From IEEE Spectrum:

In a visit today to Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center, Obama launched the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, a national effort to bring together industry, universities, and government to invest in emerging technologies that can improve manufacturing and create new businesses and jobs.

Robots are a big part of this effort. The administration's new National Robotics Initiative seeks to advance "next generation robotics." The focus is on robots that can work closely with humans—helping factory workers, healthcare providers, soldiers, surgeons, and astronauts to carry out tasks.

"You might not know this but one of my responsibilities as commander-in-chief is to keep an eye on robots," Obama quipped at the beginning of his speech. "And I'm pleased to report that the robots you manufacture here seem peaceful. At least for now."

The National Robotics Initiative is described here:


The goal of the National Robotics Initiative is to accelerate the development and use of robots in the United States that work beside, or cooperatively with, people. Innovative robotics research and applications emphasizing the realization of such co-robots acting in direct support of and in a symbiotic relationship with human partners is supported by multiple agencies of the federal government including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The purpose of this program is the development of this next generation of robotics, to advance the capability and usability of such systems and artifacts, and to encourage existing and new communities to focus on innovative application areas. It will address the entire life cycle from fundamental research and development to industry  manufacturing and deployment.  Methods for the establishment and infusion of robotics in educational curricula and research to gain a better understanding of the long term social, behavioral and economic implications of co-robots across all areas of human activity are important parts of this initiative.  Collaboration between academic, industry, non-profit and other organizations is strongly encouraged to establish better linkages between fundamental science and technology development, deployment and use.

Two classes of proposals will be considered in response to this solicitation:

  1. Small projects: One or more investigators spanning 1 to 5 years.
  2. Large projects: Multi-disciplinary teams spanning 1 to 5 years.

Views: 423

Comment by Jack Crossfire on June 24, 2011 at 7:04pm
Always wonder if he's being pragmatic or if he just lacks imagination.  He considers robots important in creating businesses but canceled most of NASA's robotics work & replaced it with hundreds of small, ROBUST INTELLIGENCE contracts, whatever that means.  Kennedy had a robotics plan that worked.
Comment by bGatti on June 24, 2011 at 7:35pm
Did he just get the memo?

Where was this program while he was writing out checks to corn farmers?
Just saying, Happy and all, but My god; we're three years in here...
Comment by Andrew Rabbitt on June 24, 2011 at 7:43pm
Politicians implement these "initiatives" so they can claim the credit for the success.  Beware! (or just tell them to FRO)
Comment by Ken McEwan on June 25, 2011 at 6:23am
This is just one more topic he is clueless about. Where does he think most of the technology advances came from? NASA...
Comment by Ethan Ferrell on June 28, 2011 at 9:50pm

Technically the NASA budget cut was for their program to return to the moon. The Administration wanted NASA to focus more on science and research than exploration during the time of the cut, which is consistent with this announcement.


However, where I disagree is the fact that funding got cut period--exploration is what NASA is known for to the masses. So much has come from their research for space exploration (my lovely Tempur-pedic mattress I sleep on every night). Heck, aren't some of the world's best robots designed for exploration (Spirit and Opportunity)? From what I remember back when the original cut was going on, NASA planned to get an outpost on the moon as a launch platform for further space exploration. I'd say that is a massive leap for humankind--space colonization?

Comment by bGatti on June 29, 2011 at 6:59am


This Canard that NASA is an unalloyed good is wearing thin.

NASA represent a huge opportunity cost - the best, the brightest, and debt spending my daughter will have to pay for - they have an obligation with that kind of opportunity to help position the taxpayers to compete globally.


The Facts are that Russia can put mass in space for less blood and treasure than the US after 50 years of quite unequal funding; and in every other metric, NASA has failed to deliver a competitive advantage which is comparable to its disportportionate funding and opportunity.


Epic Fail. Temperpedic? give me a break.

Comment by Ethan Ferrell on June 29, 2011 at 8:27am
Getting mass is space is not the same as getting mass outside of Earth's orbit. Sure, Russia can shoot unmanned probes outside of Earth's orbit with 1/8th of the funding as NASA. NASA is the only group that has sent humans outside of Earth's orbit, ever. I think the safety of our astronauts is worth 8 times more than an unmanned probe. Sure, China and Russia are gearing up to send probes to Mars next year...almost 10 years after NASA. The fact is, NASA has a large budget because it pioneers the technology that other countries use. You pay a price to be first; just like with anything else.
Comment by bGatti on June 29, 2011 at 1:13pm
I'd like to be a fan of NASA, but "i can't drink that much."

1. NASA hasn't sent a person beyond low earth orbit since 1970 or so (40 years - or my entire lifetime).
2. NASA wasn't first in Space
3. NASA didn't put the first man in space.
4. NASA wasn't the first to orbit the Earth.
5. There is more to learn at the bottom of the ocean than there is on the surface of the moon - Big budget / wrong target.

Yes, the Moon shot created a eco-system of engineering; however, NASA has yielded most of that to China. If I want a PC board made ; or populated, the ecosystem which will do both most economically is not a NASA-derivative; it is far more likely to be a soviet derivative.

NASA has failed its mission to keep the US on the forefront of important technology.

Google is; NASA, not so much.


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