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InformationWeek’s Top 10 robots that could change healthcare
Posted 12/19/12 at 08:45 AM
... Mobile remote-presence robots by Giraff, Anybots and InTouch Health for critical and remote care consultations and communication.
... Mobile platforms by Aethon, iRobot and Swisslog for various hospital applications from hauling laundry to distributing pills.
... Therapy bots by AnthroTronix and others to help with autistic children, stroke victims and other disabled people that need interactive therapy.
... Feeding bots by Bestic. This is one of two Swedish-supported companies mentioned in the article (Giraff being the other) which strategically solve serious in-country needs with robotic solutions.
... And futuristic microbots that steer through the body by various means to distribute medicines, provide information and remove plaque - from leading universities around the world.
... Curiously omitted are minimally invasive surgical augmentation robots like the new single-port Intuitive Surgical da Vinci robot.
... Pics and details here.
Unmanned Vehicle University Accredited To Grant Doctorate and Masters Degrees
Posted 12/13/12 at 02:50 PM
... Unmanned Vehicle University just received an Arizona state license to grant Graduate Doctorate and Masters Degrees in Unmanned (Air / Ground / Sea / Space) Systems Engineering.
... The Arizona school also offers UAV pilot training, online courses, and Project Management Certificates for undergraduates.
The patent grip loosens
Posted 12/10/12 at 11:43 AM
... VGo Communications wins infringement lawsuit brought on by InTouch Health and also initiated a patent reexamination of four other InTouch patents.
... The court’s decision is a bigger subject than just InTouch vs. VGo. At a recent conference on remote presence telemedicine the most enlightening thing I saw was four hours of tightly-packed presentations by critical care doctors and hospital administrators, all users of InTouch Health’s remote presence robots, all portraying different aspects of why remote presence in health care is relevant, is saving lives and is necessary today and why it will continue to be in the future. Certainly there is room for more companies to assist in this very noble work.
... Patents being used competitively in the robotics healthcare community is a serious issue as this case points out. Read more....
Interactive Map of Global Robot Providers
Posted 11/25/12 at 12:46 PM
... 200+ industrial robot makers (red markers); 600+ service robot providers (blue markers) and 170+ start-up companies (green markers) covering 37 countries around the world.
... Clusters can be seen surrounding the top 20 robotics universities and research labs (shown in yellow).
... Details here.
... Map here.
Recent funding for robotics companies
Posted 11/24/12 at 03:31 PM
... MAKO Surgical gets $43 million from the sale of common stock. MAKO produces a robotic orthopedic surgical platform for implant placement. MAKO’s stock (NASDAQ:MAKO) has had a dramatic downward ride from a high of $45 to it’s present $14 because of missed revenue and earnings projections.
... Revolve Robotics, a San Francisco start-up with a remote telepresence device, shared a $1.85 million round of funding with 4 other start-up companies in the LEMNOS Labs stable of hardware incubator companies.
... Unmanned Innovation, a Newport Beach, CA start-up also in the LEMNOS Labs incubator group, is a producer of auto-pilot components for UAVs and also shares in the $1.85 million funding round.
VGo Gets Funding to Scale Up for Healthcare
Posted 11/23/12 at 03:11 PM
... VGo Communications received $900,000 debt financing to help the company scale up and focus on providing remote presence for the healthcare industry.
... They’ve changed their website to present the various ways that VGo robots can be useful in hospitals, with visiting nurses, as a post-op communication device and for medically home-bound students.
... VGo has taken in close to $11 million in venture funding and debt financing since it was founded in 2007. But now they are centering their marketing on a particular market niche from which they’ve had much success and good press: healthcare.
Lockheed Martin Acquires UAV Maker Chandler/May
Posted 11/14/12 at 06:40 PM
... Lockheed Martin acquires ChandlerMay for an undisclosed amount. The new acquisition will join Lockheed’s Mission Systems & Sensors (MS2) business.
... ChandlerMay, with facilities in Huntsville, AL and San Luis Obispo, CA, has produced over 2,500 UAVs for the military, mostly as a subcontractor to Lockheed. ChandlerMay also produces UAS ground control stations and tactical systems software and support.
