Carnegie Mellon University
October 05, 2011

Press Release: Innovative Ideas for Health Care Robotics Put Five Companies in Finals of Nation's First RoboBowl Competition

Teams Face Blue-Ribbon Judging Panel Oct. 13 at Carnegie Mellon University

Contacts: Byron Spice /                                  
Kristen Sabol /
PITTSBURGH—The Robotics Technology Consortium, Carnegie Mellon University and the Innovation Accelerator today announced the five teams from across the United States that are finalists in the inaugural RoboBowl venture competition. The entrepreneurial teams will compete before a blue-ribbon panel of judges at Carnegie Mellon on Oct. 13.

RoboBowl Pittsburgh is the first in a series of national "next-generation robotics" venture competitions intended to find and foster startup and early-stage companies seeking to develop products and services that address unmet and underserved market needs in targeted industrial sectors. The initial event in Pittsburgh seeks to identify new ventures with compelling ideas for next-generation robotics products or services in the health care and quality of life industries. Each finalist receives $5,000 and a chance to win an additional $20,000. 

The finalists are:

  • Bright Cloud International Corp, Highland Park, N.J.
  • Interbots, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • Origami Robotics, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • RescueBotics, Mountain View, Calif.
  • TactSense Technologies, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Summaries of the finalists' proposals are available at

"We are pleased that the initial RoboBowl competition in Pittsburgh has attracted national interest and that it is taking place in conjunction with the "Innovation Accelerator @ Carnegie Mellon" event the following day," said John Pyrovolakis, founder and CEO of the Innovation Accelerator.  "We look forward to the opportunity for the finalist teams to present their innovative ideas for how robotics technology can be adapted to meet some of our most challenging problems in health care."

The judges for the final round competition include Pyrovolakis; Helen Greiner, president and CEO CyPhyWorks, president and CEO, Robotics Technology Consortium, iRobot co-founder; Nathan Harding, co-founder and CTO, Berkeley Bionics; Venetia Kontogouris, senior managing director, Trident Venture Capital; Rich Lunak, president and CEO, Innovation Works; Steven S. Martin, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska; and Frank DiMeo, vice president, Technical Staff, Physical & Biological Technologies Practice, In-Q-Tel.

The event will also feature opening comments by high level representatives from the National Science Foundation and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as well as a keynote presentation by Rory Cooper, Co-Director of the Quality of Life Technology Center, a NSF Engineering Research Center operated jointly by Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh.


RoboBowl Pittsburgh ( is the first of what is expected to be a series of new venture competitions intended to find and foster start-up and early-stage companies seeking to develop products and services in health care, manufacturing, national defense, education, and other domains based on next-generation robotics technology. The inaugural RoboBowl competition in Pittsburgh is focused on U.S.-based startup or early-stage business with an idea or concept for using next-generation robotics technology to develop and bring to market a compelling product or service that addresses unmet or underserved needs in the healthcare and quality of life industries. Future RoboBowl competitions are expected to take place in various locations across the U.S. and focus on next-generation robotics technology solutions in other domains in addition to health care and quality of life, including manufacturing and logistics, national defense, homeland security, civil infrastructure, energy, transportation, and field industries such as agriculture and mining. 

The Robotics Technology Consortium is a non-profit industry organization created to speed the transition and deployment of robotics technology for the Defense Department and other government organizations. The consortium was established to meet a need identified by the Office of the Secretary of Defense Joint Ground Robotics Enterprise (OSD/JGRE). The RTC currently has a membership of over 150 large and small commercial companies, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations. The RTC seeks to solicit and engage companies and organizations that may not have historically performed work for the Defense Department and other government organizations in addition to traditional defense contractors.

The Innovation Accelerator is the private side of a public-private partnership with a Federal Agency of the United States of America. The Innovation Accelerator's mission is to promote our nation's economic competitiveness in the global economy by promoting our nation's innovation. The Innovation Accelerator has attracted over $100 million into SBIR recipients over the past two years, and has previously conducted Innovation summits at MIT and Stanford.

Carnegie Mellon University ( is a private, internationally ranked research university with programs in areas ranging from science, technology and business, to public policy, the humanities and the arts. More than 11,000 students in the university's seven schools and colleges benefit from a small student-to-faculty ratio and an education characterized by its focus on creating and implementing solutions for real problems, interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation. A global university, Carnegie Mellon's main campus in the United States is in Pittsburgh, Pa. It has campuses in California's Silicon Valley and Qatar, and programs in Asia, Australia, Europe and Mexico. The university is in the midst of a $1 billion fundraising campaign, titled "Inspire Innovation: The Campaign for Carnegie Mellon University," which aims to build its endowment, support faculty, students and innovative research, and enhance the physical campus with equipment and facility improvements.

Next-generation robotics encompasses and integrates a broad array of actuation, electronic, sensor, software, man-machine interface, and other enabling technologies to produce intelligent, networked devices, platforms, vehicles, and other products that operate with ever-increasing levels of autonomy. Next-gen robotics products and applications function as intelligent co-workers, co-inhabitants, and co-protectors in dynamic, dangerous, and/or inaccessible environments, reducing the need for tedious human attention, interaction, and intervention. Next-gen robotics solutions enable individuals to concentrate on the higher-level and more important aspects of their lives and jobs, to multi-task more effectively, and to work at a safe distance when needed. No other technology has the potential to address such a diverse set of critical needs facing our nation, including reinvigorating the U.S. manufacturing base, reducing health care costs, protecting our citizens, inspiring our youth to pursue STEM-related careers, caring for our aging population, and enabling people with disabilities to lead normal and productive lives.