Robots circled overhead, swam in a pool, mowed the lawn, tossed balls and delighted the investors, robotics fans and students who enjoyed the celebration today at the 2014 Silicon Valley Robot Block Party hosted by WilmerHale law firm and Silicon Valley Robotics, a professional association that supports innovation in robotic technologies.
More than 40 robots roved the grounds and the hallways of one of the Silicon Valley's fastest growing law firms, demonstrating abilities ranging from the mundane task of cleaning windows to the miraculous capacity to assist surgeons in the most difficult procedures. Featuring the hottest startups and the coolest robots, the fifth annual Robot Block Party attracted people of all ages—from inquisitive school kids to interested investors—to the free afternoon event.
"All of us at WilmerHale are dedicated to serving this important industry, and we were proud to host this exciting showcase that demonstrated how more affordable and adaptable robotic technologies can transform the home and the workplace," said Glenn Luinenburg, a WilmerHale partner who specializes in startups, venture capital firms and robotics companies. "Today's event represented a great opportunity to see the robotic innovations that are part of a new economic ecosystem that promises to be as significant to the Silicon Valley as the software revolution."
Throughout the afternoon, high school students and hobbyists explained their ideas for future innovations along with the founders of startups and Silicon Valley firms that already are marketing their robotic technologies to the public.
The Silicon Valley Robot Block Party is one of the premier events of the fifth annual National Robotics Week, April 5–13. The week-long commemoration celebrates America's leadership in robotics, educates the public about robotics, advocates for increased funding for robotics, and seeks to inspire students of all ages to pursue careers in robotics and other science, technology, engineering and math-related fields.
Just before the opening of today's public event at WilmerHale, college students and other job-seekers attended a job fair featuring the robotics firms. The 2014 Robot Block Party is the first one to take place at WilmerHale. Stanford University's Volkswagen Automation Innovation Lab hosted the four previous Silicon Valley Robot Block parties.
"Moving the Robot Block Party from a major research institute to a law firm that specializes in business and high technology symbolizes the emergence of the robotics industry from the lab and into the commercial mainstream," said Andra Keay, Silicon Valley Robotics managing director. "We appreciated WilmerHale taking a leadership role in hosting the event. The law firm's support of these enterprising entrepreneurs is another important sign of the growth and maturity of the robotics industry in the Silicon Valley."