... Lockheed’s MS2 focuses on UAS including the unmanned K-MAX helicopter the Marines are testing in Afghanistan, the Desert Hawk UAV (which ChandlerMay produced), and provides systems engineering, software development and management.
Chris Anderson, Wired editor-in-chief, resigns to run 3D Robotics
Posted 11/04/12 at 07:49 PM
... Anderson has held the editor-in-chief position for 11 years during which time, in addition to his work at Wired, he authored three books and founded DIY Drones and co-founded 3D Robotics. He also grew Wired’s circulation and won eight magazine awards. In 2010, Adweek named Wired its magazine of the decade.
... Now he is leaving Wired to pursue an entrepreneurial dream by becoming CEO of 3D Robotics, the manufacturing arm for DIY Drones’ UAV product line and store.
... DIY Drones is a 30,600 strong member group focused on amateur UAVs, contests, sharing and the fun of building and flying.
... UPDATE: 11/5: 3D Robotics gets $5 million in VC funding from True Ventures, O’Reilly Alpha Tech Ventures and Chris Michel. With the funding and a new sales, marketing and community development office in the Bay Area, 3D Robotics will accelerate growth and expand into new markets. 3D Robotics already employs 40 people in their R&D facility in San Diego and factory in Tijuana, Mexico.
Wave Glider transmits real time weather data during Hurricane Sandy
Posted 10/31/12 at 06:11 PM
... One of Liquid Robotics’ Wave Gliders successfully piloted itself through Hurricane Sandy winds and transmitted weather data in real time.
... The Wave Glider was in the region 100 miles off the coast of New Jersey. It’s sensors reported a plunge in barometric pressure to a low of 946 as it battled 70 knot winds.
... It was on a scientific demo run for underwater acoustics company Sonardyne, Rutgers University and the mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS).
First Sighting of FoxBots in China
Posted 10/15/12 at 07:08 AM
... Foxconn said they would be deploying 1 million robots in their factories in China. The first photographs of one of those appeared in Chinese news last week.
... 10,000 turquoise FoxBots have been installed in a factory in Jincheng, China.
... News sources estimate that Foxconn is behind schedule to meet their goal of 300,000 by the end of 2012; 30,000 appears to be the real number.
... But the big story is that these robots appear to have been built by Foxconn itself.
Chinese Companies Cited by Congress as IP Threats
Posted 10/08/12 at 02:45 PM
... “I would find another vendor if you care about your intellectual property, if you care about your consumer’s privacy and you care about the national security of the United States of American,” said House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers on CBS 60-Minutes regarding Huawei and ZTE, two Chinese telecommunications conglomerates.
... Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine did a cover story and exposé earlier this year as they have done three years in a row… it’s that important of an issue.
... iRobot CEO Colin Angle said recently: Robotics innovation represents a tremendous opportunity for economic growth akin to automobiles, aerospace and information technology. If we are to freely share our ‘intellectual capital’ on the open market we risk losing the economic engine that will advance our economies and send growth and jobs overseas.
... An in-depth review of the issues and concerns can be found in this Wall Street Journal story.
Robotics And The Mountain Of Things We Throw Away
Posted 09/29/12 at 12:37 PM
... “Cities are like badger holes, ringed with trash - surrounded by piles of wrecked and rusting automobiles, and almost smothered in rubbish. Everything we use comes in boxes, cartons, bins, the so-called packaging we love so much. The mountain of things we throw away are much greater than the things we use.” John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley.
... Zen Robotics, a Finnish company which makes recycling systems that use robots, just raised $17 million from Invus/Evergreen and Lifeline Ventures. Additionally, Zen sold a recycling system to the Baetsen Group (The Netherlands) and it will be operational in Q1 of 2013.
