Thursday, July 24, 2014

JIBO: a game changing social robot

JIBO, a 2013 Boston start-up, launched an IndieGoGo campaign last week and is off to a rousing start, lots of favorable press, and, as of the time of this writing, has raised more than $700,000 over their $100,000 goal.

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Posted on 07/20/14

Will agricultural robots arrive in time to keep fruit and vegetable costs down?

77% of all agricultural workers in the U.S. are foreign born and about half of those are undocumented (1). These low-wage workers have helped keep American food prices reasonable - especially for growing, harvesting and processing fruits and vegetables. 

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Posted on 07/10/14

2013 Robotics Funding Up 32% From 2012

UPDATED 7-3-14: Once again Google-X Labs' roboticist entrepreneur Travis Deyle has released his compilation of robotics-related venture funding for 2013. The results show a 32% increase over 2012 and $250.7 million for 19 start-ups.

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Posted on 07/03/14

Why was this man smiling at AUTOMATICA?

34,500 visitors from more than 100 countries came to Munich this June to visit AUTOMATICA 2014 and examine the robotics-related wares of 731 exhibitors from over 42 countries. 

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Posted on 06/16/14

SoftBank + Aldebaran = Pepper

The latest creation from Aldebaran Robotics, Pepper, is designed to live with humans. It doesn’t clean or cook but it talks, is mobile, can read emotions, and reacts autonomously to "make people happy."

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Posted on 06/06/14

17% CAGR forecast for home cleaning, remote presence and home entertainment robots

A recent Business Insider article, Beyond Factory Robots: Market Forecast and Growth Trends for Consumer and Office Robots, concludes that for the period from now until 2019, consumer and office robots will grow at a 17% CAGR - 7 times faster than the market for manufacturing robots.

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Posted on 05/31/14

Biggest Maker Faire held at San Mateo Event Center, May 17 - 18

Maker Faire, held at the San Mateo Event Center May 17-18, was the biggest Maker Faire Bay Area to date with over 1,100 makers exhibiting their projects, hobbies, products, and innovations.

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Posted on 05/29/14

America’s dominance in military robotics is starting to crumble

Foreign Policy Magazine's recent examination of "The Looming Robotics Gap" by University of Pennsylvania International Relations Associate Professor Michael C Horowitz, and recent Pentagon insider on national security issues, is an up-to-date review of the world-wide state of military robotics.

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Posted on 05/17/14

Notices and Awards

Steadily the service robotics movement is gaining traction. Contracts are being given, funding is arranged, companies are expanding, partnerships are happening and all the while a stream of youths are inspired to enter STEM career paths.

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Posted on 05/02/14

Make time for these informative (and cool) videos

This wide-ranging group of robotics-related videos are worth watching. Set aside some time, make sure you have a hi-speed connection, and watch them. They range from cool to informative to downright scary.

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Posted on 04/28/14

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China International Robot Show (CIROS) a BIG hit

CIROS, the China International Robot Show held last week in Shanghai had record crowds, record numbers of exhibitors, 168,000 sq ft of exhibition space, and exuded confidence in a thriving up-and-coming Chinese robotics industry.

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Posted on 07/16/14

Top 10 take-aways from AUTOMATICA 2014

When you see a slick robot - say for instance the new Aldebaran Pepper robot - you can easily be distracted by the design, the gestures, the interaction, the cuteness. But AUTOMATICA reminds you that there's a whole lot of "stuff" going on inside that robot.

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Posted on 07/01/14

Migration from Mexico to U.S. tapering off

In a recent newsletter from Harvest Automation, the start-up company that produces robots that move potted plants at nurseries and greenhouses, HA cites two very revealing trends regarding migrant workers.

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Posted on 06/25/14

IFR Maker/User Panel at AUTOMATICA

In a crowded back room at AUTOMATICA 2014 in Munich, the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) sponsored a panel of prominent robot users explaining their needs to a panel of executives representing the major robot manufacturers.

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Posted on 06/10/14

Recent Fundings

The biggest funding was announced at AUTOMATICA 2014: The Partnership for Robotics in Europe launched SPARC - a €2.8 billion public-private program to increase Europe's share of the global robotics market. Two smaller fundings in the Service Robotics space also occurred.

