European Robotics Week 2017: 1000 local events expected to show the value of robotics to the public

The importance of robotics for Europe's regions will be the focus of a week-long celebration of robotics taking place around Europe on 17–27 November 2017. The European Robotics Week 2017 (ERW2017) is expected to include more than 1000 local events for the public — open days by factories and research laboratories, school visits by robots, talks by experts and robot competitions are just some of the events.

Robotics is increasingly important in education. "Since 2011, we have been asking schools throughout all regions of Europe to demonstrate robotics education at all levels," says Reinhard Lafrenz, the Secretary General of euRobotics, the association for robotics researchers and industry which organises ERW2017. "I am delighted that many skilled teachers and enthusiastic local organisers have taken up this challenge and we have seen huge success in participation, with over 1000 events expected to be organised in all regions of Europe this year."

All over Europe, ERW2017 will show the public how robots can support our daily lives, for example, by helping during surgery and, in future, by providing support and care for people with disabilities, or how robots can monitor the environment. Robotics is also an essential part of EU-funded digital innovation hubs and could, in future, contribute to the creation of new jobs.

Some of the highlights of the ERW events announced so far are:

  • in Italy, the School of Robotics will webstream an event at the KUKA robot company;
  • in Bosnia-Herzegovina, there will be dozens of SPARKreactors League robotics competitions;
  • in Latvia and Iceland, there will be ERW events for the first time;
  • in Spain, over 200 events are being organised in schools, more than half of them in Catalonia;
  • in Germany, nearly 40 events will include First Lego League competitions for young people, and education day at the Fraunhofer IPA research organisation and a humanoid robot workshop at Hamburg University of Technology.

The ERW2017 Central Event organised in Brussels will see the “Robots Discovery” exhibition hosted by the European Committee of the Regions 20-23 November), where robotics experts from 30 European and regionally funded projects will outline how their work can impact our society. The exhibiting projects will show robots in healthcare, by helping during surgery or providing support for elderly care, how they can help students develop digital skills, how robots can monitor the environment and apply agricultural chemicals with precision and less waste or how they can help to save lives after disasters.

Other events organised in Belgium include the Eurospace Center which will run robotics classes for children (24 November), and the demonstration in Brussels of the self-driving bus of the Finnish Metropolia University of Applied Sciences (22-23 November). ERW2017 will overlap with the last week of the month-long InQbet hackathon on innovation in robotics and artificial intelligence.

euRobotics has recorded 400 000 visitors across Europe to events at the six previous ERWs.

Find your local ERW activities at www.eu-robotics.net/robotics_week/events/index.html

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