... In other trashy news: Grand Rapids, Michigan became the most recent user of a robotic waste bin pickup system. Their system enables the city to price their pickup service based on the quantity of garbage collected. They use trash containers with embedded RFID computer chips and trucks with robotic arms and remote control to pick and empty the bin while validating, computing and recording the charge.
iRobot Acquires Competitor Evolution Robotics for $74 million
Posted 09/20/12 at 12:09 AM
... Mint floor cleaning robots produced by Evolution Robotics differ from iRobot’s methods; plan is for them to be developed and marketed as complementary.
... Evolution’s CEO Paulo Pirjanian will become the new iRobot CTO.
... Financial downside of the acquisition is that iRobot must sell off Evolution’s inventory at breakeven plus they acquired a loss of $7 million and a very low GP margin for the whole product line. So Q4 and the next 2-3 quarters for iRobot are going to take a big hit—as did iRobot’s stock yesterday and today on the news.
... The acquisition includes many US and international patents. iRobot CEO Colin Angle said that the patents and technology acquired from Evolution - particularly involved with visual SLAM technology - will enable iRobot to navigate future floor cleaning robots at lower cost.
… To read a transcript of Colin Angle’s comments and answers to investor questions, click here.
2011 Industrial & Service Robotics Statistics
Posted 09/07/12 at 02:50 PM
... The Intl. Federation of Robotics has released their 2012 books reflecting 2011 results, and projections for 2012-2015.
... Bottom line: 2011 was very successful for industrial robot manufacturers and growth rates will be in double digits for years to come. 2011 sales of industrial robots—166,000 units; $8.5 billion in sales—are up 38% from 2010 and expected to reach 181,000 robots for 2012. Service robot sales, which include every other type of robot, were up 9% from 2010 and reflected 16,408 units of which 32% were in the defense sector.
... Personal and domestic robot sales were up 15% over 2010 and reflected 2.5 million units, $636 million in sales, mostly in toys and robot vacuums.
... The two books cost $540 each but in-depth free summaries can be found here.
... These are the most comprehensive recaps of what robots are tasked to do, how many of them are doing it, and how much revenue has accrued to the industry.
... The charts and slides shown at this link accompanied the presentation of the announcement (at a press conference in Taipei) of the publication of the two books.
Thomas Friedman Breaks Secrecy About Rethink Robotics’ New Robot
Posted 08/26/12 at 09:33 PM
... In a NY Times Weekend Review OpEd piece, three-time Pulitzer winner and prolific author Thomas Friedman saw Rethink Robotics’ new robot. His comments and observations about the new robot and the team that invented it were refreshing and invigorating. They gave example to the prescription Friedman outlined in his most recent book, “That Used To Be Us.”
... “This is the march of progress. It [the new Rethink robot] eliminates bad jobs, empowers good jobs, but always demands more skill and creativity and always enables fewer people to do more things,” wrote Friedman who went on to say: “what this election should be about is how we spawn thousands of Rethinks that create new industries, new jobs and productivity tools. Alas, it isn’t. So I’m just grateful these folks here in Boston didn’t get the word.”
... Read Friedman’s article here.
Two Different Approaches to Spawn Robotics; One Common Thread
Posted 08/21/12 at 05:24 PM
... Two different approaches to spawn robotics innovation but one common thread: build a product using robotics that satisfies a specific need.
... RE2 (squared) started with defense funding to develop a robotic arm with extraordinary torque and load capacity.
... Liquid Robotics started with personal and non-profit funding to capture the sounds of whales as they migrated along the coasts of Hawaii to Alaska.
... The profiles of these two successful companies make an interesting read but share a common theme: they both provided a solution involving robotics to solve a real need.
... Read the article.
Parrot Invests in Two Swiss Spin-offs
Posted 08/14/12 at 09:43 AM
... Parrot, a global leader in wireless devices for mobile phones and car entertainment systems, went out of character a few years ago with the introduction of the augmented reality quad copter AR.Drone, an instant success.
... Now Parrot is investing $2.4 million in Pix4D and $5 million for a majority in sensFly, two spin-off companies from Switzerland’s EPFL.
... Pix4D provides a unique software package that converts thousands of standard pictures into a professional geo-referenced image and a highly accurate 3D model.
... senseFly has a lightweight hi-res camera and flight planning system for drones.
