It’s time to celebrate! This is the first annual National Robotics Week in the US. From April 10th through the 18th there will be events across the country demonstrating the nation’s prominence in the robotics industry as well as encouraging students to join the field. RoboCup is having its US Open tournament in Maine, Botfest is underway in Massachusetts, Botball tournaments are gearing up in California, and many more exhibitions are scheduled including dozens of open houses in top robotic research institutions all over the US. You can see a full list of NRW events on their calendar or even announce robotic events in your own area. Don’t miss the opportunity, folks, National Robotics Week comes just once a year!
NRW is sponsored by iRobot, FIRST, Adept Technology, MIT, Stanford, UPenn, Carnegie Melon, and dozens of other universities and institutions. It was only recently signed into law in March of this year, but developers have really done their best to get it up to speed quickly. Besides the events, NRW also provides learning tools via their website to encourage students to take an active interest in robotics. These tools include iRobot’s SPARK and WebQuest, as well as online scavenger hunts for high school and middle school students.
According to the website, the purpose of National Robotics Week is to:
- Celebrate the US as a leader in robotics technology development
- Educate the public about how robotics technology impacts society, both now and in the future
- Advocate for increased funding for robotics technology research and development
- Inspire students of all ages to pursue careers in robotics and other Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math-related fields
For those looking towards the Singularity, these goals represent real ways in which the holiday could affect how technology accelerates in the near future. NRW has the potential to take US culture, which already is fairly interested in robotics, and excite it towards investment; not just financially, but personally. A growing base of students with interest and expertise in robotics will be necessary as we try to build the next generation in amazing technology. So go out and celebrate. In whatever wacky way you deem best.
[image credits: National Robotics Week]
[source: National Robotics Week]