Two different points of view about adding robots to stay competitive. The A3 (Association for Advancing Automation*) has a new website and a video on the subject: “Why I Automate,” which shows in detail why it was necessary and how it was done for one steel basket-making manufacturer. Before automation, Marlin Steel was bending steel by hand and suffering a high rate of workman’s accidents. Today a robot tends a bending machine and the company has gone 1,687 days without an accident. Equally important, they are selling their baskets world-wide, even into China!
Recent Google acquisition, Schaft, a spin-off from Tokyo University, attained the highest score in the DARPA Robotics Challenge trials and wins $1 million to work towards the final challenge at the end of 2014. Read details in DARPA Robotics Challenge story below.
Top robotics-related stories for 2013 - as reported in The Robot Report and detailed in our blog Everything-Robotic.
The DRC is a competition of robot systems and software teams vying to develop robots capable of assisting humans in responding to natural and man-made disasters. The winner gets $2 million. It is sponsored by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and is fodder for the global roboticist community eager for a glimpse of breakthrough technologies.
In a revealing NY Times interview with Google's Andy Rubin, some heretofor unknown things came to light: Google is now in the robotics business.
Yutu (“Jade Rabbit”), China's rover-like robot was soft-landed on the moon earlier this month. China's plans to become a global leader in robotics and space exploration are just beginning to be seen.
In a surprise move, KUKA, one of the global big four robot manufacturers, signed a letter of intent to acquire 51% of the shares of Reis Robotics, a 57-year old family-owned Germany-based robotics provider and systems integrator.
Foxconn’s parent company Hon Hai Precision will fund $10 million for robotics and advanced manufacturing research at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
KUKA cut the ribbon at their new factory outside of Shanghai. The factory will begin employing 350 and produce the QUANTEC line of robots and controllers and will be able to produce 3,000 robots and controllers annually. Although KUKA has had sales and service facilities in China for the past 9 years, this is the first manufacturing factory.
The Boston Globe reported that Rethink Robotics, maker of the $22,000 Baxter 2-armed robot, has cut 21 jobs from their staff of approximately 90.
Amazon isn't the only delivery service testing flying robots. DHL and microdrones are testing drones that could be used to deliver urgently needed goods to hard-to-reach places, eg, medicines to remote sites.
Bezos said the secret to Amazon's success is trial and error: "We are on our 7th generation of fulfillment centers - and we've gotten better every time. Amazon is a symphony of people, a symphony of software and a symphony of robots."
Famous from being the synchronized depth perception system inside the Microsoft Kinnect, PrimeSense, a venture-funded company based in Tel Aviv, was just acquired by Apple for $350 million.
New report by Research and Markets, Global Machine Vision Market 2012-2016, a $2,500 report, forcasts global machine vision market to grow at a CAGR of 9.4% to 2016.
Romotive's Romo App-controlled pet and WowWee's RoboMe robot kit, both for the iPhone; iRobot's new Roomba 880 vacuum cleaning robot; and Modular Robotics' Cubelets Kit, offer interesting choices for adults buying for kids (or themselves).
As the need for training on new-tech devices increases, virtual and physical simulation systems are in demand at medical schools and hospitals worldwide. One novel new robotic invention is Patrick, the robotic prostate exam mannequin. Developed by a MD and a virtual experiences research team, Patrick is being trailed at two hospital teaching centers in the US.
Mazor Robotics' stock (NASDAQ:MZOR and TASE:MZOR) has steadily rolled up 260% year-to-date.
3D Systems new Sense 3D scanner, at $399 including software, is a serious competitor for Makerbot's $1,400 Digitizer scanner.
In a new TV series on the Fox Channel, set in 2048 and entitled "Almost Human," every cop is paired with a highly evolved human-like android partner.
Cyphy Works, the UAV developer with the tether solution, raises $7 million from VCs and angel investors.