... Both investments enable civilian UAVs - and Parrot’s AR.Drone - to advance into the next-generation mapping, surveying and who knows what else.
Mazor Robotics To Get $15 Million Equity Funding; Medrobotics gets $8
Posted 08/12/12 at 10:49 AM
... Larry Ellison’s Oracle Investment Management invested $7.5 million; the remainder comes from an issuance of ordinary shares.
... Part of the deal is to upgrade Mazor Robotic‘s Israeli ADR to be listed on the American NASDAQ.
... Mazor sales are rising steadily as more hospitals are acquiring their Renaissance™ spine surgery/implant system. Second quarter financial results reflect a four-fold increase from a year ago. “We have made significant progress in placing our Renaissance systems in prestigious hospital networks, particularly within the important U.S. market,” says company CEO.
... Medrobotics, a robotic surgical products company making cardioARM, a robotic probe controlled remotely and designed to enable surgeries with minimal or no incisions, filed an $8M round of equity, warrants and other options as part of a $20 million Series D offering. A total of 18 investors participated.
The Beginning of Something Important: InTouch Health and iRobot’s RP-VITA
Posted 07/31/12 at 06:55 PM
... InTouch Health’s new RP-VITA remote presence robot is the first product from the partnership between InTouch and iRobot. It can navigate autonomously or be driven by laptop or iPad.
... Product announced at a workshop where hour-upon-hour of presentations by critical care doctors and hospital administrators, all users of InTouch Health’s existing remote presence robots, and all portraying different aspects of why remote presence in health care is relevant, is saving lives and is necessary.
... Sleek new device has 3 PrimeSense 3D sensors, a laser scanner, and Swedish wheels on the iRobot platform and swiveling wide angle and zoom cameras and screens and sophisticated and secure two-way communications to enable a doctor to be in two places at once.
... Colin Angle, iRobot’s CEO, said, “It is definitely the beginning of something important.”
Smart Headlights See Through Rain
Posted 07/19/12 at 07:16 PM
... CMU released papers and videos showing their new smart headlight system which improves visibility by constantly redirecting light to shine between particles of rain. This involves a camera to track the motion of rain and snow and then applying algorithms to predict where those particles will be and then shooting the light so as not to be there… and repeating this process so that it appears seamless to the driver!
... Now the CMU team is working on a more compact version to be installed in a car for road-testing.
Fascinating Projections - $100 Billion Robotics Industry by 2020
Posted 07/12/12 at 05:03 PM
… Markets and Markets: Service robotics revenue forecast for 2017: $46 billion at 17.4% annual growth.
… Intl. Federation of Robotics: service robotics forecast much lower figures but similar growth rate.
… Daiwa Capital Markets analyst projects industrial robotics revenue for 2020 to be $41 billion.
… Spurring the growth: Apple and Foxconn investing $7 billion for industrial robots and the emerging entry into the global SME marketplace with co-robots of all types and prices.
... Service and Industrial combined total $100 billion by 2020!
Apple to invest $7 billion in robots
Posted 06/18/12 at 12:34 PM
... According to a story in Seeking Alphaª, Apple plans to purchase billions of dollars of industrial robots from Fanuc for placement within Foxconn’s factories in China. Neither Apple nor Foxconn have confirmed the piece.
... It takes 141 steps to make an iPhone and passes through 325 pairs of hands over 5 days. Although labor only represents about 3% of the cost of building these products, wages of Chinese factory workers have been rising at about 15% a year. Problems managing this workforce have also tarnished Apple’s image. Thus Apple’s move represents an important step.
... The Apple robots deployed by Foxconn and other Apple sub-contractors, will be designated for use in only making iProducts. That’s a strategic move on Apple’s part to tie up a huge chunk of global robot and electronics production and stay ahead of the competition.
... Seeking Alphaª says that Apple will increase it’s capital outlays to $7.1 billion and believes that a significant portion of that sum will be for robot and automated, computerized machine tool purchases.
New Venture Fund Specifically for Service Robotic Startups
Posted 06/16/12 at 12:08 AM
... “We are at the start of a transformative period for robotics that requires a new breed of risk-taker to drive mass-market adoption,” says Dmitry Grishin, founder of Grishin Robotics.
