Left Column Top Stories
Heartland Robotics and Manufacturing
Posted 12/20/09 at 07:27 AM
... Watch a video of Rodney Brooks entitled Remaking Robotics with Manufacturing.
... Heartland gets 2nd round of financing with a vision to reinvigorate American manufacturing. Jeff Bezos’ venture arm was a major investor.
... “Our robots will help revitalize this important sector of the economy by offering efficiencies and versatility where traditional industrial robotic solutions are cost prohibitive or insufficiently flexible” said Heartland’s Rodney Brooks.
... Obrero robot was developed at MIT and is a humanoid robot focused on sensitive manipulation.
Best Wishes for an Exciting Robotics New Year
Posted 12/19/09 at 01:41 PM
... ‘Christmas Fun with Electronic Robots’ was the cover story from 51-year-old partially scanned and Photoshopped issue of now defunct Popular Electronics magazine’s, December, 1958 issue - which sold for 35 cents!
Recently published robotic studies:
Posted 12/10/09 at 12:00 PM
... Majority of adults prefer robotic home help to a care facility finds GA Tech survey. “Respondents preferred robots that could perform chores and didn’t much care if the robot wasn’t designed for chat although robots that could issue alerts to the owner or his/her doctor in an emergency found particular favor with the older group of respondents.”
... Early therapy helps autistic kids says Time Magazine. Ten years ago, autism was rarely detected before ages 3 or 4. Now, with screening at 18 and 24 months, early detection is possible. Although there is much anecdotal evidence to the contrary, “little research exists on how to intervene effectively for children so young.”
... Robotic surgery improves outcomes, decreases length of hospital stays, and reduces surgical complications and recovery times are findings of a multi-institutional study appearing in August issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology. “Robotics is at least equivalent if not superior [to traditional surgical methodologies]...”
Posted 10/16/09 at 07:00 AM
... Sensory-motor fusion system produces fastest robotic hands ever seen video from U of Tokyo Ishikawa Komuro Lab.
... Panasonic’s robotic bed transforms into a wheelchair.
... AV’s new spy hummingbird has mastered pitch, roll, yaw and altitude control and is ready for deployment.
... Kawasaki video shows welding robots used in new ways in shipbuilding.
... iRobot and Darpa develop chem-bot that changes shape and can slip through holes.
... Japanese consortium has developed and is field testing a robotic snowplow.
Civilian Robots help police
Posted 10/10/09 at 04:49 PM
... Many, many stories like these:
... In Indianapolis, robot enters home, its four cameras quickly spied purp and, using onboard voice function, told him to come outside.
... In Florida, jurors watch video taken by robot showing events that led up to a murder.
The Future of R&D in America
Posted 09/12/09 at 09:37 AM
... BusinessWeek magazine’s Cover Story “The Radical Future of R&D” hits the nail on the head about the future of technology in America: we’ve failed for the last decade and without immediate public-private initiatives we’re on target to be the technology provider for off-shore manufacturers.
... Their story “How Science Can Create Millions of New Jobs” describes how strategic public-private investments can repair the broken U.S. business model and put Americans back to work.
... Controversial examples about different approaches: “Big Blue’s Global Lab” and “Microsoft Resarch Keeps Dreaming Big”.
... Public-private partnerships set up to tackle strategic American problems are the objective… but it takes legislative action and funding.
Military, Security, Productivity, Science and Fun
Posted 09/12/09 at 09:33 AM
... The Boston Globe once again presents a gallery of robots making news.
Good News for Service Robotics
Posted 09/01/09 at 10:35 AM
... iRobot gets single largest order from the military (486 PackBots).
... Husqvarna has reached 100,000 in sales of its Automower robotic lawn mowers.
Aneesh Chopra, America’s new CTO
Posted 08/08/09 at 11:22 AM
... From a story in Technology Review: “It is my intention as CTO to focus on public-private collaboration to ...invest in a more targeted R&D opportunity that would bring private sector resources, universities and the public sector together for a given problem ...to focus federal policy on leveraging information technology to revamp health care, education and the energy infrastructure. The administration has three key goals for strengthening American’s competitiveness and driving innovation. Improve the environment for private-sector innovation; invest in the building blocks of innovation such as human capital, fundamental research, and infrastructure, and third, harness innovation to address key national priorities: accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy, allowing Americans to lead longer, healthier lives, and making government more open and transparent.”
... Not a single word about robotics.
