The 14th International IERA Award for Robotics and Automation has three winners on the top of the podium this year:

  • Perception Robotics (USA) wins with the "Industrial Self-Cleaning Gecko Gripper," a Gecko-style gripping solution that uses NASA technology for industrial automation.
  • KUKA Deutschland wins with "LBR Med," a collaborative robot assistant for medicine & research as well as new applications.
  • Lely International (Netherlands) wins with the "Discovery 120 Collector," a barn floor cleaning robot that cleans solid floors in the dairy industry

"The close cooperation between research and industry is very important for the robotics industry," says Junji Tsuda, President of the International Federation of Robotics. "Based on modern scientific research, world-class products are being developed - this has been demonstrated by all three winners."

"This year a number of excellent applications competed for the IERA Award," says Dominik Bösl of IEEE-RAS. "Our winners in 2018 offer excellent technological innovations in various industries. Therefore, this year the jury decided to award first place to three winners."

 IERA Award winners 2018 small

left to right: Dominik Boesl, Awards Chair & Vice President IEEE RAS; Martijn Buijs, Lely; Dr. Nicholas Wettels, Perception Robotics; Michael Otto, KUKA; Clemens Duijnisveld., Lely; Frank Steeneveld, Lely; Junji Tsuda, IFR President (©Thomas Plettenberg)

Perception Robotics (USA): Gecko Gripper

The technology underlying the gecko gripper is based on the model of the gecko, which can climb on smooth surfaces. The reptile uses physical forces of attraction between foot and surface (van der Waals forces). Based on the work of NASA (JPL) and Stanford University, Perception Robotics has developed a gripping solution for the manufacturing industry using this natural model in collaboration with NASA-JPL. In contact with smooth and rough materials, millions of tiny stalks on the robot arm produce a highly adhesive effect, with which, for example, sheet metal or glass pieces can be moved. The gecko gripper arm was deployed in sheet metal processing in 2017 - Perception Robotics sees an important future market in the manufacture of solar panels.

KUKA (Germany): LBR Med, lightweight robot

The LBR Med Robot Assistant from Kuka Deutschland supports a variety of tasks in medical research and practice and works in close proximity to humans. In laboratories, clinics or operating theatres, the lightweight robot takes over various tasks depending on the tool and program - for example, during medical interventions, treatments or scientific test procedures. The LBR Med has seven axes and particularly sensitive sensors that are suitable for human-robot collaboration. The robot component can be integrated into medical devices worldwide and has been tested and certified to international safety and quality standards. LBR Med, for example, has biocompatible and corrosion-resistant surfaces and, with internal connections, meets the hygiene standards in medical practices, clinics or operating theatres.

Lely International (The Netherlands): Barn floor cleaning robot

The Discovery 120 Collector navigates a programmed route through the barn and is controlled on its way by built-in sensors. The robot vacuums up the manure on solid walkways. The machine can spray water at the front and the back for dilution and cleaning. The in-built vacuum pump sucks the manure inside - once the tank is full, the Discovery drives to the dumping location. Here, the cleaning robot empties the tank and refills the water bags before returning to the charging station. Lely launched the Discovery 2017 in several European countries as well as the USA. In the future, additional countries will be added.

About IERA-Award

The IERA Award highlights and honors the achievements of innovators with value creating ideas and entrepreneurs who propel those ideas into world-class products. The IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (IEEE/RAS) and the IFR jointly sponsor the award - underlining their determination to promote stronger collaboration between science and industry in robotics.


Ken Goldberg

The robot revolution we are in the midst of is actually way more interesting. Goldberg calls it the multiplicity. “Multiplicity is not science fiction,” he says. “It's something that's happening right now, and it's the idea of humans and machines working together.” So welcome to the future, where robots do things like gently hand us screwdrivers instead of stabbing us with them.

Read the full artcle here:

RAS SIGHT projects are not only providing humanitarian assistance, but are also highly regarded and recognized by the community!

The project “Enhancing the Speak Up! Suite of Voice Powered Games,” was completed by Amal Nanavati, M. Bernardine Dias, & Aaron Steinfeld, Carnegie Mellon University (PA), USA. It was created to support and train the deaf community in developing areas of the world. The “Speak Up! suite of voice-powered games” includes activities where, for example: student voice propels a vehicle forward, students vary their volume to move a bird up and down, and student voice gradually reveals a flashcard. The games have been in use at a school for the deaf in India for over 2 years. In this project, the team conducted fieldwork to understand the strengths and shortcomings of these games and further improve upon them.

