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Robotics Technology Consortium, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Innovation Accelerator Organize First RoboBowl Competition

POSTED 08/31/2011

rong>Start-Up and Early Stage Healthcare and Quality of Life Robotics Ventures Can Win $25,000

Pittsburgh, PA. – The Robotics Technology Consortium, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Innovation Accelerator today announced that the first RoboBowl competition will take place during the “Innovation Accelerator @ Carnegie Mellon” event at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA on October 13, 2011.  The competition is the first of what is expected to be a series of new venture competitions intended to find and foster start-up and early-stage companies seeking to develop “big idea” products and services in healthcare, manufacturing, national defense, education, and other domains based on next-generation robotics technology.  

RoboBowl Pittsburgh www.qolt.org/robobowl is open to any U.S.-based start-up or early-stage business with an idea or concept for using next-generation robotics technology to develop and bring to market a compelling product or service that addresses unmet or underserved needs in the healthcare and quality of life industries.  Entrants will submit business summaries that judges will review to select semi-finalists who will make on-line presentations.  Judges will then select five finalists, each of whom will win $5,000 in cash prizes, to compete in a live final round on October 13, 2011 for a chance to win an additional $20,000.

“Answers to the most critical challenges facing the U.S. today, related to manufacturing and logistics, healthcare and assisted living, and our national security and infrastructure will come from the creativity, dedication, and passion of entrepreneurs and inventors who utilize next-generation robotics technology to innovate breakthrough solutions,” said Helen Greiner, president of the Robotics Technology Consortium.  “The RoboBowl competitions will help fast-track the formation of new, next-generation robotics ventures across the U.S. and cast a spotlight on the emergence of robotics as a pillar of 21st century innovation.”

“While significant progress has been and continues to be made in the research and development of next-generation robotics technologies, commercialization efforts are still relatively nascent,” said Jared L. Cohon, president of Carnegie Mellon University.  “By accelerating the transition of next-generation robotics technology developed in university and government laboratories, the RoboBowl competitions are an important complement to the National Robotics Initiative announced by President Obama at Carnegie Mellon University earlier this summer.”

“The RoboBowl competitions are expected to address three specific needs,” said John Pyrovolakis, founder and CEO of the Innovation Accelerator.  “First, they will help create new jobs and viable businesses by catalyzing the adaptation and commercialization of next-generation robotics technologies.  Second, they will help motivate development of the commercialization infrastructure required to further accelerate the pace of innovation.  And third, they will help inform National Robotics Initiative efforts to fund research in the key enabling science and technology areas.  Each of these supports the Innovation Accelerator’s mission of promoting our nation’s economic competitiveness in the global economy by promoting our nation’s innovation.”
Future RoboBowl competitions are expected to take place in various locations across the U.S. and focus on next-generation robotics technology solutions in other domains in addition to healthcare and quality of life, including manufacturing and logistics, national defense, homeland security, civil infrastructure, energy, transportation, and field industries such as agriculture and mining. 

The Robotics Technology Consortium is a non-profit industry organization created to speed the transition and deployment of robotics technology for the Defense Department and other Government organizations. The consortium was established to meet a need identified by the Office of the Secretary of Defense Joint Ground Robotics Enterprise (OSD/JGRE). The RTC currently has a membership of over 150 large and small commercial companies, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations. The RTC seeks to solicit and engage companies and organizations that may not have historically performed work for the Defense Department and other Government organizations in addition to traditional defense contractors.

The Innovation Accelerator is the private side of a public-private partnership with a Federal Agency of the United States of America.  The Innovation Accelerator's mission is to promote our nation's economic competitiveness in the global economy by promoting our nation's innovation.  The Innovation Accelerator has attracted over $100 million into SBIR recipients over the past two years, and has previously conducted Innovation summits at MIT and Stanford.

Carnegie Mellon University is a private, internationally ranked research university with programs in areas ranging from science, technology and business, to public policy, the humanities and the arts. More than 11,000 students in the university’s seven schools and colleges benefit from a small student-to-faculty ratio and an education characterized by its focus on creating and implementing solutions for real problems, interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation. A global university, Carnegie Mellon’s main campus in the United States is in Pittsburgh, Pa. It has campuses in California’s Silicon Valley and Qatar, and programs in Asia, Australia, Europe and Mexico. The university is in the midst of a $1 billion fundraising campaign, titled “Inspire Innovation: The Campaign for Carnegie Mellon University,” which aims to build its endowment, support faculty, students and innovative research, and enhance the physical campus with equipment and facility improvements.

Next-generation robotics encompasses and integrates a broad array of actuation, electronic, sensor, software, man-machine interface, and other enabling technologies to produce intelligent, networked devices, platforms, vehicles, and other products that operate with ever-increasing levels of autonomy.  Next-gen robotics products and applications function as intelligent co-workers, co-inhabitants, and co-protectors in dynamic, dangerous, and/or inaccessible environments, reducing the need for tedious human attention, interaction, and intervention.  Next-gen robotics solutions enable individuals to concentrate on the higher-level and more important aspects of their lives and jobs, to multi-task more effectively, and to work at a safe distance when needed.  No other technology has the potential to address such a diverse set of critical needs facing our nation, including reinvigorating the US manufacturing base, reducing healthcare costs, protecting our citizens, inspiring our youth to pursue STEM-related careers, caring for our aging population, and enabling people with disabilities to lead normal and productive lives.