Open Robotics and Boston Dynamics join the ARM Institute

Open Robotics and Boston Dynamics join the ARM Institute

PITTSBURGH — The Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute, or ARM, announced on social media today that Open Robotics and Boston Dynamics have joined its membership, which now includes more than 240 organizations. ARM is a public-private consortium dedicated to helping U.S. manufacturers be competitive through automation and workforce development.

The ARM Institute was founded in 2017 and receives funding from the U.S. Department of Defense. It operates as part of the Manufacturing USA network. ARM’s membership includes government, industry, and academia

Last September, ARM opened new headquarters at Mill 19 at Hazelwood Green in Pittsburgh. In March, it named Ira Moskowitz, former director of Advanced Manufacturing Programs for the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, as its new CEO.

Open Robotics and Boston Dynamics prominent partners

Like ARM, Open Robotics (formerly Open Source Robotics Foundation Inc.) works with industry, academia, and government as it develops and supports open-source software and hardware. The nonprofit organization recently celebrated 10 years of work on the Robot Operating System (ROS), which is used in research, education, and commercial robotics development.

Open Robotics has offices in Mountain View, Calif., and Singapore and also offers Gazebo, an open-source robotics simulator. Among other projects, it is a contractor for the DARPA Subterranean Challenge.

Boston Dynamics is well-known for its videos of legged robots. The Waltham, Mass.-based company spun out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1992 and was acquired by Google parent Alphabet Inc. in 2013. Alphabet then sold Boston Dynamics to SoftBank Group in 2016.

Since then, the company has focused on commercializing its products, including the Spot quadruped robot and its Handle robot for handling pallets. Boston Dynamics and OTTO Motors demonstrated their warehouse automation systems last month. Spot is being tested by construction sites, Cirque du Soleil, and other users.

Boston Dynamics acquired machine vision firm Kinema Systems last year, and it made the software developer’s kit for Spot open-source in January.

Boston Dynamics supported Team CoStar in the DARPA Subterranean Challenge. Source: Open Robotics

Strength through diversity

“The diversity of the ARM ecosystem allows us to catalyze projects that solve real problems,” Jay Douglass, chief operating officer of ARM, told The Robot Report. “Our membership bridges the gap between industry and government to strengthen U.S. manufacturing through collaboration.”

The organization recently announced a new Technology Project Call, which features an increase from eight to 12 topic areas, with five newly identified market opportunities. ARM has also called for projects focused on sustainment and maintenance of U.S. military systems.

In addition, the ARM Institute is also accepting proposals for COVID-19-focused technology and workforce development projects until April 20, 2020. Visit its website for more details.

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