... The Harvard Business Review says that: After decades of outsourcing factory work to low-wage countries, Americans can no longer make many of the high-value goods that matter in the 21st century… not even Amazon’s Kindle e-reader! ...What to do? Government and private industry must work together to rebuild what can be called the nation’s industrial commons (akin to the grazing land that farmers shared for their herds).
... RoboCluster - a Danish public-private partnership (P-PIP) - helps industry extend development and innovation - not just by helping companies that want to introduce robotics technology, but also by addressing specific robotics problems that, if achieved will address strategic national priorities.
More than 7,000 U.S. UAV’s and more on order
Posted 07/28/09 at 10:54 AM
... Predators and Reapers, hand-launched Ravens and Shadows - all are part of the U.S.‘s arsenal at work in Iraq and Afganistan.
... Sec of Defense Gates wants more UAV’s and has said the F-35 will be the last manned fighter aircraft.
... 40+ countries also are developing drones with an Iranian UAV shot down over Iraq a few months ago.
... Military uses of UAV’s multiply but commercial uses thwarted by lack of safe and affordable FAA-type regulation(s).
... State of the situation regarding regulating UAV’s in American airspace—a white paper.
... Assoc. for Unmanned Vehicles has over 6,000 members from 50 countries.
Robotic Toys in the news
Posted 07/12/09 at 03:39 PM
... Bossa Nova Robotics introduces two new robotic toys based on technology from Carnegie Mellon’s Robotic Institute: Prime-8 and Penbo.
... Sega Toys’ latest robotic cat has sensors so that it can react when petted and purrs when certain words are spoken.
... Jetta Company (Hong Kong) has acquired the assets and licenses to continue to manufacture the Pleo dinosaur.
... Japan Robotics Assoc. forecasts the market for personal and lifestyle robots will grow to $15 billion by 2015, 75% of which will be in the robotic toys marketplace.
Idea Contest for Affordable Robots
Posted 06/19/09 at 06:53 PM
... As PR for ICAR 2009 which met in Munich in June, participants submitted plans and costs for household and assistant robots. PDFs of submitted ideas can be viewed here.
“Watson” to test IBM’s AI on Jeopardy!
Posted 04/28/09 at 08:02 AM
... The complexity of the challenge is underscored by the subtlety involved in capturing the exact meaning of a spoken sentence. For example, the sentence “I never said she stole my money” can have seven different meanings depending on which word is stressed.
20,000 cheer 18th annual FIRST student championship at Georgia Dome in Atlanta
Posted 04/18/09 at 10:33 AM
... California team wins 18th annual FIRST Robotics competition
... The average age of the engineer cheering Apollo 11 on the day it landed on the moon was 26. Eight years and two months earlier, on the day JFK challenged us to land a man on the moon, their average age was 18!
Center Column Featured Links
Robotics in 2009
Posted 12/31/09 at 06:34 AM
... The Everything-Robotic blog reviews business changes during the year and cites America’s lack of investment and attention toward the industry.
... Singularity Hub has a pictorial presentation of Best Robots of 2009.
... MIT produced a comprehensive The Year in Robotics.
... Time Magazine’s #4 Scientific Discovery of 2009 was “Adam,” a machine designed at Aberystwyth U. Adam is the first robotic system to make a scientific discovery with virtually no human intellectual input.
... IDG News Service also produced a 2009 Robot Review video.
Revelations from iREX 2009
Posted 11/29/09 at 04:56 PM
... 101,000 visitors. Largest robotics trade show in the world.
... Read a review of iREX 2009 (International Robotics Exposition) held November 25-28, 2009 in Tokyo.
Robo-Stox™ Results Year-to-date (11-21)
Posted 11/26/09 at 02:54 PM
... Robotic stocks - particularly service robotic stocks - are advancing faster than jobs and orders… faster even than the NASDAQ and DOW indexes as shown in the Robo-Stox™ chart above.
... Defense-related and industrial robotics companies are buying or converting into service robotics companies. Although America has proposed a “roadmap” for robotic development, Europe, Korea and Japan are already implementing their roadmaps with much success, which appears to be reflected in their stock prices.
... Rainer Bischoff, in his presentation The Future of Service Robotics at iREX2009, described how technology, economics and customer demand are all working together to make this transition happen and to take robots out of their cages and put them safely to work alongside humans in small and medium enterprises of all types (a lucrative new marketplace for robotics).
