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Robot Start-Ups are Spawning in the United States

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MCLEAN, Va., July 12, 2012 — The mechanical march of robotics is picking up serious steam in the United States. Two of every three start-ups in the industry worldwide are in the United States, according to a survey in The Robot Report.

Of 108 start-ups, 66 are in the United States, led by California (17), mainly in Silicon Valley; Pennsylvania (11), primarily Pittsburgh; and Massachusetts (nine).

International leaders for robotic start-ups include Canada with six; and Sweden, Spai and Japan, with four each.

Robots have mostly been used by automakers and semiconductor companies to produce goods in high volume. They're also in vogue at some warehouses. Amazon.com in March plunked down $775 million to acquire Kiva Systems, a maker of squat, cube-shape robots that move products around shipping centers.

But that was just the start. Cheap, powerful cameras, advanced sensors and other electronics now form the basis of robotics projects. In the 1990s, technology was pricey and limited to industrial settings where large companies could afford to make the necessary investments.

"These start-ups appear to be clustering in (Silicon Valley), Boston, Pittsburgh, Tokyo and Stockholm — all of which correspond with the locations of notable government or university-sponsored robotics research facilities, and in and around New York City," says Robot Report editor Frank Tobe.

Source: USA Today.com, © 2012 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.

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