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Workerbots Begin Production in Europe
Posted 12/15/10 at 03:15 AM
... The workerbot is a flexible inspection and assembly robot system from pi4_robotics, a German optical inspection and image processing industrial robot manufacturer.
... Funded by the EU and developed jointly with the Fraunhofer Institute of Production Systems, workerbot, a direct competitor to America’s as-yet unreleased Heartland Robotics worker robots, sports two arms, three cameras (a 3D and two others for detailed inspection tasks), intuitive setup of new tasks (no programmer necessary), plug and play, low investment cost via leasing plan, and can safely work side by side with sitting or standing humans.
... Read “Manufacturing with Robots: prospects and Problems Ahead”.
Festo’s Robotic Elephant Arm Wins German Future Prize
Posted 12/03/10 at 12:37 PM
... It is described as a bionic handing assistant which allows humans and machines to work together safely and efficiently as a team. Possible areas of use include industry, agriculture, care facilities and even at home.
... The 250,000 Euro prize is shared with the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (IPA).
2010 Robotic Gifts for the Whole Family
Posted 10/30/10 at 02:44 PM
... For all ages: Parrot’s AR.Drone iPhone-controlled quadcopter.
... For Mom: a robotic vacuum from Neato or iRobot.
... For Dad: the adaptive cruise control option for his new car.
... For Grandparents and their grandkids: Pleo, the baby dinosaur.
... For little kids: Zhu Zhu pets.
... For pre-teen boys: RoboRaptor.
... For pre-teen girls: Bossa Nova’s Penbo robot and her baby Bebe.
... For robotically-interested 10 yo and older: LEGO Mindstorm robot kit.
Autism, Robotics and Apple’s iPad
Posted 10/28/10 at 08:43 AM
... An unintended consequence of the versatility, ease of use, size and colorfulness of Apple’s new iPad is its emerging use of with autistic children to help them communicate. One software app in particular is providing very innovative assistance: Proloque2go.
... The San Francisco SFWeekly did an very informative story on the subject.
... Kaspar, a portable, small robot developed in the UK to help low-end-of-spectrum autistic children become socialized, complements the mix of tools, software and therapies to help our disabled children.
DARPA to Develop Multi-purpose Hand
Posted 10/21/10 at 10:45 AM
UPDATE: Read IEEE interview with DARPA’s Dr. Robert Mandelbaum where, when asked whether there would be a trickle down effect into civilian applications, he said: “It won’t just trickle down—it will be a flood! The commercial applications will be all over the place.”
... DARPA has chosen lead vendors for a research project to develop a multiple-purpose hand, actually two hands working together. Project completion is mid-2014. Imagine a robot opening the zipper of a duffle and riffling through to find a specific object. Or picking up oddly shaped objects with both arms for search and rescue.
- Barrett Technology will develop and provide the hardware portion of the project.
- RE Squared will provide integration services for the Barrett hardware with additional sensors and a mobile platform.
Images from Taipei Int’l Robot Show
Posted 10/20/10 at 05:06 PM
... Images courtesy of our friends at PlasticPals.
... The International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) was held at the same time.
Stephen Colbert’s Droid Rage
Posted 10/01/10 at 09:05 PM
... On a recent Colbert Report, he shows a snake robot, Wall.e, an archer and the new skin from UC Berkeley: “Scientists teach robots how to lie, kill and feel shame about their naked bodies.”
... During a brief visual review of various other robots, he called a dancing ASIMO: “Awkward white-man dancing.”
... Very funny.
Five government agencies combine to fund a long list of robotic research
Posted 09/18/10 at 09:50 PM
... The Whitehouse Office of Science and Technology believes that “robotics is at a tipping point in terms of its usefulness and versatility” and is backing their belief with a fund to spur small business research.
... Companies can apply for up to $100,000 to aid research on a long list of areas of interest which include:
(1) Home care, personalized care for special-needs populations, and robotic wellness/health promotion
(2) Robot-assisted recovery, rehabilitation and behavioral therapy
(3) Surgical and interventional robots
(4) High-throughput robotics technologies
(5) Dexterous manipulators with tactile feedback
... Click to see the detailed funding announcement.
Just Released: 2010 Industrial and Service Robotics Market Analyses
Posted 09/14/10 at 09:52 AM
... Selected quotes from the International Federation of Robotics’ just-released 2010 statistical reports on the robotics industry:
... Industrial Robots: There are many reasons for a bright future in robotics: Huge consumer markets are opening up in China, India, Brazil and Russia. The competitive nature of the automotive companies results in new investments in production facilities in these markets. Other industries are following as well. The degree of automation in North America is comparatively low with a need to catch up through investments in robotics. After the substantial rise of robot sales in 2010, a further increase will resume in the period between 2011 and 2013 by about 9% per year on average in the Americas, about 12% in Asia/Australia and by 8% in Europe.