New rules are needed to safely integrate unmanned aircraft into the US Airspace System
Posted 11/22/09 at 01:03 PM
... There are wonderful UAV products available for use by police, rescue, fire, drug and border patrol (as well as for commercial purposes such as research, exploration, imaging, survey, mapping, spraying, etc.), yet there are no regulations that enable those products to fly.
... If you have the time and energy, here are the key people at FAA to lobby.
... Canadians are having the same problem with Transport Canada.
... Europeans are spending money on collision avoidance systems to remove objections to UAVs—many steps ahead of the American process.
Unmanned War Planes Making News
Posted 10/21/09 at 06:54 PM
... 36 armed unmanned AF planes are flying over Afghanistan and Iraq 24 hours each and every day; hundreds of smaller UAV’s are also being flown by the Army, Marines and coalition countries, says Esquire Magazine’s November feature story.
... NPR’s Terry Grossman reports that the CIA has their own secret fleet, flown from facilities in VA, with assassination lists provided outside of military channels (including 50 Afghan drug warlords).
... 500 2-man AF teams (pilot and camera / communications) operate from bases in NV, TX, CA, ND and NY with special take-off and landing crews in Afghanistan and Iraq. No information about what the CIA is doing. But they all report a high incidence of post traumatic stress disorder even though the “pilots” aren’t even in the target areas.
... “This year the Air Force will train more UAV pilots than fighter and bomber pilots combined. Next year, the United States will buy more unmanned aircraft than manned.” (Esquire)
Pleo Returns - Fixes, downloads, sales and new site up and functioning
Posted 10/19/09 at 06:20 PM
... Innvo Labs Corp. (Hong Kong and Carson City, NV), is the new host/owner for Pleo dinosaurs. PleoWorld is the new website and there’s even a PleoWorld MySpace page.
... Sales now available through worldwide distributers except in the US where Innvo Labs’ PleoWorld Store will be the sole source until Amazon and other retailers use up their stock of Ugobo Pleos at discounted prices and adhere to Innvo’s new suggested retail prices.
... Improved battery charger available for existing Pleo owners; customer service desk now open for repairs; new personality downloads available; and a developer kit is available for schools, universities and serious hackers.
2008 Results from IFR: $11 billion service robots; $19 billion industrial
Posted 10/05/09 at 09:13 AM
... “Because the largest user group of industrial robots - car makers - will not return to high purchase volumes, robot manufacturers are putting effort into the handling and green power segments, with a wide range of new applications.”
Klaus M. Paulus, Managing Director Sales, Automotive & Welding Systems, MOTOMAN robotic GmbH, Germany
... See ABB Robot‘s pancake handling robot. 110 picks per minute, and hygienic to boot!
... “As the end to this global economic crisis approaches, at least three specific aspects of our industry will be the basis of a sustainable re-growth of the business: (1) an even higher ratio performance/price; (2) the development in the “new” markets (BRIC and not only); (3) new apps generated by more widespread competences in robotic technology.”
Arturo Baroncelli, Sales & Marketing, Comau Robotics, Italy
DARPA and DEKA’s Revolutionary Robotic Prosthetics in the News
Posted 09/21/09 at 09:18 AM
... 60 Minutes featured DARPA and DEKA’s Revolutionary Prosthetics robotic arm and announced that they are in clinical trials.
Science of learning to reinvent teaching techniques—including robot teachers and tutors
Posted 07/28/09 at 03:02 PM
... Two articles in July’s ‘Science’ journal discuss need for reinventing teaching techniques: Foundations for a New Science of Learning by Meltzoff and Dyslexia: A New Synergy Between Education and Cognitive Neuroscience by Gabrieli.
... Japan’s ATR has a new P-PIP to research projects to study robots that work (1) in a classroom environment to help people’s learning, and (2) in a home and shopping mall environment to help elderly people’s daily activity. The P-PIP is actually hiring multi-disciplinary researchers today.
Eye-Catching Photos of Robots Making News
Posted 03/05/09 at 04:11 PM
... Click image to enlarge; click headline to see the full-sized pictures from The Boston Globe
America Needs a Bold Innovation Strategy
Posted 03/02/09 at 10:02 AM
... Fortune Magazine’s CTO shortlist
... Obama’s new Chief of Technology needs to be robot-friendly
... Accelerating robotic development not only needs a CTO but also an innovation action plan
... America ranks #8 in global innovation; government focus can help move us up
... Thousands of geeky, brilliant engineering wonks at MIT, Stanford and campuses around the country are pouring their hearts into cool new ideas