NEWSLETTER - 15 November 2010

Dear Members of Congress,

Welcome to the fourth in a planned series of correspondence in conjunction with the Congressional Robotics Caucus. The intent of the newsletter is to inform and educate you and your staff about the uses of robotic technology. This issue contains stories and links from several companies, organizations and research institutions, and we hope that you will find them informative and meaningful.

Arizona State University is developing a Robotic Ankle SPARKy - Spring Ankle with Regenerative Kinetics. It was featured on the Discovery Channel show "The Dean of Invention" by Dean Kamen in October. The robotic ankle is helping soldiers to return to active lifestyles.

Cardiorobotics, Inc., a Carnegie Mellon University spinout, with offices in Pennsylvania and New England, has been awarded a Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Project (QTDP) grant from the U.S. government in the amount of $244,479 based on the Company's certified 2009 research expenditures. The Company sought to take advantage of this unique funding opportunity provided by the establishment of the Qualified Therapeutic Discovery Project in late spring of this year, and we applied for QTDP funding in July in relation to our R&D efforts in developing our snake robot system. The application process included both financial information regarding our R&D spending as well as product and related medical benefits information.

The receipt of this grant is not just a welcome source of additional (and non-dilutive) funds for our Company; the decision to award this grant to Cardiorobotics also reflects the positive evaluation of the Company's products and applications (by both the Department of Treasury and Department of Health and Human Services) as a leading edge therapeutic/medical device technology, as well as being among those projects having the greatest potential to create and sustain high quality, high paying jobs in the United States.

About Cardiorobotics, Inc. Cardiorobotics, Inc. has built several generations of snake robot platforms, which are highly articulated multi-link catheters allowing minimally-invasive procedures to replace open surgical procedures for many parts of the anatomy that are otherwise difficult or previously impossible to reach. Our product provides a precise and stable platform for enhanced visualization, and enables two-handed dexterity with instruments having tactile feedback.

Cardiorobotics has a number of applications under development whose targets are not a direct line of sight to the entry point. The Company employs a team of professionals and is expected to be commercialized in 2012.

Infamous Robotics LLC, Arlington, Virginia, organized a Robotics Competition on October 28 for undergraduate University students. The theme, designed by Infamous Robotics LLC, was for the students to develop a robotic solution to help fight childhood obesity.  The three finalists were Stanford University and two teams from California Polytechnic State University.  All three displayed excellent and viable solutions that was made possible through the rules of the competition that Infamous Robotics LLC set forth.  One rule in particular was that the robotics solution had to encourage the child to exercise outside.

The event took place in Cincinnati Ohio at the First Energy Convention Center during the SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers) Conference. Judging was done by Infamous Robotics LLC and Dr.Felix Miranda of NASA.  Infamous Robotics LLC contacted the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia to inform them of the competition.  The White House OSTP sent Dr. Miranda as a guest speaker for the students and Congressman Jim Moran sent a letter of support that was read by Anthony Nunez of Infamous Robotics LLC at the competition. The 1st place winner of the competition was Dual Sport Bot by one of the California Polytechnic State University teams.

Science Nation Video Highlights Robot-Assisted Surgery at Johns Hopkins

This short piece appeared in Science Nation, a science video series commissioned by the NSF Office of Legislative and Public Affairs and often shown on PBS Stations. It describes two medical robotics research projects within the Engineering Research Center for Computer-Integrated Surgical Systems and Technology (CISST ERC) at Johns Hopkins University. Both projects emphasize the coupling of computers and robotic devices with human judgment to assist surgeons in treating patients more safely and effectively. The video also gives the surgeons' perspective on the research and illustrates the effectiveness of surgeon-engineer partnerships.

Kinetic Muscles, Inc. of Tempe, Zrizona, is partnering with Emory University and Cleveland Clinic in a randomized, controlled, multisite clinical trial (RCT) that evaluates commercial deployment of remotely monitored and easy-to-use robot therapy devices for in-home stroke therapy. The RCT is funded by the National Institute of Health and listed on (NCT 0114475).  The broad, long-term objective of the study is to provide accessible, affordable rehabilitation for stroke survivors.

RE2, Inc., a Pittsburgh-based robotics company and a spinout of Carnegie Mellon University, was recently awarded a Phase II Army SBIR to develop robotic door-opening technology for unmanned ground vehicles.

Universal Robotics™, located in Nashville, Tennessee, creates control system software called Neocortex™, and sensor bundles including Spatial Vision™, which enable machines to learn from experience, react and adapt to their surroundings, and perform tasks that are costly, dangerous or difficult for humans to undertake.  Universal Robotics is Automating Intelligence®.

Neocortex is a new form of artificial intelligence developed at NASA and Vanderbilt University which couples instantaneous sensor data and long term memory patterns with motor control to increase the flexibility of automation in unstructured environments.  Highly scalable, it is Software with an IQ™, useful anywhere the benefits of automation improve efficiency and worker safety, including warehousing, mining, handling hazardous waste and automating vehicles such as forklifts.  The first application is in the materials handling supply chain as the control system for a Yaskawa Motoman industrial robot tasked with moving mixed size boxes inside distribution center warehouses. 

Universal's sensor expertise has led to the release of Spatial Vision™ and Spatial Vision Robotics, software products which allow for the calibration of loosely placed webcams to generate highly accurate 3D positioning.

World-renown Dr. William “Red” Whittaker, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, is optimistic that robots will create more jobs than they eliminate. He says “robots are about productivity, employment and progress”. He talks about his experience where robotics will create many jobs in the evolution of the technology. See this two minute video.

The two keynote presenters at “Automate 2011 in Chicago, March 2011, will be Tom Ridge, Former Secretary of Homeland Security and Distinguished Statesman, whose topic is “Fortune Favors the Brave: The Net Gain of Security in a Risk-Based World, and executives from General Motors and NASA who partnered to develop Robonaut 2 (R2), the latest generation of the Robonaut astronaut helpers.

National Robotics Week will be celebrated April 9-17, 2011 and efforts are underway across the US to celebrate the event. The Robotics Caucus was instrumental in getting NRW through legislation earlier this year advising that NRW will be celebrated the second week in April annually. Over 46,000 people participated, including over 24,000 K-12 students in the inaugural NRW!

Joining the Caucus:

If you are interested in joining the caucus, contact David Lucas in Representative Mike Doyle's office at 202.225.2135, or Mike Calvo in Representative Phil Gingrey's office at 202.225.2931.

If you would like more information about the caucus contact the Committee representative, Patti Rote at 412-576-9742.

Caucus Advisory Committee

Last Updated: 15 November 2010


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