... Service Robots for Professional Use: Projections for 2010-2013 indicate that the number of professional service robots will double. Application areas with strong growth are defense (30+%), rescue and security applications, field robots, logistic systems, inspection robots, medical robots and mobile robot platforms for multiple use.
... Service Robots for Personal Use: Projected sales of all types of domestic robots (vacuum cleaning, lawn-mowing, window cleaning and other types) in the period 2010-2013 could reach some 6.7 million units. The market for entertainment and leisure robots, which includes toy robots, is forecast at about 4.6 million units. The two markets combined will yield more than $5 billion.
Two new books on the entrepreneurial side of robotics
Posted 09/05/10 at 12:38 AM
... There’s a chapter in Trade-Off by Kevin Maney where he describes how iRobot’s Roombas came to be and why they became such a success. It offers the thesis that there is a “trade-off between the fidelity of an experience and its convenience—and it’s more like the invention of a feature that gives an edge to an age-old product.”
... Change, circumstance and ego all worked to build and then unwind America’s first robot manufacturer is described in a soon to be published book: Pity the Pioneer: The Rise and Fall of Unimation. An excerpt is in Sept/Oct issue of Robot Magazine.
... Is America now sitting out the race for the future of robotics? Read BusinessWeek’s remarks about the clean energy sector and see the similarities.
Slow going for tele-robotic companies
Posted 09/04/10 at 09:43 PM
... In spite of many positive stories - the two most recent from IEEE Spectrum and John Markoff of the NY Times - security, bureaucracy, undefined need, undocumented benefit(s) and alternative non-robotic methodologies (eg: telecom companies, Skype) seem to be the culprits holding back progress.
... Many start-ups but few success stories. InTouch Health, is one of the latter, with a noble effort to be the eyes, ears and voices of doctors who cannot be there in person but can almost be by using InTouch’s line of RP robots and a laptop control station.
... Fred Nikgohar of RoboDynamics gives his spin on why progress is slow-going - and he’s on his 3rd year of selling experiences. Very informative interview with Singularity Hub’s Aaron Saenz.
Adept and RMT Robotics on a golden road to the East
Posted 08/24/10 at 11:03 PM
... Adept recently acquired MobileRobots which provides mobile robotic platforms to RMT Robotics and their ADAM line of mobile robots.
... Finnish Cimcorp’s recently acquired RMT Robotics announced that it now provides the ADAM line to a Korean integrator, Hanwha TechM who, in turn, is reselling them to a US battery manufacturer.
... Adept ships big order of parallel robots to Chinese integrator Austong Intelligent Robot Technology who is outfitting a Chinese dairy provider with the robots.
CBS News Sunday Morning Feature on Robots
Posted 08/04/10 at 09:03 AM
... Daniel Siebert reported on how robotic technology is becoming more than just science fiction and is changing our lives on a daily basis.
... “Enthusiasm for robots on the battlefield, it seems, is only outpaced by the speed with which the military is acquiring them,” says the author of “Wired for War,” P.W. Singer.
... Read Dwight Eisenhower’s warning about military-industrial complex - 49 years ago - still applicable today.
Robotic Surgeries and Teleoperated Surgical Devices
Posted 08/03/10 at 10:02 PM
... The FDA approved Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci surgical system not as a robotic system… but as a tele-manipulated medical device. Nevertheless, the device has been called a surgical robot by the press and also by Catherine Mohr, an Intuitive Surgical director (and professor at Stanford).
... Mohr recently wrote a Freakonomics NY Times piece explaining why minimally invasive robotic surgeries are cheaper than open or laparoscopic surgeries.
... An increasing array of procedures are performed by the da Vinci system, the most recent being hand surgery.
... Duke University is testing fully autonomous medical procedures such as prostate and breast biopsies and autopsies.
... China’s University Hospital of Tianjin is using a tele-manipulated surgical assistant (named “Little Hand”) similar to the da Vinci system.
... Israel’s Mazor Surgical Technologies has FDA approval for their SpineAssist robotic system which enables simulation and precise targeting and placement for intricate spinal implant operations. The robot enables the surgeon to improve accuracy from an estimated 3 millimeters to one-half millimeter.
