[robotics-worldwide] Idea contest on affordable robots - call for participation - deadline: June 15, 2009

Erwin Prassler erwin.prassler at h-brs.de
Thu May 21 12:00:44 PDT 2009

Dear Robotics Researchers and Developers,

crises like the one that we are going through in these days have not only
drawbacks. They also offer the opportunity to think the unthinkable
and to adjust our horizons a little.

For decades the robotics community has promised and announced that robots
will pervade our daily lives and serve humans wherever dirty, dull and
dangerous tasks need to be done. But how many robots providing a reasonable
service at a reasonable price can you buy today in a warehouse? After fifty
years of robotics research and development there is only a handful of such
robots out there. Robotics today has the reputation of not only being high
technology but also being highly expensive.

However, if robots really shall serve humankind at large, then they must
become *affordable*. What we badly need are the "tin lizzies" and the
"beetles" of robotics.

The current situation virtually screams for an adjustment of the horizon
in robotics research and development.

This message is an appeal to the robotics community to leave at least
for a short moment the established paths of robotics research and
development and to think the unthinkable.

We would like to invite the entire robotics community - researchers
as well as developers and engineers, juniors as well as seniors - to an
*idea contest on affordable robots*.

We cordially invite you to tell us, what you consider the most badly
needed robot, the robot which you would buy immediately, if you only
saw it in a warehouse and if it did not cost a fortune.

What about
     * a robotic bookshelf de-duster for 299 EUR/USD, which removes the
       dust from your bookshelves, or
     * a last seen radar for 199 EUR/USD, which tracks the objects in your
       house and can tell you where you left your glasses or your keys, or
     * a robotic fly swatter for 49 EUR/USD, which spots the bugs hovering
       around your ears at nighttime and gets them before they bite you?

Participants in this idea contest, should sketch their ideas on a three
slide presentation with the following content and email it to
mailto:contest at affordable-robots.org  *until June 15, 2009*.

The first slide should be a title slide naming the idea, the inventors,
and their affiliation.

The second slide should contain a drawing of the robot and describe in
form of a bulleted list the service and functions, which it is supposed
to provide.

The third slide should describe again with a few bullets how the idea
could possibly be implemented, the technology required and how much the
robot would eventually cost.

The submissions should meet the following criteria:
    1. They should describe an idea, which is original.
    2. They should describe an economically meaningful service.
    3. The proposed idea should have a realistic chance of being implemented.
    4. A realistic price estimate of the final product should be in the order
       of 1000 EUR or less.

All submissions, which meet the above criteria, will be published on
www.affordable-robots.org. The top 10 will be presented during a town hall
meeting on "affordable robots" at ICAR 2009 (www.icar2009.org) in Munich.
At the end of the meeting the participants will choose a winner, who will
be awarded a prize of 1000 EUR.

Think the unthinkable
Erwin Prassler

PS: Please, forward this message to your students!!!


B-IT Bonn-Aachen International Center for Information Technology
Applied Science Institute, Dept. Autonomous Systems
Grantham-Allee 20
53757 Sankt Augustin
erwin.prassler at h-brs.de

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