Speak Up photo

Project Lead, Amal Nanavati recently presented “Speak Up” at the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (paper here), as well as Carnegie Mellon's undergraduate research symposium. The project was fortunate to receive two awards at the research symposium:

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute's award for "Best Multi-Year Project," which awards projects that have "positive impacts on individuals' quality of life and health."

The Dietrich Humanities Prize, which awards projects that "best exemplify the humanities as they are understood at Carnegie Mellon."

Biographical Information

Amal Nanavati recently received a B.S. from Carnegie Mellon University with a double major in Computer Science and Global Studies. In addition to robotics research, he spent his time outside of class teaching Computer Science at under-resourced Pittsburgh K-12 schools through Teknowledge, a student organization which he co-founded and led. He will be spending the next year as a Fulbright Fellow in Japan, doing research in robot learning from observation under the guidance of Dr. Takayuki Kanda at Kyoto University. After that, he will begin a PhD in Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Community Partner Information

The Mathru Educational Trust for the Blind is a nonprofit, founded in 2001 by Ms. Gubbi R. Muktha. Ms. Muktha had been in an unfortunate road accident in 1986, which resulted in losing mobility for almost three years, during which she regularly visited the Vocational Rehabilitation Centre of the Disabled in Bangalore. At the rehabilitation centre Ms. Muktha came into contact with many blind people, who were struggling with mobility and were extremely dependent on family and friends. She was moved. In her own words, “Just because a child is blind does not mean he or she should become a burden to their family and society. Just because a child is blind does not mean they are worthless. They have so many other strengths and talents which can be harnessed for their benefit and for the benefit of their family and society. I realized that God had a bigger plan for me.” In 2001, she founded the Mathru Educational Trust for the Blind with the original goal of creating a residential school for blind children in and around Bangalore. The Mathru Educational Trust has since expanded, and it now runs two residential schools for disabled children and countless other charitable projects. The site of this project was the Mathru Centre for the Deaf and Differently-Abled, which was established in 2012 to serve students with hearing impairments and multiple disabilities. Learn more about all the Mathru Educational Trust’s projects at


The IEEE Robotics & Automation Society is seeking qualified recipients for prestigious awards!

The Nomination Deadline is Wednesday, 1 August.


Who are Leaders in the robotics and automation field? Who should be honored with a prestigious IEEE RAS Award? Consider nominating them! But hurry, the deadline for IEEE Robotics & Automation Society Award nominations is midnight (US EST) 1 August 2018.

Details for each award, including eligibility, nomination requirements and lists of previous recipients, may be found here:

The IEEE Robotics & Automation Society (RAS) Student Activities Committtee wants to thank all of the students who participated in the Scavenger Hunt at ICRA 2018. The goal of this photo scavenger hunt was to help you meet fellow students and robotics leaders, enjoy the many conference opportunities, and give you an excuse to step outside of the conference venue to experience the unique sights, sounds, and local foods. For more information, see the Scavenger Hunt Objectives and to view all of the pictures, follow the IEEE RAS Twitter.

ICRA 2018 Scavenger Hunt Photo

Overall Winners

  • Yogesh Phalak, India
  • Rajeshree Deotalu, India

Phast Photo Phans Winners

  • Weipeng He, Switzerland
  • Andrew Short, Australia
  • John Harwell, USA
  • Arturo Cruz, France

Dynamic Duo Winners

  • Collette Abah, USA
  • Katherine Riojas, USA

Most Literal Award

  • Liang Li, China
  • Yeqiang Qian, China

2nd Call for Participation:
Entrepreneurship Forum and Startup Contest (EFSC 2018) in conjunction with the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent
Robots and Systems (IROS 2018)

3 October 2018 
Madrid Municipal Conference Centre
Madrid, Spain 

Purpose of the Event

Robotics are on the verge of a new area. While at the beginning of this millennium, robots that were design to serve humans in their daily life, were still exotic niche products. Twenty years later, new service robot applications are breaking their way into the market almost weekly. It is not the traditional robotics industry, however, which drives this development. It is startups and small companies who play the icebreaker and take all the risk that comes with creating a new market.

To foster that entrepreneurial spirit and to provide a platform to encourage researchers and practitioners to transition ideas and prototypes to commercializable products, the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (IEEE RAS) invites the robotics and automation community to participate in an Entrepreneurship Forum and Start-up Competition (EFSC) at the 2018 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS2018) in Madrid, Spain.