Rescue Robots in the News
Posted 06/29/10 at 11:47 AM
... American start-up Hydronalix introduces E.M.I.L.Y., a robot lifeguard, to Malibu beaches. It uses sonar to shoot out to struggling victims (at up to 28 mph) and then utilizes telepresence to coach the victim onto the raft which then zooms back to shore and a waiting lifeguard.
... 27 teams from 12 countries took part in the RoboCup 2010 Rescue Robot competition last week in Singapore. Three Thailand teams won 1st and tied for 2nd place; Australia won 4th and Japan 5th in the annual contest to increase awareness of the challenges involved in search and rescue applications and sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
... NIST also sponsored (along with FEMA and Texas A&M) Disaster City’s annual Response Robot Evaluation Exercises earlier this year. These exercises enable search and rescue robotic providers to be able to test their equipment in simulated disaster situations and environments.
IBM Ready for Jeopardy! TV Challenge
Posted 06/18/10 at 01:44 AM
... Watson-level AI deftly handles semantics and is ready for Jeopardy! NY Times story includes videos and provides in-depth explanations. Must read!
... A.I. Question Answering (QA) technologies are critical in human-robot interaction and are, at present, a serious cog in robot development. Is this a generic A.I. breakthrough or…?
Robo-Stox™ Results thru May
Posted 05/29/10 at 08:26 AM
... Mark Twain once said about market panics (such as the one we had this month): A lie can run around the world six times while the truth is still putting on its pants.
... New financial regulations passed Senate and Goldman Sachs’ alleged greedy transactions having effect on American stocks.
... Spain’s bond rating lowered and complexities of Greek budgeting and cutbacks pushing down European stocks.
... Nevertheless, service robotics stocks still outperforming NASDAQ. Read 10 reasons why this is so.
10 Drivers Propelling Service Robotics
Posted 05/26/10 at 12:59 PM
... Fascinating review of economic drivers in play in the service robotics sector of the robotics industry.
New Study Shows Future Growth of UASs
Posted 05/21/10 at 12:33 AM
... Study commissioned by AUVSI shows UASs driving future growth of aerospace industry.
... Critical path point: integration of unmanned aircraft into the national air space requiring government, political and FAA changes as well as industry support for collision avoidance and communications system.
... Many new civilian applications suggested: pipe/power line surveillance, agricultural apps, movie and news production, mail/freight transport, flood mapping, real estate mapping, wildlife monitoring, damage surveying, infrastructure monitoring, weather and sea research, damage assessment and surveying, traffic monitoring, suspect tracking and border surveillance to name a few.
Willow Garage’s Noble Open Source Effort
Posted 05/06/10 at 03:56 PM
... 11 open source Personal Robots (PR2s) and their open source ROS (robotic operating system) were given away to encourage sharing systems, equipment and tools.
... Willow Garage is up against many entrenched obstacles in their quest for commonality and open source robotic equipment and software. One cartoon shows that typical robotics grad students spend 70% of their time re-inventing the wheel. If true, standardization appears to be needed.
National Robotics Week Results
Posted 04/30/10 at 07:33 AM
... Stanford Block Party displays many new inventions and products including SRI’s stickybot and drone. All in one place for crowds of people to see: WillowGarage’s PR2 and Texai telepresence robots; Neato vacuum; Meka’s arm; SRI’s new telesurgical robot to name a few.
... East Coast block parties and events equally successful and well-attended.
Do robots take away jobs from humans?
Posted 04/21/10 at 01:24 PM
... From an interview of Adept CEO John Dulchinos by GetRobo’s Noriko Kageki: Did you know that there are a billion cell phones per year being made globally of which 200-300 million are sold in the U.S. but not a single one is built in the U.S.? Ten years ago that was not the case. If the industry can’t remain competitive, then there are no jobs. And robots are automating tasks no longer done by hand. But in almost all cases those people are redeployed into other applications in the plant and allow the plant to grow and get much more efficient.
... BusinessWeek magazine reported this week that 15 of the top 50 Most Innovative Companies in 2010 are Asian, up from 5 in 2006. And, the majority in the top 25 are based outside the U.S.
Korea’s Strategic Investment Program Model for U.S.
Posted 04/19/10 at 09:54 AM
... BusinessWeek focuses on Koreas success in strategic investment to enable Korea to successfully compete worldwide.
... Last year they launched a plan to expand Korea’s economic base by promoting robotics and 16 other next-generation ventures. Seoul has invested $500 million in R&D and pilot projects to test education, entertainment and disaster-fighting robots. This includes the new R-Learning system scheduled for 500 preschools in 2011 ramping up to 8,000 by 2013.
