computer scientists.


Stewart Tansley, senior research program manager, Computer Science, Microsoft External Research