The show brought out a lot of new players in Robotics, especially the new generation of robots aimed at enterprise and commercial customers. Virtual visitors from all over the world could visit the show using the BEAM robots from Suitable Technologies (a Willow Garage spinoff). Also on display were Baxter (from Rethink Robotics), the UR5 from Universal Robots, a Danish company that has been making waves in the US robotics market and the UBR-1, a new robot from another Willow Garage spinoff (Unbounded Robotics).
The trends emerging are clear: (1) low-cost (2) safety and operation around people (3) easier to use teaching interfaces. Some early prototypes aimed at the consumer market were intriguing, e.g. Budgee, a shopping cart robot that can follow you around. Its clear that these robots are not yet ready for the market but the concept merits attention. The trend in the education market, on the other hand, is much clearer and primed for maturity by the success of the PR2. The Baxter Research robot and the UBR-1 are two robots hoping to take advantage of this trend. Similarly, the UR5 shows how an easy to use teaching interface combined with a solid robot (with good quality of motion) can fill an existing gap in the commercial and industrial arena.
Overall, its an exciting time to be in Robotics.