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4th Annual Entrepreneur's Showcase & Leadership Forum

Building the Ocean Future

Please contact Gretchen McManamin at with questions.

July 19-20, 2018
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

THEME: Disruptive and Disrupting

While the marine robotics space is disruptive, at the same time, we are being disrupted by emerging technologies such as advances in machine learning, additive manufacturing, decline in costs of components, energy scavenging, growing infrastructure in the offshore environments, and the Internet of Things. The 4th Annual Forum will examine inflection points in the introduction of robotic systems to routine use in the marine environment. Come join us to hear leaders from diverse technologies areas discuss impact on marine robotics and the impact of marine robotics on the larger ocean enterprise.

  • How are new technologies changing the kinds of robots we build?
  • How are new technologies changing the process of design?
  • How are new robots disrupting existing ocean activities?
  • How are new robots enabling new ocean activities?
  • What type of professionals do we need to support these new approaches?


New this year! We will be holding the Showcase event on the WHOI dock with the opportunity to demonstrate technologies and innovations in the WHOI test well, off the side of the dock or potentially from a small vessel.


  • Disrupting Defense
  • The Artificial Intelligence Future
  • People, Money, and Ideas

Entrepreneur Forum First-look Agenda

10:00am – 11:00am Formal Opening, Tour and Demonstration of the new Pressure Test Facility
Village Hill Campus, Adjacent to Blake Building/Deep Submergence Lab
Mr. Damon Cox, Assistant Secretary of Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Chair of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative Board, will open the facility.
9:00am – 11:00am Showcase Exhibitor and Demonstration Set-Up
Under Tent on Paul’s Mall, WHOI Dock behind Bigelow Building
1:00pm – 4:00pm Entrepreneurs Showcase, In-Water Demonstrations and Networking Social
Under Tent on Paul’s Mall, WHOI Dock behind Bigelow Building
(Light refreshments served)
4:00pm – 6:00pm Beer and ‘Bots Social (Part I)
Under Tent on Paul’s Mall, WHOI Dock behind Bigelow Building
(Refreshments and Heavy Appetizers Served)
Leadership Forum
Clark 507, Quissett Campus
8:00am – 8:30am Breakfast (provided)
8:30am – 8:45am Introduction: Dr. Jim Bellingham, Director, WHOI Consortium for Marine Robotics
Building the Ocean Future Through Disruptive and Disrupting Technologies
8:45am-9:15am Keynote Speaker
David Mindell, "Our Robots, Ourselves," CEO, Humatics; and Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, MIT
9:15am – 10:45am Session: Disrupting Defense

  • Helen Greiner – “Robots in the Army,” Co-founder of iRobot and CTO of CyPhyWorks
  • BGEN Frank Kelley (ret) – "Recovering DASN Unmanned," Vice President, Defense Acquisition University
  • Christine Fox – “Robotics in Defense,” Assistant Director of Policy and Analysis, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory
  • Rob Mushen – “Submarines and Robots,” Office of Naval Research Global Science Advisor, Undersea Warfighting Development Center
10:45am – 11:00am Networking Break
11:00am – 12:00pm Company Flash Talks
Rapporteur: Leslie-Ann McGee, Assistant Director, CMR
12:00pm – 12:30pm Lunch (provided)
12:30pm – 1:00pm Lunch Talk
Prof. Michael Littman, "Misunderstandings About Medium-term AI Futures"
Co-director, Humanity Centered Robotics Initiative, Brown University; Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence
1:00 – 2:30pm Session: The Artificial Intelligence Future

  • Mikell Taylor – “Manpower & Co-Robots,” Senior Director Program Management, Veo Robotics
  • Dana Yoerger – “Ocean Vision for Marine Robotics (OceanX),” Senior Scientist, Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering, WHOI
  • Yogi Girdhar – “Curious Robots,” Assistant Scientist, Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering, WHOI
  • Michael Littman – Professor of Computer Science, Brown University
2:30pm – 3:00pm Networking Break - Beer and ‘Bots (Part II)
3:00pm – 3:30pm Company Flash Talks
Rapporteur: Leslie-Ann McGee, Assistant Director, CMR
3:30pm – 5:00pm Session: Future of Marine Robotic Industry - People, Money & Ideas

  • Eric Stackpole – “From Kickstarter to Consumer Robotics,” Co-Founder, OpenROV
  • Steve An – “The Changing Venture Capital Landscape," Serial Entrepreneur, Avalon Ventures
  • Ken Morse – “Bringing Together Small and Big Companies,” CEO, Entrepreneurship Ventures
  • Mark Abbott – “The Future of Innovation,” President and Director, WHOI
5:00pm Closing Comments and Adjourn
Dr. Jim Bellingham