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Chicago Expo Proves Robots Aren't Just for Factories Anymore


ROSEMONT, IL — May 20, 2003 — We haven’t reached the age of The Jetsons yet.  But we’re closer than you think.

That whimsical vision of the future, where robots served us coffee, mopped our floors, and did our kids’ homework, showed us that machine automation could be—in theory at least—a part of everyday life.  The International Robots & Vision Show, a biennial trade show being held this June 3-5 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, a Chicago suburb, shows us just how far we’ve come in turning the dream into reality.

Among the attractions at the Show which, while primarily for businesspeople, is open to the media and the general public, are:

  • Robocoaster™, the first robotic amusement ride that gives riders a thrill-packed spin at the end of a 25-foot, articulated mechanical arm;
  • Robot Hockey featuring teams of freewheeling machines that ‘‘skate’‘, shoot, and score in hockey demonstrations on the Show floor;
  • ‘‘The Great Debate: Will We See Useful Service Robots in the Next Decade?’‘, featuring Colin Angle of iRobot Corporation, developer of the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner, and Joseph F. Engelberger, known throughout the world as the ‘‘father of robotics’‘, on June 4 from 2:00-3:30 PM; and
  • A keynote luncheon June 4 featuring Dean Kamen, President, DEKA Research and Development Corporation and Chairman & CEO, Segway LLC.  Among Kamen’s accomplishments is the Segway Human Transporter™.

‘‘Robotics is one of the most important technologies of the 21st Century, and this trade show and conference proves why,’‘ said Donald A Vincent, executive vice president of Robotic Industries Association, one of the event sponsors.  ‘‘In many regards, robots have just scratched the surface of potential applications.  There are tens of thousands of companies in just about every industry that are just learning about what robots might be able to help them accomplish.’‘

Attracting 175 exhibitors and 5,000 industry attendees from more than 30 countries around the globe, the International Robots & Vision Show focuses on all aspects of robotics technology, from how manufacturing companies can become more competitive and efficient with robotics to the newest robot applications and research projects. 

In addition to their increased use outside the manufacturing arena, robots have been a major factor in the continued viability of factories in the United States.  Industrial robots have increased productivity, reduced costs, and kept plants open in an era when a great deal of manufacturing has shifted overseas.

Machine Vision Also Demonstrated
The 2003 International Robots & Vision Show also highlights machine vision—a separate, yet complementary technology used extensively for inspection and process control applications in the semiconductor, electronics, pharmaceutical, and medical device industries, among others.  Together, robotics and machine vision account for $2.5 billion in annual sales in North America. 

Oftentimes integrated into robot applications, machine vision can ‘‘see’‘ or ‘‘read’‘ an object.  The technology is also incorporated into unique applications such as thermal imaging systems that can screen people at a distance for elevated body temperature.  A number of such systems have recently been sold worldwide as a way to quickly identify possible SARS cases at airports and other public facilities.

Media Invited to ‘‘Taste of Rosemont’‘ Reception
On Monday, June 2, the eve of the International Robots & Vision Show, a ‘‘Taste of Rosemont’‘ reception will be held in Hall D of the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center exclusively for exhibitors and the media.  The reception, to be held from 5:00 to 6:30, will feature food from sixteen of Rosemont’s best-known restaurants; the Robocoaster will also be open for free rides.

The use of robots in homeland security, baggage handling, medicine, and construction will be explored at a special applications seminar from 8:00-10:00 AM on Wednesday, June 4.

The International Robots & Vision Show is sponsored by the Robotic Industries Association and the Automated Imaging Association.  The Show is co-located with the Industrial Fastener & Forming International Expo and the Sensors Expo & Conference. 

General admission to the International Robots & Vision Show is $30 and is open to persons aged 16 and older.  For more information about the International Robots & Vision Show, visit www.robots-vision-show.info or call 734-994-6088.

Press Contact:     
Steve Simon       
S&S Public Relations, Inc.     
847-955-0700, ext. 237      


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