Chair’s corner

 

Dear friends,

 

I am pleased to present you with the March issue of Israel Robotics News, the Israeli Robotics Association newsletter.

 

In this issue, we feature Friendly Robotics, the recipient of the 2013 Best Exporter Award, and Prof. Leo Joskowicz of Hebrew University, who is making strides in the field of medical robotics.  In addition, we present a summary of a successful workshop we held, entitled: “Innovation Meets Robotics”.  The workshop emphasized the need to encourage networking and the exchange of ideas between members of the robotics community. 

 

Since the publication of the previous issue in September 2014, a number of events have occurred that indicate the accelerated development of the field of robotics in Israel and worldwide:

  • Two robotics companies, Friendly Robotics and Maytronics, were awarded the Best Exporter Prize (2013)for the first time . Applied Materials, another member of the Israeli Robotics Association, , was honored as an outstanding multinational company. When three companies out of a total of eight prize winners are all in the field of automation and robotics, it can be seen as a significant achievement that indicates the great potential this field holds to strengthen the Israeli economy. Sincere congratulations to the winners.
  • Yaskawa built a state-of-the-art robotics center in Israel, to facilitate the application of robotics in the Israeli industry.
  • Boston Dynamics, owned by Google, has released a quadrupedal robot, powered by electric motors, that displays impressive mobility on difficult terrain. 
  • Persistent rumors tell of Apple entering the field of autonomous cars.

 

These events constitute a watershed for the development of robotics in Israel and worldwide.

 

Any attempt to predict market size in this field, based on prior experience, is destined to fail. When Foxconn, the manufacturer of Apple’s iPhones, intends to install one million(!) robots into its production lines over three years, of what consequence is previous experience when the stock of robots worldwide amounts to approximately 1.3 million units? However pretentious and unrealistic Foxconn's aspiration may be, it indicates a trend which is definitely not congruent with previous experience.

 

The impressive technological achievements of Boston Dynamics, rightfully considered the world's leading robotics company, offer a hint of the robots that will be developed in the near future for home use. Unlike the current robotic vacuum-cleaner, which is wheeled and hindered by the slightest obstacle, the home-use robot that will probably be developed by Boston Dynamics will be able to reach anywhere a homeowner can.  The development of a robot that has unlimited mobility in a home will cause the home robot market to skyrocket in an unprecedented manner.   

 

Apple's foray into the field of robotics is another significant breakthrough in the global development of robotics. Apple's domination of the personal computer market will help it become a major player in the field of robotic cars. The robotic car can be seen as an iPhone on wheels, and its connectivity can be seen as an advanced implementation of the “Internet of Things” (IoT).  The anticipated competition between the two giants, one (Google) commanding the technology, and the other (Apple) being the master of communication and user-friendly interfaces, is likely to result in products beyond imagination. We are, without a doubt, at the dawn of a new era in the robotics field, which will shape the technological revolution of the 21st century.

I sincerely hope that the apparent global awakening in the field of robotics will not pass the Israeli industry by.

 

I invite you to become members of the Association, and to take an active role in the advancement of the Israeli robotics industry. Our general meeting will take place at the end of May 2015, during which new board members will be elected and an Association activity plan for the coming year will be conceived.

 

To the continued growth of the Israeli robotics industry,

 

Sincerely,

 

Prof. Zvi Shiller, Chair

Israeli Robotics Association

shiller@irob.org.il

www.irob.org.il

 

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