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Heartland Robotics and Automation Conference: Setting the Stage for a Robotic Future

The recent Heartland Robotics and Automation Conference in Lincoln, NE was nothing short of spectacular. It brought together 180+ attendees, including undergrad and postgrad students, industry professionals, and academia to explore the latest trends and advancements in the world of robotics and automation. The conference featured expert keynote speakers, panel discussions, and demonstration activities, providing attendees with a wealth of information on robotics and automation combined with fantastic opportunities for networking and collaboration.

Why Robotics and Automation Matter

In today's fast-paced world, robotics and automation are crucial in enhancing productivity, streamlining industries, and making our lives easier. From manufacturing and agriculture to medicine and space exploration, robotics and automation have increasingly simplified tasks and improved efficiency across various sectors.

Keynote Speakers: Exploring the Future of Robotics and Automation

The conference kicked off with an opening keynote by David Rollinson, HEBI Robotics, on "Building Practical Robots for Today." It was followed by presentations from Dr. Randal Beard, Brigham Young University, on "Vision-Based Tracking with Small UAVs"; Erick Mumm, Honeybee Robotics, on "Robotics and Automation for Space Systems"; and Carsten Horn, Applications Engineering Manager - Maxon Group, on "Robotic Actuators, Sizing and Component Selection."

The panel discussions included the Hardware Panel Breakout Session moderated by Chad Johnson, Co-founder of Grain Weevil, and the Software Panel Breakout Session hosted by Ben Williamson. Each panelist shared their insights and experiences within their respective fields, providing attendees with a comprehensive understanding of robotics and automation from various perspectives.

Demonstrations: A Hands-On Look at the Latest Innovations

Three demonstration activities were set up during the conference, providing real-life examples of the latest innovations in robotics and automation:

Huskerbot Highlight

One of the major highlights of the conference was the presentation by Invest Nebraska CEO Dan Hoffman to Dr. Santosh Pitla and his students, who won the Complexity in Design Prize at the 2023 The Farm Robotics Challenge Virtual Awards Ceremony for their Huskerbot innovation.

The Huskerbot combines machine learning and precise herbicide application to revolutionize sustainable farming practices. This innovative robot has the potential to drastically reduce the use of harmful chemicals, improve crop yield, and contribute to a more sustainable future for agriculture.

Taking Robotics and Automation to the Next Level

The conference concluded with an inspiring call to action from Shane Farritor of Virtual Incision, reminding attendees of the importance of continuing to innovate and build within Nebraska's growing robotics and automation sector.

The Heartland Robotics and Automation Conference was a resounding success, exceeding all expectations and leaving attendees, both students and professionals alike, eager to explore further advancements and possibilities in this exciting realm. With groundbreaking innovations like the Huskerbot, there's no doubt that the future of robotics and automation will continue to shine bright in Nebraska.

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