... Robot exports jumped 10.5% in 2009 to $809 million. Korea aims to become one of top three robot manufacturers (currently #5).
... America’s roadmap for robotics development still floundering in the halls of Congress.
Pres. Obama Spells Out New NASA Direction
Posted 04/15/10 at 12:02 PM
... Obama pledges manned flights in the future - but not to the moon. There is to be a quickening pace between human and robotic exploration.
... NASA to rely on private industry to build new rockets and capsules.
... Robonaut 2, the humanoid robot developed by NASA and General Motors, begins work in the lab, working side-by-side with astronauts this September aboard the International Space Station.
First USDA approved hygienic food processing robot shipped
Posted 04/13/10 at 09:35 AM
... Adept shipped it’s new meat and poultry processing parallel robot bound for multiple primary food handling applications requiring high-speed USDA-approved processing.
... Two articles describing present and immediate future of robotics in food processing, packaging and handling.
... What’s cooking with food robotics? and
... Food for Thought: Robotics in the Food Industry, both by Bennett Brumson, RIA.
RoSS - latest Virtual Reality Training Simulator for da Vinci Robotic Surgical System
Posted 03/05/10 at 03:04 PM
... Supplementing training provided by Intuitive Surgical for their da Vinci Robotic Surgical System, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the U of Buffalo have developed a fully functional virtual reality training simulator named RoSS.
... Rumor has it that many da Vinci systems are “stalled” or underutilized because of insufficient training to maximize efficiencies of both surgeon and machine, hence the need for additional simulation training.
Killer drones are coming back to bite us in the ass
Posted 03/03/10 at 06:55 PM
... P.W. Singer, author of last year’s robotic hit “Wired for War,” writing in Newsweek, describes a fearful turn of events if inexpensive drones are turned against us.
... “Two thirds of worldwide investment in unmanned planes in 2010 will be spent by countries OTHER than the United States.”
... Singer’s fears are already happening in Taiwan where thieves use RC copters with cameras to spy on residences prior to burglarizing.
February, 2010 Robo-STOX™ results
Posted 02/28/10 at 02:35 AM
... Service robotics companies continued to do well in February even though the markets were flat.
Artemis joins Adam as scientific robot
Posted 02/20/10 at 10:14 PM
... Syngenta has launched an agriculture chemical formulation robot. The robot can make almost any liquid agrochemical formulation in small amounts, and perform a basic series of tests to see if those formulations are of interest for further research.
... Named Artemis after the Greek Goddess of the hunt, Artemis is also an acronym for Automated Robot to Evaluate Millions of Interesting Solutions.
... Adam is a robot scientist designed at Aberystwyth U and is the first robotic system to make a scientific discovery with virtually no human intellectual input. Adam was Time Magazines #4 Scientific Discovery of 2009.
Predictions for Robotic Businesses in 2010 and this decade
Posted 02/04/10 at 12:57 PM
... Sector by sector review in Everything-Robotic blog.
... Mature non-defense service applications doing well in 2010 and are generating longer term growth. Two examples:
(1) Kiva Systems doubled customers, distribution centers and corporate growth during 2009.
(2) Many companies are finding good response to new launches and existing quality products, e.g.: OC Robotics snake arm line of products for confined space, aerospace, security and nuclear needs.
... Governmental and military purchases for R&D and robotic products are steady even though defense spending has to come down sometime in the near future, e.g.: DARPA awarded Boston Dynamics a contract to develop LS3 - a “mule” that will carry 400 lbs and go 20 miles without refueling.
... Xconomy says the first large technological wave of the 21st century will be robotics. “Robots are migrating from structured environments (assembly lines) to unstructured (homes, offices, battlefields). The potentials are limitless.”
Robo-Stox™ Results Through 12/31/2009
Posted 01/09/10 at 06:54 AM
... Most countries robotics stocks didn’t fare as well as the NASDAQ Index with the exceptions of Canada, India, Israel and Taiwan (and a very few individual stocks). Although 2009 was a significant up year, robotic stocks have yet to recover their highs of 2007.
... Service robotic stocks didn’t do much better than industrial stocks except in Europe.
... As a sign of recovery, robotics-related job offers are up (inferred from LinkedIn and the Robotics-Worldwide mailing list).
... The seriousness of the stock drop (and corresponding loss of equity, orders and jobs) is clearly seen in these two Robo-Stox™ charts.
... Read an in-depth review by the Everything-Robotic blog.