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42nd International Symposium on Robotics Heads to US For First Time in Four Years

POSTED 02/21/2011

Arbor, MI  – The world’s most prestigious annual robotics conference, the International Symposium on Robotics (ISR), will be held in the United States for the first time in four years as part of Automate 2011 at McCormick Place in Chicago, March 21-24.

“The ISR occupies a unique place in the history of robotics, and we’re delighted to be hosting it again in the US for the first time since 2007,” said Jeff Burnstein, President of Robotic Industries Association (RIA), a co-sponsor of the Automate 2011 event and the 42nd ISR.

“Every year the ISR educates suppliers, users and researchers on the latest developments in robotics from around the globe. This year’s ISR features speakers from the US, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Taiwan among other nations,” Burnstein said.

Among the topics the ISR will address are new methods of fixturing for airplane and automotive assembly, new advances in autonomous industrial mobile manipulators, real-time image processing of human face identification, and collision-free moving object tracking with active visual servoing.

“The ISR has a history of presenting cutting-edge research that is likely to be commercialized in the near-term and we expect this year to open up many eyes about what’s coming in robotics and related areas such as machine vision,” Burnstein observed.

The ISR is sponsored by the International Federation of Robotics and is held in a different country each year. The 2012 event will be held in Taiwan for the first time. It is not expected to return to the US until at least 2015.

“As 2011 marks the 50th anniversary of the installation of the first industrial robot in the United States it is great that the US is hosting the ISR this year,” Burnstein observed. “We will have a special pavilion on the show floor to highlight the 50th anniversary of robotics technology.”

One of the highlights of the annual ISR is the Gala Dinner where the Engelberger Robotics Awards are presented. Sponsored by RIA, the Engelberger Award is the industry’s highest honor and is named after Joseph F. Engelberger, known throughout the world as the “father of robotics."

The winner of this year’s Engelberger Award for Leadership is Åke Lindqvist, formerly of ABB Robotics. His career in robotics spans more than three decades during which he has held virtually every top volunteer role possible including Past Chairman of RIA, current Chairman of the IFR, and Past Chairman of the Automation Technologies Council, among others.

“I am delighted to see that committee has selected Åke Lindqvist to win the Leadership Award this year as he embodies the true spirit of the award, which is helping our industry grow and prosper.”

Dr. Henrik Christenson, Chair of the Robotics Department at Georgia Tech University, will receive the Engelberger Award for Education. He was the key architect of the recent US Roadmap for Robotics as well as similar efforts in Europe. He also has been a highly regarded robotics instructor and researcher who has helped educate robotics students around the world.

“Henrik seems to be virtually everywhere in the world trying to educate people about the importance of robotics – I can’t think of anyone who has been more active in recent years and it’s great to see his dedication rewarded with an Engelberger Award,” Burnstein commented.

Founded in 1974, RIA is the North American trade association for robotics, representing some 275 robotics manufacturers, component suppliers, system integrators, end users, research groups and consulting firms. In addition to Automate 2011, RIA is best-known for developing the American National Robot Safety Standard, reporting quarterly robotics statistics, and providing the world’s leading robotics website (Robotics Online,

For more information about Automate 2011 and the 42nd ISR, visit For more information on RIA, visit Information on the show and all other association activities can also be obtained by calling RIA at 734/994-6088.

Jeff Burnstein