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Obama Announces Robotics, Manufacturing Initiatives at NREC
June 24, 2011

President Barack Obama came to the Robotics Institute’s National Robotics Engineering Center in Lawrenceville on Friday to launch a major manufacturing initiative, the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership.

He also claimed that he was there to “keep an eye on robots,” which he explained to be one of his responsibilities as Commander in Chief. “I’m pleased to report that the robots you manufacture here seem peaceful – at least for now.”

Though his tongue was firmly in his cheek, robots were a serious component of the new manufacturing partnership, which will include Carnegie Mellon and five other research universities. Part of the plan is a new National Robotics Initiative, in which the National Science Foundation, NASA, National Institutes of Health and the Department of Agriculture will make $70 million available to support research in next-generation robots.

“Carnegie Mellon is a great example of what it means to move forward,” the President said. “At its founding, no one would have imagined that a trade school for the sons and daughters of steelworkers would one day become one of the region’s largest employers and a global research university. And yet, innovations led by your professors and your students have created more than 300 companies and 9,000 jobs over the past 15 years – companies like Carnegie Robotics.”

Prior to addressing an invited audience of about 150 people, the President saw demonstrations of several technologies, including the sewer and water pipe inspection robot developed by Robotics Institute spin-off RedZone Robotics.

“We are pleased to welcome President Obama to Carnegie Mellon University today,” said Jared L. Cohon, president of Carnegie Mellon. “The steps announced by the President will advance U.S. leadership, spur new industries and create new jobs.

“Robotics is at the heart of the race for 21st century global economic leadership, as current and emerging robotic innovations will become increasingly vital to keeping us healthy, safe and prosperous in the next decade and beyond,” Cohon continued. “Now, more than ever, it’s important that industry, academia, and government work together to ensure our economic security and global competitiveness.”

A video of President Obama’s remarks is available online. A transcript also is available. He also taped his weekly video address during his visit to NREC, including a mention of RedZone Robotics.

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