Updated Robotics Hackathon Info

Amazing response to the cloud robotics hackathon! Citrix will keep the space open all weekend for teams to use as a base. Today, Feb 18, is the deadline to register your team for a Rover kit project. After today it’s BYO robots only.

Teams are expected to be 4-6 people (no maximum). We will pitch/post all the projects at the opening and give people without teams a chance to find teams looking for people. ūüôā

  • Registration/Team formation between 2-3pm Friday 2nd March
  • Opening Speakers (via hookup) 3-4pm
  • Q&A time (tbd)
  • Start working or mixer till 6pm

Citrix will stay open for teams over the weekend or you can arrange to work on your own. Details tbd.

  • 1pm Sunday – deadline for online demo submission
  • 2pm Sunday – presentations, judging, awards

* If you want to fly solo please contact Robotics Hackathon central directly to register. (We are only doing the Silicon Valley hackathon and the Rovers are being shipped straight to Citrix.)


Robotics Hackathon Launch Party

Are you a Bay Area robotics hackathon team or just interested in robot startups?

Join us at the Citrix Startup Accelerator for the launch of the Robotics Hackathon. The Robotics Hackathon is sponsored by RobotShop.com and Google. While the main hackathon is taking place in Montreal, the event is open to teams from all over the world. Cloud robotics is the future! So, we thought that a great way to launch ROBOT LaunchPad events would be to invite local Bay Area Robotics Hackathon teams to an opening party in Santa Clara from 2 Р6 PT on Friday March 2nd to coincide with the hackathon launch in Montreal [6pm ET]. INVITE to Santa Clara Launch Party here.

The Robotics Hackathon is going to be heaps of fun and you don’t need to be a robot scientist to join us!¬†See the main Robotics Hackathon site for all the rules and requirements.¬†Register your team by February 18 to receive a free DFRobotshop Rover.

We also plan to host the closing event and pitch submissions at the Accelerator.¬†If there’s enough interest the venue may be open all weekend, however Bay Area teams may prefer to work closer to their homes, use the Google Hackathon Hangout and simply join us for start and finish of the Hackathon.

ROBOT LaunchPad is a robotics startup community and events. We thought a fantastic first event would be to host a launch party in Santa Clara for Bay Area Robotics Hackathon teams. Sign up for our newsletter for more ROBOT LaunchPad events coming soon, including pitchfests and startup weekends.

Bay Area Robotics Hackathon Launch Party hosted by ROBOT LaunchPad and Citrix Startup Accelerator

Turning Robots into Products

For up to date information about the business of robotics you can’t go past the Robots Podcast from EPFL Switzerland. Every 2 weeks, Robots will take you for a ride through the world‚Äôs research labs, robotics companies and their latest innovations.

In¬†Robots Podcast episode #93, Sabine interviews Erin Rapacki, who previously worked at¬†DEKA,¬†iRobot, and¬†Anybots, and is currently Product Marketing Manager for¬†Mobile Robots at Adept Technology. In the interview, she argues that robotics research should be more driven by real-world problems in need of marketable solutions, and that they should take advantage of available platforms, such as those available from Adept, rather than continually reinventing the mobility aspect of their projects. She also discusses the prospects for cloud robotics and states that many of the missing pieces roboticists have been waiting on have arrived, mentioning faster processors, tablet computers, and the¬†Kinect. Ms. Rapacki recently authored a¬†guest post on the IEEE Spectrum Automaton blog, titled “Dear Reader, I Have News for You: Robots Are Boring” in which she states:

What we need from robotics companies and roboticists everywhere are more boring robots: Robots that would be most appreciated when they complete a task in a manner that is smooth and economical; robots that investors and companies can trust building business models around.

As you might surmise from this snippet, “boring”, as she uses it in that post, means approximately the same thing as the FDA’s “safe and effective”. And while it might sound like doublespeak, in most circumstances boring is good.
Read On or Tune In

Thoughts on winning startup competitions

There is a great post at VentureBeat about Ahmed Siddiqui’s extensive experience of startup competitions; winning, not winning, and running them.

How to win a tech conference startup competition | VentureBeat.

.. I have come to the realization that certain types of startup concepts always do well, while others just don‚Äôt…¬†The key thing to consider is that these are tech conferences, so you should have something inherently ‚Äútechie.‚Ä̬† The majority of the audience members are engineers, or else marketing and sales professionals pretending to be engineers.

Ahmed suggests that three types of startup are usually successful; programming made easy, mashups, and fancy algorithms. He also found that areas like health and education were not popular although that may be changing. In that case, the new trend towards having different verticals at startup events may make developing startups for industries like health more appealing. We all know there is a huge market for health related products, but when you are competing for attention against a slick race car addon, a sweet fashion shopping tool and new social or (unsocial) network…

Lean Startup Methodology For Robotics

The NY Times recently connected lean startup methodology with robotics in a great article by Steve Lohr, Dec 5 2011. One example was Stanford engineering graduate Lee Redden’s Blue River Technology, a¬†Sunnyvale robotics company¬†developing a robotic weed killer for organic farms. While Redden’s startup might develop new hardware, these days a lot of the hardware has been built. What’s missing are new business cases to extend the reach of small robotic startups and existing robotic industries. Robotics is ready for a revolution.

Ramin Rahimian for The New York Times | IN THE LAB From left, Fred Ford, Jorge Heraud and Lee Redden worked on the prototype of a farming robot. |By  |Published: December 5, 2011

The start-up here points to the latest stage of evolution in Silicon Valley, the world’s epicenter of innovation. Over the years, the region has shown an unmatched economic dexterity in jumping from one industry of opportunity to another, from military electronics to silicon wafers to personal computers to the Internet. But the business of the Valley today is less about focusing on a particular industry than it is about a continuous process of innovation with technology, across a widening swath of fields. Continue reading

What is ROBOT launchpad?

How many robot businesses can we make in one weekend?

JUST ADD ROBOTS to a roomful of entrepreneurs

in search of a WINNING STARTUP IDEA!

The ROBOT launchpad connects startup and robotics communities. We take the successful startup weekend and boot camp model to launch existing hardware (robots) into new business ideas. As robotics technology becomes more affordable and widespread, the search is on for the next generation of robot businesses – robots that fulfil consumer or small to medium size enterprise needs.

The robots are ready. Are you?

Real Robot

Each ‚Äėrobot launchpad‚Äô uses real robots, robot platforms or robot hardware ready for new business models. It’s not about building robots so much as building businesses around them.

One Weekend

We know you’re busy. But youcan pull amazing startup ideas together in 48 hours and still have a blast! We’re also doing shorter intense events like a pitchfest and meetup.

Roomful of Entrepreneurs

Are you business focussed but love robots? Are you a robot geek who wants to learn how startups work? Or are you a developer or designer from the areas of mobile devices, software, web and internet technologies looking for new horizons? We also welcome applications from people with domain knowledge in areas that could benefit from robots (eg. health). We expect strong demand for spaces so there will be an application process.

Winning Startup Idea

Robots and a roomful of entrepreneurs makes for one great weekend – at the end, you make your pitch to industry judges from robotics, startup, investor and venture capital communities.