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i24News Summary of ICR2023

Israel looks to the future with robotics conference

Ariel Levin-Waldman


‘In every technology, there is a boom in development and then it dies off until the technology is mature and ready. We are there in robotics’

The world of robotics is upon us – at the 7th Israeli Conference on Robotics, the future is being written one circuit at a time, with technology developing exponentially faster every day.

“The field of robotics has awakened in the last few years,” said Professor Zvi Shiller, founder of the Israel Conference on Robotics. “First of all, the technology has matured. In every technology, there is a boom in development and then it dies off until the technology is mature and ready. We are there in robotics,” he told the conference.

“Recently, in the last few years, artificial intelligence has come closer to mechanical systems, and to controlling mechanical systems – this is usually due to using machine learning, and this is a very promising development because when you bring the two together, you can do things today that you couldn’t do just five years ago,” he added.

Simple robots have been a cornerstone of manufacturing for decades, but they are very limited in what they can do and where they can be deployed. Soon, more complex machines will be ubiquitous.

“You will find in the next ten years a whole lot of different robots for a single mission,” said Yehuda Emlaliah, CEO and co-founder of the Cogniteam software company. “For example, a drone delivery robot is a single mission, it does one thing – bring food from place A to place B. Also, in hospitals, sanitization robots. A lot of startups will make their own robots with unique solutions,” he told i24NEWS.

But the machines will not simply work around us, they will also work inside us – mechanized medicine may soon have something like this.

Momentis Surgical, an Israeli company that designs innovative surgical robot technologies, empowers surgeons to perform minimally-invasive procedures.

“The surgeon is using the controllers to activate the instrument’s arms that are actually inside the patient,” Tel Aviv of Momentis Surgical told i24NEWS as she used a robot prototype on display at the conference. “These are fully articulated with seven degrees of freedom. This gives the surgeon something he never had,” she explained.

The arms of the robot move and cut with inhuman precision, and they never tired or tremble.

“You shorten the procedure time by one-third or more. A hysterectomy can take anywhere from three to five hours when done endoscopically. Our robot surgeon can do it in 30 minutes,” she claimed.

And while a surgeon must be trained for years, a robot can be mass-produced. Another robot at the conference, bearing a tiny knife, operates on human eyes…

“We combine all these technologies to close the gap between the lack of surgeons and the huge amount of patients that need procedures,” said Dr. Daniel Glozman, CEO and co-founder of ForSight Robotics. “We can standardize the procedures and do it with a robotic platform,” he told i24NEWS.

The conference shows off not just new toys, but addresses complicated issues: How will robots impact our economies? How will we work with, or against them in the market? At which point does a machine gain personhood?

Whether such questions are uncomfortable or not, we can’t put this robotic phenomenon in a box.

Prof. Zvi Shiller

IROB founder and Chair. Professor at Ariel University and founder of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics and the Paslin Robotics and Autonomous Vehicle Laboratory. Head of the Master program in Mechanical Engineering. His main research interests include model-based motion planning and control of autonomous vehicles, and the development of affordable assistive robotic devices.