Return of the Robots: Imperial revs up for nationwide UK Robotics Week 2017


Robot arm against a human arm. Robot hand is holding a human finger in a protective stance.

Imperial will join 17 UK universities to showcase its world-leading robotics innovations from 24 to 30 June.

Researchers from Imperial College London will be showing off the very latest research in robotics as part of a national week that features everything from diagnostic mini-robots to prosthetic hands.

The annual UK Robotics Week is a unique opportunity to learn about the current state-of-the-art robotic technology, discuss the role of robots and artificial intelligence in our lives, and to inspire the next generation of designers and engineers.

Research into robotics and artificial intelligence is an important driver of innovation that has far reaching implications for a number of sectors, including healthcare, manufacturing, transport, aerospace, oil and gas.

– Professor Guang-Zhong Yang

Department of Computing

In collaboration with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), visitors can see and experience robotic inventions and ideas from across the UK, and can join us for the week’s pinnacle celebratory finale, the International Robotics Showcase. The week is hosted by EPSRC‘s UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems Network (UK-RAS) which is chaired by Professor Guang-Zhong Yang from Imperial’s Hamlyn Centre for Robotic Surgery.

Professor Yang, also from Imperial’s Department of Computing, said: “Investment in science, research and innovation is vital to the economic growth and global position of the UK. Research into robotics and artificial intelligence is an important driver of innovation that has far reaching implications for a number of sectors, including healthcare, manufacturing, transport, aerospace, oil and gas.”

He added: “The UK-RAS Network was established with EPSRC funding over two years ago. This dedicated network provides a focus for the UK’s research and engineering excellence for the first time, ensuring that the UK can maintain its competitive edge in RAS innovation.”

Imperial will conclude by hosting a range of events in celebration of the week at the Hamlyn Symposium.Through a series of presentations, competitions, challenges and innovations, guests will discover what to expect from the emerging world of medical robotics in the next ten years. Events will include:

Surgical robot challenge at the Royal Geographical Society – 25 June 

A stone’s throw from Imperial’s South Kensington campus, finalists of this competition, which aims to combine surgery and robotics for furthering healthcare, will demonstrate their ideas live.

The audience and expert panel will be the first to view these new concepts, many of which are focused on affordable systems and potential innovations for the developing world.

The winner will be announced at the International Robotics Showcase on 30th June.

School robot challenge winners’ announcement – 30 June

Through designing a virtual robot insect and teaching it to move, a winner each from two parallel competitions, one for ages four-to-12 year olds and the other for 13-to-18 year olds, will be announced today.

The competition, aimed at inspiring UK schoolchildren, provides a compelling introduction to computer-aided and bio-inspired design. Children will have used computer software to design, create, and control a robotic insect and its own garden, before showing them off to the panel.

The judges will have been looking for designs that are innovative, interesting, fun, compelling, technically advanced or beautiful.

International robotics showcase – 30 June

The grand finale of UK Robotics Week, the International Robotics Showcase, will take place at IET London: Savoy Place on Friday 30 June, 9.00 to 18.30.

The day-long programme offers exclusive talks by world-renowned experts, including Professor Yang, in science and technology, panel discussions, debates, exhibitions, robot demonstrations, and awards ceremonies for the challenges taking place during the week.

The showcase will include fascinating and diverse demonstrations of cutting edge robotics technology. Expert panels will then lead lively discussions and debates on the ethical, legal and economic impacts of robotics and artificial intelligence, as well as in using robots for emergency response and disaster relief.

The showcase will conclude with an award ceremony to all the challenge winners.

For full information about all the activities planned for UK Robotics Week, as well as how to attend, please visit the website and follow UK Robotics Week on Twitter using #UKRW17.



Caroline Brogan

Caroline Brogan
Communications Division

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