The objective of this proposal is to organize the first annual principal investigator meeting for the National Robotics Initiative (NRI). The NRI was launched in the summer of 2011 and there is a clear need to bring together the researchers of the projects awarded in 2012 and 2013 to provide cross-project coordination in terms of common intellectual challenges, methods for education and training, best practice in terms of transition of results and opportunities for broader dissemination of project status, activities and results.
The meeting will be organized as a two-day meeting in the vicinity of Washington DC which broadens the impact to other governmental agencies, as members will be invited due to proximity. The meeting will include all the PIs for the NRI initiative, and invitations to all the program managers for robotics related programs in DC in addition to organizers of the Robotics-VO (Virtual Organization). Finally, the meeting is organized to take place during fall of 2013 to allow the second cohort of NRI projects to participate, allowing greater cross-fertilization of topics and ideas.
The first National Robotics Initiative Principal Investigators (NRI PI)meeting was held on October 1-2, 2013 in Arlington, Virginia at theHyatt Regency Crystal City. The objective of this meeting was to bringtogether the community of researchers, companies and program managersfrom various government agencies that are actively engaged in theNational Robotics Initiative (NRI), a nationally coordinated programacross multiple government agencies, which was launched in 2011 todevelop the next generation of robotics, to advance the capability andusability of such systems and artifacts, and to encourage existing andnew communities to focus on innovative application areas. The firstprojects funded as part of the NRI were launched in 2012, and it wasconsidered important to build a community across the projects in termsof sharing of research results, best practice in terms of education andtraining, opportunities for exploitation of results and mechanisms forbroader impact. The main motivation behind the 2013 NRI PI meeting wasto provide a basis for community building across the set of sponsoredprojects to maximize impact of the research, to optimize educationaleffort and to strengthen the broader impact. The intellectual merit of the meeting was to bring together the different efforts in robotics which covers aspects from hardware design to human interaction into discussions about how they all contribute to futuregrowth across manufacturing, healthcare and national security. The meeting was attended by more than 200 participants and served as agreat initial mechanism for community coordination; however, it lackedthe engagement of the program managers from the NRI sponsoring agencies,who didnâ€™t participate in the meeting due to the government shutdown of2013. This 2-day event was organized as a mix of keynotes, plenary sessions,industry and educational panels, and parallel sessions on Co-Worker,Co-Inhabitant/Medical, and Co-Protector/Space topics. Over 100 posterswere presented during three poster sessions. These posters presentedthe results of research, which was sponsored by various NRI awards.Meeting attendees participated in two tutorials on Prototyping and RobotOperating System (ROS). From a broader aspects perspective it is important to note that robotics has the potential to impact many aspects of general life from future economic growth over quality to life to support for future. Not only was robotics discussed both as basic science, and its potential impact, but the NRI PI meeting also included a session with discussion of how broader impactbest practice can be applied across the projects funded by the NRI. Copies of meetingâ€™s presentations, tutorials, and posters are availablefor the members of US robotics community at the Robotics VirtualOrganization (VO) web site at www.robotics-vo.us.