The event is intended to inspire, educate, enable, and empower researchers, students, young professionals, and anyone else who has the 'start-up bug' in starting companies of  their own but is not sure of how to go about it. We also believe that this event will create an ecosystem that will provide the much-needed support for start-ups to launch their initiatives while being realistic about their envisioned ideas and products.


Erwin Prassler (H-BRS/runfun, IEEE RAS past VP for Industrial Activities)
Fabio Bonsignorio (Heron robots)
Renaud Champion (Primenext)
Jon Agirre Ibarbia (Tecnalia)

EFSC at IROS'18 Consists of Three Stages

- In the first stage, submitted applications will be down-selected to arrive at a pool of qualified applicants based on a defined set of criteria developed by the organizers (see 'Application Form' information below).
- This will be followed by a remote stage where the selected applicants will be paired with coaches based on the proposal content and the expertise of the coaches. The coaches will then critique, and provide technical and professional assistance to refine the idea/product
- The final stage would allow for the refined pitches and content to be presented in front of a distinguished panel of venture capitalists, industry, and academic experts who have successfully funded, transitioned and have experience in commercialization of robotics and automation technologies.

Who Can Participate?

Anyone with an idea utilizing robotics and/or automation technology that has reached a proof of concept level is welcome to submit an application provided the entity is 1) less than 3 years old, and 2) has not received a total funding larger than 500 KEUR since its inception.

How to Participate?

Interested applicants should complete the Application Form available for download from here: PDF, MS Word.
Please email completed forms to

Travel Support and Awards

We will provide travel support for all qualified applicants invited to IROS'18. Teams from Europe will be eligible to a 750 EUR travel grant, teams from overseas will be supported with a 1500 EUR grant. In addition there will be a financial award for the top three finishers (pending funding  approval at the time of this Call). Qualified applicants will further receive a free mini-booth in the IROS'18 exhibition area for an interactive presentation of their product (idea).

Important Dates

Submission of Application Forms: 30 June 2018
Announcement of Selected Applicants: 31 July 2018
Coaching on demand: August 2018
Final Presentations at IROS'18: 3 October 2018

More Information

Is available here:

 IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine is soliciting nominations for two new Associate Editors, to begin in January 2019. The Associate Editors play an important role in maintaining the caliber of the magazine by ensuring the quality of published articles by implementing reviews of technical features according to IEEE guidelines, soliciting interesting and topical material articles for publication in the magazine, guiding the overall direction of the publication and providing feedback from the readership through e-mail conversations, teleconferences, and twice-yearly in-person meetings held in conjunction with IEEE Conference on Robotics & Automation (ICRA) and the IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS).


Associate Editor terms normally consist of a one-year probation period followed by two years of additional service if performance is satisfactory. Applicants should have a strong technical background and excellent English language skills.


Nominations should include a resume (not to exceed three pages), previous experience with publications as a reviewer or in other capacities, and areas of technical expertise. Please submit nominations as a single pdf file to IEEE Robotics & Automation Society at by 1 September 2018.

Minesweepers: Towards a Landmine-free World
Outdoor robotic competition on humanitarian demining
2-5 October 2018 in Madrid, Spain

Minesweepers2018 logo.fw

Civilian-purpose demining or humanitarian demining aims at finding and removing abandoned landmines without any hazard to the environment. While classic landmine detection and neutralizing technologies remain almost the same, the landmine technology improved dramatically. The conventional detection methods make the procedure of removing great numbers of landmines very slow, inefficient, dangerous and costly. Robotics systems can provide efficient, reliable, adaptive and cost effective solution for the problem of landmines and the unexploded ordnances (UXOs) contamination.
Minesweepers: Towards a Landmine-free World is an outdoor robotic competition that aims at raising the public awareness of the seriousness of the landmines and UXOs contamination and fostering robotics research and its applications in the area of humanitarian demining in the world. In this competition, each participating team constructs a teleoperated/autonomous unmanned ground/aerial vehicle that must be able to search for underground and aboveground anti-personnel landmines and UXOs. The position and the type of each detected object are visualized and overlaid on the minefield map. The robot must be able to navigate through rough terrain that mimics a real minefield.
The 7th edition of Minesweepers competition will take place in conjunction with the 2018 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2018) in the beautiful city of Madrid, Spain.
The ultimate goal of the Minesweepers competition is to put into practice the new strategic mission of IEEE, “…to foster technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity” and to serve as an educational and a research forum to provide efficient, reliable, adaptive and cost-effective solutions for the serious problem of humanitarian demining in many affected countries in the world. The competition also motivates the participants to create new companies and industries geared towards minefield reconnaissance and mapping technologies. Moreover, the applicability of the robotic systems presented in this competition can be extended to a wide range of other applications such as security and surveillance, search and rescue, health monitoring of civil infrastructure, pipeline monitoring, and environment monitoring.


