It was a two and a half day journey of robotics, business and networking last week in Odense, Denmark, at RoboBusiness Europe. Now, almost a week later, we have time to reflect. What made it so special? Well, besides from the sunny weather and the lavish town of Odense, it was of course - from a RoboValley point of view - the Dutch touch that made all the difference.
With the announcement of the RoboValley Investment Fund, the day before the convention, we could not wish for a better start. Nearly all Dutch media and international media covered the story. In the meantime, several interested parties already approached us. We will keep you up to date in the coming months.
The convention kicked off with the keynote speech of Delft University of Technology's André Schiele and the Danish astronaut Andreas Morgensen about their experiment from the International Space Station. Their first time together on stage, it was a fascinating presentation about remotely operating a robot from space. Afterwards they visited the RoboValley stand and took some pictures with the team. Read our previous blog for the details about this special speech and their experiment.
RoboValley is all about connecting business with the right researchers. And there were plenty of researchers from Delft, starting of course with students. Team Delft, a collaboration of Delft Robotics and TU Delft Robotics Institute showed their robotic system in the Factory-in-a-day booth in anticipation of the Amazon Picking Challenge. And the robot arm is already gaining up speed! The students behind Project March attracted lots of visitors with their exoskeleton for patients with spinal cord injuries and competed in a pitchfire event.
Professors from Delft University of Technology were present as well. David Abbink delivered a stimulating speech about the unmanned future (is there any?), as did Chris Verhoeven on mission driven education. Martijn Wisse (on application of robotics and automation), Jens Kober (on machine learning approaches) and Jouke Verlinden (on robotics and 3D printing) were on stage as well.
But we should not forget the other keynote speakers. IBM’s Robert High’s remarks about Watson and embodied cognitive computing were truly fascinating. He taught us that “robotics systems can facilitate the fidelity human-machine interactions with anthropomorphic animation”. As an example, High showed a clip of an interaction between a robot salesperson and a human, whereby the body language added to the interaction between the two.
Truly energizing was Peter Fisk, with his take on the ‘super-human future’. “Robotics enable us to achieve more”, he said in a dazzling presentation. “It allows us to do bigger, better, stronger things. It allows us to be more human.” And, according to Fisk, "it is a human revolution, not a technological revolution!”
It was not all about speeches, meetings and pitchfires at the Odense Congress Center though. At the busy Dutch evening at café Kraez in Odense city centre, there was time for more informal conversation about the latest developments in robotics. And the drinks were on us, of course.
On the final day, our Programme Manager Arthur de Crook got the floor for the passing of the torch. Next year, RoboValley will host RoboBusiness Europe. "Please be welcome in Delft”, said De Crook. And we could not agree more! Already interested? Click here to stay up to date.