Carnegie Mellon opens competitions aimed at building slick robots

Carnegie RoboBowl robot challenges will address healthcare, manufacturing, security realms

NSF robotics
With the goal of taking ideas for new robots off the drawing board and moving them into real-life situations, Carnegie Mellon University will host a series of competitions aimed at bringing new robotic technologies for manufacturing, healthcare and national security applications.

Carnegie calls the competitions "RoboBowls" and says they will feature next-generation robotics challenges "intended to find and foster start-up and early-stage companies seeking to develop 'big idea' products and services that address unmet and underserved market needs in targeted industrial sectors.  In doing so, the RoboBowl expects to help address the nation's need to create new jobs and viable businesses by catalyzing the adaptation and commercialization of emerging next-generation robotics technologies."

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According to the RoboBowl Web site, "competitions are expected to take place at various locations throughout the nation.  Each will be open to US-based start-up and early-stage businesses from across the country with an idea of how next-gen robotics technology can be used to develop and bring to market a compelling product or service that addresses unmet or underserved market needs in one of the targeted industry sectors; vis-a-vis teams seeking funding for an applied research and development project or for their really cool idea."

The first RoboBowl will take place in Pittsburgh on Oct. 13 and is focused on will focus on next-generation robotics systems covering all aspects of healthcare. Five finalists will each get $5,000 and an invitation to a final competitive round, the winner of which will take home an additional $20,000.

The competition will include

  • Surgical & Interventional Robotic Systems
  • Robotic Rehabilitation & Prosthetic Systems
  • Robotic Assistive & Wellness Systems (e.g. mobility, manipulation, social assistance aids)
  • Robotic Telemedicine Systems
  • Logistic & Operational Hospital Robotic Systems

According to Carnegie, teams will be judged by a panel of people who are experts in their fields: venture capitalists, private investors, and successful entrepreneurs. The business summaries of all semi-finalists will be published and made available to judges and sponsors. Teams who advance to the semi-finals will have an opportunity to present to a panel of judges and receive invaluable feedback. Finalists are also invited to attend the ensuing "Innovation Accelerator @ Carnegie Mellon" event being organized by the Innovation Accelerator, including an all-day workshop on National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding the following day.

RoboBowls will be co-sponsored by The Robotics Technology Consortium and the Innovation Accelerator group.   

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