... With a particular focus on already-working products with mass-market appeal, Grishin aims to facilitate the development of the robotics industry by injecting much-needed capital and providing business counsel for up-and-coming startups. He has seeded the fund with $25 million of his own money.
... Grishin is co-founder and CEO of Mail.Ru Group (61HE on the London stock exchange), the largest Internet and social networking company in the Russian-speaking world.
Four approaches by industrial robot makers to transition to service robotics
Posted 06/07/12 at 10:49 AM
... KUKA launched a new lightweight and sensitive arm that can be affixed to a tabletop. YASKAWA MOTOMAN has an ambitious and well-thought-out plan to provide human assist robots. ADEPT is acquiring mobility and food-processing tech to add capabilities. BOSCH is buying, partnering and investing in new tech while making their own robots as backup.
... Disruptive startups such as Heartland Robotics and Foxconn could radically change the whole dynamic.
... Read more.
Hansen Medical Receives FDA Clearance for it’s Magellan Robotic System
Posted 06/06/12 at 07:59 AM
... Today, most catheter and catheter-based technologies for vascular disease use blood vessels as highways to guide their movement to specific parts of the body, manually-controlled, with handheld instruments.
... The Magellan Robotic System offers simultaneous and independent distal tip control of a catheter and a sheath as well as robotic manipulation of standard guide wires, all with incredible stability. This leads to faster, easier, and safer vessel navigation, which may result in less vessel trauma, reduced patient healing time, faster, more predictable procedures, and an improved case rate.
... Hansen Medical plans to offer the Magellan Systems to the same hospitals using their Sensei systems because these institutions already are aware of the benefits of an active intuitive surgical robotics program.
What’s happening to the big industrial robot stocks?
Posted 06/01/12 at 06:57 PM
... Compared to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which is back to where it started the year, the big four robot manufacturers are down 20% year to date. Yet 2011 robot sales were great (see story below). And prospects for 2012 sales were expected to be just as good. Particularly in Asia. So why are these stocks 20% down?
... Rising wages and demands for faster, safer production are driving Chinese manufacturers to buy more robots. China bought 15,000 robots last year and expects that figure to expand 30-40% annually.
... KUKA, the largest European industrial robot maker, is building a regional hub in China.
... FANUC tripled production capacity to handle new sales into China. It’s stock is the only one of the four that is positive for the year.
... YASKAWA ELECTRIC is building plants in Japan and China to meet the rising demand.
... ABB, the second-largest European robot maker, said that it sells one out of three robots to customers in Asia, and just shipped it’s 200,000th robot to a solar manufacturer in China.
... Nevertheless, stocks of the Big 4 are significantly trailing the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
2012 IERA Invention and Entrepreneurship Awarded to RoboCoaster and Universal Robots
Posted 05/31/12 at 10:25 AM
... “The important advancement in safe robots for the entertainment industry by RoboCoaster and the development of a new generation of simple robots for SME’s by Universal Robots not only represent positive steps forward for the robotics industry but also reflect businesses that have successfully translated technology into commercial success.”
... Runners-up included HiBot‘s Expliner robot for inspection of high-voltage transmission lines, Evolution Robotics’ Mint™ mopper and sweeper robot and Reflexxes library of instantaneous trajectory generation algorithms.
... Awards given at AUTOMATICA 2012, a trade fair for automation and mechatronics held in Munich.
... Click photo to enlarge.
Global robot sales up 37% for 2011
Posted 05/30/12 at 03:26 PM
... China, the US and Germany all reached new peak levels between 39% and 51%.
... Auto industry, metals and machinery industries were the main drivers.
... “In 2011, about 165,000 industrial robots were sold worldwide, by far the highest level ever recorded, 37% more than 2010. The increase of demand in 2010 and 2011 following the worldwide economic crisis exceeded all our expectations. We expect 2012 robot sales will further increase and again reach a new peak level.” [Source: Intl. Fed. of Robotics]
Navy Buys Eight $33 Million Fire Scout Unmanned Copters
Posted 05/15/12 at 10:50 AM
... Navy awards Northrop Grumman with $262 million contract for 8 Fire Scouts with plans to add an additional 20 at a later date.
