Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey (center), with Lt. Gov. Kimberly Driscoll, MassTech CEO Carolyn Kirk, Undersecretary of Economic Foundations Ashley Stolba, and MassRobotics' team in Boston.

Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey (blue jacket, center), with Lt. Gov. Kimberly Driscoll, MassTech CEO Carolyn Kirk, Undersecretary of Economic Foundations Ashley Stolba, and MassRobotics’ team in Boston. Source: Office of the Governor

By The Robot Report Staff | April 8, 2024

To kick off National Robotics Week, Massachusetts Governor Maura T. Healey today continued her Mass Leads Road Show with visits to MassRobotics and the North Andover High School.  

“Massachusetts is proud to be home to one of the lead robotics hubs in the world, and it’s essential that we continue to lengthen this lead through targeted investments like the Mass Leads Act,” said Gov. Healey. “It was great to see the innovative work being done in robotics from high school students in North Andover to cutting-edge startups at MassRobotics.” 

The visits were part of the governor’s Mass Leads Act Road Show, during which she is traveling to communities across the commonwealth to highlight the ways in which her recently proposed economic development bill would grow the state’s economy, support businesses, and attract talent. The bill proposes $25 million for a new Robotics Investment Program that would advance the state’s leadership in the robotics sector through research, commercialization, and training.

MassRobotics supports local innovators

“We are excited to be joined by the governor, lieutenant governor, and staff members to celebrate National Robotics Week,” stated Tom Ryden, executive director of MassRobotics. “Robotics is an important industry in the state, employing over 5,000 people and shipping thousands of robots every month.”

“Massachusetts is truly the hub of robotics and recognized as a world leader,” he added. “With the continued support in the Mass Leads Act, this exciting industry will continue to grow in size and impact throughout the state.”

MassRobotics describes itself as “the largest independent robotics hub dedicated to accelerating innovation and adoption in the field of robotics.” The Boston-based organization recently kicked off Mass Robotics Accelerator, powered by Mass Tech Collaborative, to support 10 startups through an intensive 13-week program.

During their visit, Gov. Healey and Lt. Gov.  Kim Driscoll toured a lab space and met some of the startups housed at the facility. They also saw a classroom that is used for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education. 

Massachusetts Gov. Healey with rStream CEO Ian Goodine and CTO Ethan Walko, co-founders of Accelerator startup rStream.

Lt. Gov. Driscoll and Gov. Healey with CEO Ian Goodine and CTO Ethan Walko, co-founders of Accelerator startup rStream. Source: MassRobotics

See Accelerator startups at Robotics Summit & Expo

MassRobotics will host a pavilion with the startups in its accelerator program at the 2024 Robotics Summit & Expo, which will be on May 1 and 2 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. The startups will exhibit on the show floor and discuss their experiences in a session on Wednesday, May 1, at 4:15 p.m. EDT.

MassRobotics, a strategic partner of WTWH Media, which produces The Robot Report and the Robotics Summit, will also host an Engineering Career Fair and announce its Form & Function Challenge winners. Registration is now open for the Robotics Summit & Expo.

Massachusetts invests in robotics leadership

Earlier this year, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MassTech) launched a new $5 million initiative to boost the robotics sector across the state. The new department, established within the Innovation Institute at MassTech, is focused on supporting robotics research and development, testing, and workforce development.

“The investments proposed in the Mass Leads Act will help Massachusetts secure our leadership in the robotics sector,” said Yvonne Hao, secretary of economic development for Massachusetts. “The proposed robotics capital program at MassTech and reauthorization of the R&D Fund will drive innovation by funding research, commercialization, and training across the state.”

“MassTech’s mission is to create opportunities for growth in the Massachusetts innovation economy, and that definitely includes robotics,” said Carolyn Kirk, CEO of MassTech. “Our Innovation Institute implements a unique model for the state that spurs economic growth — together with industry leaders, academic researchers, and policymakers. MassTech is proud to help drive the competitiveness of tech and innovation through strategic investments and partnerships.”

The MassTech Collaborative Innovation Institute has received state funding.

The Innovation Institute has received state funding. Source: MassTech Collaborative

Governor visits North Andover High School, new Amazon warehouse

In North Andover, Gov. Healey met with the high school robotics club and congratulated the team ahead of the Vex Robotics World Championships, which they will compete in later this month. She saw its robotics projects and presented a proclamation for National Robotics Week.

“There’s a reason why 1 in 4 robotics patents are earned by Massachusetts inventors – it’s because we prioritize giving this industry the tools it needs to thrive,” said Driscoll. “Our administration is excited to continue supporting robotics entrepreneurs, as well as expanding opportunities for students to participate in STEM education and see themselves in a future career like robotics.”

Healey and Driscoll also visited a new Amazon warehouse in North Andover with 4 million sq. ft. of space. It cost $400 million to build and will employ 1,500 people, according to Amazon. The facility will also include thousands of robots, reported The Boston Globe.

“It’s applied robotics,” said Tye Brady, chief technologist at Amazon. “They’re not doing backflips or dances out there on the floor — I love those, I get it — but they’re doing the job of moving goods on time and very reliably.”

Brady will deliver a keynote on Amazon’s robotics strategy on May 1 at the Robotics Summit & Expo.

Massachusetts is committed to continuing its leadership in artificial intelligence and robotics and to retaining more of the talent that comes out its many educational institutions, the governor told The Robot Report.