Autonomous robots and game-playing A.I. — incredible demos at Disrupt London, Dec 5-6

TechCrunch Disrupt in London is on December 5-6. Grab tickets here. As well as speakers and panels, we’ll be featuring some demos by some amazing tech companies.

The first will be by Boston Dynamics. Yes, folks, delegates to Disrupt London will get to see one of those amazing BD robots up close and personal, almost literally in the flesh (if they had any flesh, that is).

Marc Raibert, CTO and founder of Boston Dynamics will be demonstrating one of the amazing robots his team has created, but you’ll have to come to find out which one…

Raibert was a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT and a member of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory from 1986 through 1995. Raibert’s research is devoted to the study of systems that move dynamically, including physical robots and animated creatures. Raibert’s laboratory at MIT, the Leg Lab, is well-known for its work on systems that move dynamically, including legged robots, simulated mechanisms and animated figures.

The Leg Lab created a series of laboratory robots, including one-legged hoppers, biped runners, a quadruped and two kangaroo-like robots. Taken collectively, these robots travel along simple paths, balance themselves actively, climb a simple stairway, run fast (13.1 mph), run with several gaits and do rudimentary gymnastic maneuvers.

A couple of years ago two robots (and 3 students) appeared in Rising Sun with Sean Connery and Wesley Snipes. The Leg Lab also created On The Run, a computer-generated cartoon in which all the characters were animated using simulation and control. Work at Boston Dynamics on automated characters and physics-based dynamic simulation are outgrowths of research done by Raibert’s group at MIT.

Raibert received a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Northeastern University in 1973, and a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1977. His PhD thesis, entitled “Motor control and learning by the state space model,” used robotics techniques to model biological behavior. He worked on robot sensing and control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Caltech from 1977 through 1980. He was on the faculty of Carnegie Mellon University Computer Science Department and the Robotics Institute from 1981-1986. He is the author of Legged Robots That Balance, published by MIT Press, is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Robotics Research, was guest editor of two issues of IJRR devoted to legged systems and is a fellow of the AAAI.

Meanwhile, also coming along will be Chris Boos, founder and CEO of Arago, a leading artificial intelligence company that helps businesses automate their IT processes through intelligent automation.

Chris has set his team to making their platform play a particular game, which is actually more complex than Go, the Chinese game which DeepMind conquered with AlphaGo. But you should grab a ticket to find out which games, and how they got on.

Chris oversees strategy and product development at Arago — helping to establish the company at the forefront of artificial intelligence — and continues ongoing research in AI, while guiding Arago’s technology applications in business. An expert in graph theory and decision systems, Chris studied computer sciences at ETH Zurich, as well as Technical University Darmstadt, did research in U.S. and European institutions and was awarded the John F. Kennedy National Leadership Award in 2003.

Besides his corporate involvement, Chris is still active in R&D and sits on several boards, supporting the European startup scene via angel investments. You can follow Chris’ thoughts on the future and AI here.

The two-day Disrupt conference runs December 5-6 in the Olympic Village’s Copper Box Arena and features Startup Alley and Startup Battlefield, where one startup will take home £30,000. You can buy early-bird tickets for Disrupt London here.

You want to display your company? Then go for a booth in the Startup Alley. For startups there is also the brand new CrunchMatch program, where we match startups to investors. Check it all out here.

Early-bird tickets are now available to purchase for the discounted price of just £950 apiece. You can get your tickets at this price until 4 December.

For all you students out there, the deal is about to get even sweeter. We have a limited selection of student tickets to Disrupt London 2016 for just £100 plus VAT, provided you have both a valid university ID and current transcripts.

To reserve your £100 student tickets to Disrupt, simply send a copy of your transcripts showing your current enrollment status, as well as a copy of your university identification card, to Once you’re approved, we’ll send you instructions for how to complete your registration.

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