... The Fire Scout has the ability to autonomously take off and land on any aviation-capable warship, can fly at 125+ knots at up to 20,000 feet, for up to 8 hours.
... The newly upgraded UAV can provide battle damage assessment, be a communications relay device, is interoperable between land and sea-based actions, and can be armed.
List of Publicly-traded Robotics Stocks
Posted 05/01/12 at 05:00 PM
... Robotics is becoming a big deal and people want to invest in the industry. But choosing robotics stocks is complicated. Many of the companies are international, some are small subsidiaries within much larger companies, many are start-ups or otherwise privately held, and others are outright wastes of time.
... Here is a list of publicly-traded stocks to whet your appetite - with explanations as to why they are appropriate.
Health Robotics has banner 1st quarter
Posted 04/03/12 at 04:15 PM
... Health Robotics, an Italian supplier of life-critical intravenous medication automation, produces robotic devices which make sterile, accurate, tamper-evident and ready-to-administer IVs for hospital use worldwide.
... The 31 contracted devices sold in the quarter just ended brings to 150 the total number of units under contract.
“Robots Ate My Job” airs all week on PBS
Posted 03/26/12 at 04:28 PM
... American Public Media’s ‘Marketplace’ has produced a 5-part audio series entitled ‘Robots Ate My Job.’
... The issue of jobs being displaced by automation is very topical. Many reputable sources are providing research or opinion: NY Times, Harvard Business Review, Metra Martech, and the International Federation of Robotics to name a few.
... The recent acquisition of Kiva Systems by Amazon raises the fear that Kiva robots will displace thousands of Amazon warehouse workers.
... In China, Foxconn plans to deploy 1 million robots in the next 3 years - a feat that will displace 500,000 workers. They claim they will try to move the displaced workers up the salary scale.
... Is it true that jobs will be lost or just rearranged when robots are installed? Is it also true that more robots mean fewer jobs lost to offshore sources? Read more....
Another big robot acquisition: Amazon buys Kiva Systems
Posted 03/19/12 at 02:42 PM
... Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) will acquire privately-held Kiva Systems for approximately $775 million!
... Kiva’s novel warehousing system uses robots to bring the shelves to the picker and packer instead of vice versa.
... The acquisition is expected to close next quarter.
Softbank Acquires Aldebaran… Maybe
Posted 03/15/12 at 12:01 AM
UPDATE 3-25-2012: Translated from an Aldebaran post on their user forum: “Hello everyone. Information originally issued by the Financial Times is false. The reporter called us several times. We have denied, said that its source is not reliable. But the article came out anyway. We are surprised that the FT can leave this type of erroneous article to be published.”
... According to the Financial Times, Softbank paid about $100m for an 80%+ stake in Aldebaran.
... Softbank will also invest an additional $40m to $50m to accelerate development.
... Softbank, a conglomerate engaged in telecommunications and Internet businesses, bought out existing shareholders Intel Capital, CDC Innovation, iSource and Crédit Agricole Private Equity.
... Aldebaran, famous for its Nao line of robots, is also developing Romeo, a bigger robot which will be able to perform more socially assistive tasks such as helping people open doors, fetch items and twist open jars. Romeo is partially funded by the French government to enable eldercare and also therapeutic assistance for autistism and other disabilities.
$160 million for VC-Funded Robotic Projects in 2011
Posted 03/05/12 at 11:21 AM
... One roboticist’s opinion why VC funding for robotics is a tough nut to crack: projects have large capital requirements, few potential acquirers and little “Google-scale” IPO prospects.
... $160 million is a far cry from the $6.9 billion that went into 997 VC funded deals in web and Internet startup companies in 2011.
... Most money went to a company that uses a robot to provide image-guided technology for hair follicle harvesting.
... Read about all 14 companies here.
