December 11, 2023

In my 7.5 years as TechCrunch Hardware Editor, I’ve been struck by the depth and breadth of this category. Range is one of the most fulfilling and frustrating parts of the show — all at the same time. So when my lead told me we were doing a full day of hardware programming at Disrupt, I was both excited and overwhelmed.

I’m glad we’re finally giving hardware time to shine in its own right. However, when the group proposals started, the question suddenly became less about what to include and more about what we had to leave out. What an embarrassing treasure hardware is. On any given day, you’ll find me writing about mobile phones, 3D printing and manufacturing, and more.

Ultimately, our goal for this stage is to provide broad themes that represent the state of hardware in 2023, while providing some insight into where things are headed. We still have a couple of groups that aren’t ready to announce, but I think you’ll find the current lineup to be a solid cross-category, including robotics, crowdfunding, and extended reality.

Everyone seems to be talking about VR and AR these days. Few people are better equipped to discuss the rise and fall of the field than Magic Leap CEO Peggy Johnson. We’ll also discuss where crowdfunding is headed with Kickstarter’s new CEO, Everette Taylor.

On the robotics side, we had Wendy Tan White, CEO of Alphabet Intrinsic, chat with Brian Gerkey, CEO of Robot Operating System (ROS) management company Open Robotics (which Intrinsic acquired late last year).

We will also be joined by Agility Robotics CEO Damion Shelton and CTO (and former Fetch CEO) Melonee Wise, along with some of their bipedal Digit robots. Meanwhile, Farm-ng’s Claire Delaunay, Dusty Robotics’ Tessa Lau, and Diligent’s Andrea Thomaz discuss the next big category once the field is realized. Between construction, agtech, and healthcare, we should cover that.

Like I said, we’re not done yet. We have a few more sessions left and I can’t wait to tell you about them. The hardware stage is scheduled for September 21st – the third day of Disrupt. Buy your pass today and save up to $600. Student, government and nonprofit passes are only $195. August 11th at 11:59pm PDT Price increase.

Check out the agenda below and see you in San Francisco.

TechCrunch Disrupt 2023’s Hardware Stage Agenda

Mixed reality finds focus

with Peggy Johnson (Magic Leap)

Even the most impressive technologies have a hard time finding a market. Magic Leap, one of the best-funded hardware startups, isn’t taking the consumer world by storm. Since becoming CEO, Peggy Johnson has led the company’s pivot to industrial applications. With Meta, HTC, and now Apple vying for market share, has the mixed reality moment finally arrived?

Crowdfunding the future

With Everette Taylor (Kickstarter)

The Kickstarter name has been synonymous with crowdfunding for more than a decade, but the platform has faced some challenges in recent years. Everette Taylor, who takes over as CEO in late 2022, will discuss how the company is adapting for the future.

automation education

Collaboration with Brian Gerkey (Open Robotics) and Wendy Tan White (Alphabet and Intrinsic)

Alphabet X graduate Intrinsic was founded with a lofty goal: to make programming robots accessible. The company is far from the first to tackle this problem, but it has many advantages, including Google’s vast resources. We are joined by Founder and CEO Wendy Tan White, as is Brian Gerkey, who joined the team when Intrinsic acquired Open Robotics in December.

stand up

In collaboration with Damion Shelton (Agility Robotics) and Melonee Wise (Agility Robotics)

Agility has cracked the code on biped robots with its digital systems. Now it’s looking to push its technology to work. CEO Damion Shelton and CTO Melonee Wise will discuss why the company is taking a different approach to the wheel-heavy space of warehouse robotics.

What’s next for robotics?

Working with Claire Delaunay (Farm-ng), Tessa Lau (Dusty Robotics) and Andrea Thomaz (Diligent)

After conquering the warehouse during the pandemic, what’s next for automation? Agriculture, construction and healthcare are all safe bets. Farm-ng’s Claire Delaunay, Dusty Robotics’ Tessa Lau, and Diligent’s Andrea Thomaz will discuss the future of robotics.

TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 will be held September 19-21 in San Francisco. Buy your pass today and save up to $600. Student, government and nonprofit passes are only $195. August 11th at 11:59pm PDT Price increase.

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