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Posted on 06/08/14

There’s no business like show business

Robotic Arts, a Las Vegas designer and integrator of robots used in novel ways for entertainment purposes, and Royal Caribbean International, are working together to provide a unique hi-tech robotic entertainment for their newest cruise ships.

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Posted on 05/26/14

Robots begin to attack waste and dirt

In Finland, there's an army of robots sorting, selecting and processing trash, while in Cincinnati bactobots are targeting and neutralizing bacteria in waste water. Here's a review of what is happening in the commercial world of cleaning and waste:

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Posted on 05/16/14

A pragmatic spin on the “uncanny valley” theory

One of the most talked about theories in robotics is Professor Masahiro Mori's uncanny valley - the graph he developed from his experiences with various types of arm/hand prosthetics and coverings.

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Posted on 04/29/14

#Robots14 event “From Imagination to Market” is itself imaginative

An adage in tech funding is, "It's not what you know, it's who you know?" Aaron Horowitz (left) and Hannah Chung (in the bear suit on the right) boost that concept - and their visibility - by wearing bear suits resembling their teddy bear robot Jerry to conferences. It certainly raises their Klout score.

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Posted on 04/20/14

Wrap-up of UAV news

Google acquires Titan Aerospace for $60 million; Facebook acquires Ascenta for $20 million; Groupe Gorgé, through ECA, acquires Infotron for $10 million and the Navy is building a new UAV center. Here’s a wrap-up of these and other UAV stories in the news:

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Posted on 04/18/14

Robots for entertainment - Part II

Entertainment users of robots include movie studios (e.g., “Gravity”), entertainers (e.g., Blue Man Group), rides (Disney Epcot Center), resorts (Wynn) and bartenders (Bicardi and Coca Cola).

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Posted on 07/19/14

3 Exoskeleton Companies Go Public

First came Ekso Bionics with an alternative public offering that netted $30.3 million; then Cyberdyne let its stock be listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange; and last week the WSJ reported that ReWalk Robotics had filed an IPO and planned to raise $57.5 million.

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Posted on 07/13/14

Keeping jobs in-country, Part II

One of robotics' most colorful proponents is Drew Greenblatt, President of Marlin Steel. In a recent NY Times article he vividly describes how he has used robots to automate basket-making to a precision - and competitive - artform.

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Posted on 06/30/14

12.6% CAGR forecast for mobile robotics market

A recent $4,800 Transparency Market Research report forecasts that for the period from now until 2019, the global mobile robotics market will grow at a 12.6% CAGR.

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Posted on 06/20/14

Global robotics and autonomous systems patents tripled in last 10 years

The UK Government Patent Office, in a global study of recent patents, has identified 8 technologies which they believe will propel future growth across the world.

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Posted on 06/14/14

BP gets first FAA approval to use commercial UAVs

BP, the oil and energy company, received the first FAA early-use approval to fly Puma UAVs in and around Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. 

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Posted on 06/11/14

IFR reports record 2013 industrial robot sales

At a press conference this morning at AUTOMATICA 2014 in Munich, International Federation of Robotics (IFR) President Arturo Baroncelli announced that 179,000 industrial robots were sold in 2013, a 12% jump from 2012 and the highest number of units sold ever.

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Posted on 06/04/14

Small Unmanned Systems Business Expo (May 8-9, San Francisco)

"sUSB Expo 2014 showed signs of a maturing drone industry," said Antoine Martin of Unmanned Vehicle Systems Consulting.

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Posted on 05/28/14

Titan Medical secures $34.8 million from public offerings

Titan Medical, a publicly-traded Canadian start-up company developing a robotic surgical system for minimally-invasive surgeries, announced the completion of two rounds of public offering totally $34.8 million.

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Posted on 05/23/14

Make it smart; make it here!

Make it smart and make it here! These are the rallying words heard around the world regarding keeping jobs in-country and manufacturing smarter, more efficiently, and less costly.

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Posted on 04/27/14