Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Colin Angle from iRobot gave us a sweeping overview of robotics past, present, and future.

Photo by Jeanne Paradiso

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Ava Robotics' telepresence robot making the rounds. Don't try to go down the stairs.

Photo by Jeanne Paradiso

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Rana el Kaliouby showed us how Affectiva's software could track and recognize drivers' emotions (and terrible behaviors like holding two cellphones while driving).

Photo by Jeanne Paradiso

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Ori's Hasier Larrea (left) chats with iRobot's Chris Jones. Tons of robotics expertise in the room.

Photo by Jeanne Paradiso

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Gary Shapiro from the Consumer Technology Association (which runs CES) kicked off the afternoon with a rundown of tech and policy issues relating to robotics and A.I.

Photo by Jeanne Paradiso

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Shakeel Avadhany of ClearMotion (left) grabbing a drink of water with NEA's Aaron Jacobson.

Photo by Jeanne Paradiso

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Hanns Anders from iRobot Ventures (left) leads the iRobot alumni panel (left to right): Joe Jones of Franklin Robotics, Max Makeev of Owl Labs, and Clara Vu from Veo Robotics. They covered everything from the history of iRobot office chores to lessons in international business travel.

Photo by Jeanne Paradiso

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

The Harmonic Drive demo table was busy all day.

Photo by Jeanne Paradiso

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Next-wave panel: Lux Capital's Bilal Zuberi makes a point about startup investing as (l-r) Rudina Seseri of Glasswing Ventures, Vivjan Myrto from Hyperplane Venture Capital, and Dan Patt of Vecna Robotics look on.

Photo by Jeanne Paradiso

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Attendees from the Consumer Technology Association mingled with the crowd.

Photo by Jeanne Paradiso

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Joe Jones (center) shared some good stories from the early days of iRobot and the Roomba.

Photo by Jeanne Paradiso

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

MassRobotics' Tom Ryden (left) leads a logistics panel with (l-r) Lael Odhner of RightHand Robotics and Bruce Welty of Locus Robotics. Mary Ellen Sparrow from NextShift Robotics is at far right.

Photo by Jeanne Paradiso

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Clara Vu of Veo Robotics hangs out with iRobot's Colin Angle after the show.

Photo by Jeanne Paradiso

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

As usual, plenty of time for networking and making connections among our crowd.

Photo by Jeanne Paradiso

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

The Norwell team from the FIRST Robotics Competition.

Photo by Jeanne Paradiso

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Chris Micali from Sense talked about how energy sensing and A.I. techniques can boost home awareness and efficiency.

Photo by Jeanne Paradiso

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Xconomy's Jeff Engel (non-robotic boot) grills Shakeel Avadhany and Ryan Chin (right) about the future of autonomous vehicles and related systems. Hint: nobody likes Uber.

Photo by Jeanne Paradiso

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

The good folks at Bloom Automation are very knowledgeable about the cannabis industry. Or so I'm told.

Photo by Jeanne Paradiso

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Thanks to iRobot, we were able to raffle off a brand new Roomba and Braava (mopping robot) to two lucky attendees.

Photo by Jeanne Paradiso

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Attendees had a lot to discuss after an afternoon of fast-moving talks, panels, and demos.

Photo by Jeanne Paradiso

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Rana el Kaliouby did a live emotion-recognition demo with Gary Shapiro, using video analysis software.

Photo by Jeanne Paradiso

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Jerome Dubois from 6 River Systems discusses warehouse automation with Mary Ellen Sparrow of NextShift Robotics (and the rest of the panel).

Photo by Jeanne Paradiso

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Hasier Larrea from Ori entertained the crowd with his startup's vision for robotic studio apartments (think small spaces, more functionality).

Photo by Jeanne Paradiso

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Attendees and speakers came early and stayed late. Good times were had. Let's do it again.

Photo by Jeanne Paradiso

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

The cheese and fruit spread was impeccable, as usual.

Photo by Jeanne Paradiso

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

Robo Madness 2018: Homecoming

See you all next year. You bring the robotic bed (Hasier), and you bring the self-driving car (Ryan).

Photo by Jeanne Paradiso

We had a blast at our fourth annual Robo Madness conference in the Boston area, and we hope you did, too. The theme this year was homecoming—the idea that robotics and artificial intelligence have started to seep into our lives and homes, and are poised to have big, transformative effects on business and society wherever you look.

The theme had a double meaning: this year’s event took place at the headquarters of iRobot, the venerable company that has pioneered robotic systems for the home and military, and whose alumni have gone on to start many other companies in the Boston area and beyond. Many of those alumni were on hand for the conference last week; I enjoyed hearing their stories of their time at the company and what they learned there. (We’re planning a separate post on takeaways from the day’s discussions.)

Huge thanks to our co-host iRobot for the spectacular venue and support. And, of course, special thanks to our speakers, attendees, and demo organizers—you all make this amazing event what it is.

Lastly, a big thank-you to Jeanne Paradiso for the pictures above. Enjoy, and see you all again next time.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and Editor of Xconomy Boston. E-mail him at gthuang [at] xconomy.com.