For more information, please visit:

The 2018 RAS Town Hall Program will be held on Thursday, 24 May 2018 from 16:30-17:30 in the
Great Hall Auditorium, at ICRA - Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Australia. We hope to see you there!


Meet IEEE and RAS Leadership
Where are we now, and what are our strategies for future growth and services? How will IEEE Membership, Publications, Conferences and Events, and Technological Advances impact and influence our business?

Hear from IEEE and RAS Leadership as they describe IEEE and RAS in 2018, and where they see the Organization in 2025 and beyond.

Panelists from IEEE

Jim Jefferies, President, IEEE Board of Directors
Mary Ward Callan, IEEE Technical Activities Managing Director

Panelists from RAS

Wolfram Burgard, RAS President
Torsten Kroeger, Vice President of RAS Conference Activities
Zhidong Wang, Vice President of RAS Electronic Products and Services
Yasushi Nakauchi, Vice President of RAS Financial Activities
Dominik Boesl, Vice President of RAS Industrial Activities
Nancy Amato, Vice President of RAS Member Activities
Eugenio Guglielmelli, Vice President of RAS Publication Activities
Lianqing Liu, Vice President of RAS Technical Activities

Panel Discussion, followed by Questions from the Audience

Your suggestions and ideas can help to guide our progress forward!

Questions can be submitted in advance using this form:

RAS is pleased to arrange several Networking Events for our Members attending ICRA 2018 in Brisbane, Australia from 21-25 May 2018. Mark your calendars, and register in advance to secure a spot in these highly popular activities. 

ICRA 2018 logo

Photo Scavenger Hunt 

Are you a student planning to attend ICRA 2018 in Brisbane, Australia? Join the IEEE RAS Student Activities Committee for a fun scavenger hunt! Teams of 2-3 students will be emailed a super top secret list of objectives on the morning of 21 May. Throughout the conference, teams will then take pictures demonstrating they achieved each objective - ranging from shaking hands with RAS leadership, visiting local sights near the conference venue, to doing funny poses. Awards will be presented to teams which found the most items and teams with the most creative photos!

Who: Students attending ICRA 2018
What: A fun picture scavenger hunt
When: 21-25 May 2018
Where: ICRA in Brisbane
Why: Because everyone needs a little fun!

If you already know a few other students attending, you can form a Team and register as a group. If not, please register yourself, and we will team you up with other enthusiastic roboticists. See you in Brisbane!
Register here:

RAS Women In Engineering (WIE) Luncheon

Tuesday, 22 May 2018 from 12:30-14:00
Room P9, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Australia

The luncheon provides the opportunity to foster discussion on the role of women in robotics and automation, inspire girls and promote collaborations and initiatives to advance women in leadership. As the goal for this event is to be more than a lunch for women, but a lunch with women. Therefore, men are more than welcome to participate and enjoy the discussion.

Space is limited, so please register in advance!

NETWORKING RECEPTION: Meet the RAS Technical Committees

Tuesday, 22 May 2018 from 17:00-18:30
Room TBD, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Australia

This event is open to attendees in the early stages of their career — young professionals and researchers. Chairs and Co-Chairs of the RAS Technical Committees will be available for informal conversation centered on new technologies in robotics and automation, future growth in the field, and how to get involved and contribute to RAS Technical Committee work.

Refreshments will be served! Come enjoy a snack and beverage, and meet some new colleagues!
Space is limited, so please register for this FREE networking event on-line:


Wednesday, 23 May 2018 from 12:30-14:00
Room P9, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre

This luncheon is open to student and young professional attendees offering the chance to meet and interact with Leaders from RAS and industry. Informal discussion over lunch will take place round table style. Join us for career advice, insights into where the field is headed, or general conversation to get to know Leaders in the field of robotics and automation.

Confirmed RAS Leaders include: Wolfram Burgard, Torsten Kroeger, Venkat Krovi, Yasushi Nakauchi, Zhidong Wang, Vijay Kumar, Tony Maciejewski, Satoshi Takodoro, Seth Hutchinson, Raja Chatila, Nancy Amato, Peter Corke, Hong Zhang, Jaydev P. Desai, Jing Xiao….

Space is limited, so please register in advance!

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