Jump into Robotics Innovation

RobotLast week I attended MassTLC’s Robotics Summit. A morning event that gathered the robotics industry’s leading thinkers, makers and investors. Speakers and panelists discussed the current state of the industry, challenges faced and opportunities on the horizon. Let me tell you, if I took anything away from the event it’s that the robotics industry is smokin’ hott, super cool and changing the world.

The general public needs to stop worrying about drones killing us, robots taking our jobs and self-driving cars causing more damage than good.

Robots are here to help, not hurt, society. We already see how they’re increasing efficiencies across industries, aiding in national security, helping students learn and offering mobility to those with disabilities. From robots in the home and advances in AI, to automation and rehabilitation, the opportunities are endless.

So what’s the biggest challenge then? Moving away from a linear model of innovation.

Well, that’s one of the challenges according to the event’s keynote speaker, Kaigham Gabriel, president and CEO of Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, MA.

Gabriel questioned the audience about innovation:

  • “Why does it need to take 20 years?”
  • “Why do you need a roadmap?”

It doesn’t and you don’t. Gabriel explained that the biggest creative leaps come from the best jumpers.

Jumpers like Tye Brady, a distinguished member of the technical staff at Draper Laboratories and Steve Paschall, a senior systems engineer and spacecraft GNC engineer at the Lab. Brady and Paschall developed GENIE, an autonomous guidance, navigation and control avionics system that’s capable of autonomous precision planetary landings with real-time trajectory planning and hazard avoidance maneuvers. In layman’s terms: a real life rocketship that can actually set a target, land on it and avoid hazardous objects.

This is actually rocket science.

Brady and Paschall are rocket scientists who have a passion for their craft.They give new meaning to breakthrough innovations and Gabriel discussed some of the elements that made their project a success:

  • Bold goals
  • A fixed duration for the project — timelines inspire the most creative and focused work
  • Industry-leading project leaders, mostly performers — the people actually executing the work
  • An organizational infrastructure that supports speed and agility during projects

The interesting thing about innovation is that it’s not selective. You don’t have to work at a startup to spark innovation. You don’t have to be at a big corporation or venture-backed company to develop the latest innovation that will change an industry. You just need to change your perception of what’s possible.

If you’d like to know more about the event, check out MassTLC’s blog that includes key takeaways. Better yet, if you’re a eager to become more involved with the Massachusetts robotics community, be sure to keep tabs on MassRobotics — an amazing organization promoting robotics innovation throughout the Commonwealth.


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Boston's Mower office is a full-service technology marketing, PR and branding agency. Our B2B stories illustrate projects and campaigns in a variety of markets and media that range from local impact in Boston and New England to global proportions.


  1. Reading this material is such a good thing. You will really appreciate the personalities laid in here. Robotics is a field that covers almost all the spheres of technology, whether it is Mechanical, Electronics, Computer Programming, Designing Techniques or any other technical skills based on respective applications.

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