... This list doesn’t mention the many acquisitions, strategic partnerships and mergers that occurred. The most recent two are the $18 million acquisition of French Cybernetix by Technip, an oil resources and ROV service provider to the industry, and the $100 million acquisition of Aldebaran Robotics by Softbanks (see preceding article).
From concept to commercialization: one woman’s journey into robotics
Posted 02/20/12 at 01:49 PM
... After observing that children attentively played with her interactive animatronic robot, she decided that it had commercial value and began her journey.
... Interbots, a small 5-person Boston start-up, is her vehicle. It has received funding through competitions, awards, regional grants and angel investors.
... Interbots’ robots come bundled with software, an interactive website, and lesson plans for therapists and teachers.
... Read the complete story of Seema’s journey thus far, as written by Babs Carryer.
Robotics and smart technologies merge for material handling
Posted 02/15/12 at 10:19 AM
... There were more buyers than in previous years and they appeared to be holistic in their approach to material handling in the factory and picking and packing in the warehouse. Their reasoning and underlying economic drivers detailed in this report.
... Brad Berger, editor-in-chief of SupplyChainBrain magazine, said that investing in automation for material handling is back after a few years of being put off because of the economy. Buyers are creating smart warehouses where RF, voice, barcodes, tablets and software all work together seamlessly as tools in the bigger picture of moving, handling, picking and packing our materials and products.
... 18-20,000 attendees of which 2,000+/- were international, 560 exhibitors, 170,000 sq ft of exhibition space. Very impressive; very busy (and very tiring).
The Future of Chinese-manufactured Apple Products
Posted 01/30/12 at 04:03 PM
... Two NY Times articles expose details about the treatment of 400,000+ Chinese workers involved in the production of Apple products: (1) In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad and (2) How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work.
... Editorial: Two solutions to the question of what can and should Apple and other companies do when their sub-contractors are not abiding to acceptable Western standards?
... This is not just an Apple problem. Amazon, HP and most of the phone makers all use Foxconn and other Chinese manufacturers, e.g.: Nokia just announced plans to stop assembling phones in Europe and shift production to China.
Consumer Robots at CES 2012
Posted 01/16/12 at 04:24 PM
... 25+ robotic vendors; a few hits; some duds; and, except for Nathan’s hotdogs, bad food.
... CES is always a wonderful experience. This year the unadvertised theme was digital to smart to every type of consumer product.
... Lots of pictures and links. Read the review.
Disappointing 4-years for robotic stock investors
Posted 01/07/12 at 09:22 PM
... Year-end ROBO-STOX™ results show that robotic industrials are down 28% from their 2007 highs and did poorer than the Dow Jones Industrial Average which is also still down 8.5%. Service robotic stocks are down 15% from 2007 while the NASDAQ is down 2.5%.
... Industrial robot companies represent 62% of the $9.3 billion industry revenue; service is 38% of which 75% was for military/defense.
... Industrials took a big fall from their 2007 highs and have not yet recovered. A small rise in the latter part of 2010 was blown away with the Japanese disasters, Thailand floods and EU economic turmoil.
... Service companies (mostly start-ups or privately held; few are publicly-traded) fall into three main sectors: medical, defense/security and a mixture of academic and consumer niche products. Medical robotic stocks are booming; defense/security stocks are holding steady; and the remainder are all over the place.
ABC Nightline Interviews Lifelike Hanson Robot
Posted 01/02/12 at 04:09 AM
... “It feels weird to be a robot sometimes,” the robot said in the interview. “You know, like I shouldn’t exist outside of a science fiction story. It makes me wonder if this is actually real like if it isn’t a dream or a story being written by a science fiction writer.” Throughout the interview and ABC Nightline story, David Hanson’s advanced cognitive artificial intelligent robot projects are visualized and discussed as is David’s passion to have a robot as a friend.
... Similar to the NY Times’ 2010 interview of Bina48, another Hanson robot of a real person, the robot interviewed by ABC Nightline is improved, surprisingly human, not just in mechanics, but also in appearance. It’s a wonderfully illustrative way to end 2011 in robotics with the promise of more wonders from Hanson and others in the years to come.