Tuesday, July 26, 2016


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AUTOMATICA 2016: digitalization and collaborative robotics

Posted on 07/24/16 by Frank Tobe

AUTOMATICA 2016, held in June in Munich at the massive Messe tradefair facility, is a gigantic show focused on automation, mechatronics, robotics and emerging technologies as they relate to the industrial and manufacturing sectors.

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Midea now owns 85.69% of KUKA’s shares

Posted on 07/20/16 by Frank Tobe

Since the announcement of the month-long tender offer by Midea to buy 49% of the shares of German robot maker KUKA AG - and private negotiations - Midea now has 85.69% of the shares.

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SoftBank jumpstarts IoT by buying ARM for $32 billion

Posted on 07/18/16 by Frank Tobe

Today's announcement that SoftBank will spend $32 billion to acquire ARM Holdings means the Japanese firm is buying the most important company in the world of mobile processors for smartphones and Internet of Things devices.

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“Deep learning is the most fundamental advance in AI research since AI started in 1956”

Posted on 07/14/16 by Frank Tobe

Frank Chen, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, the Silicon Valley venture capital and private equity firm, said, "It is absolutely non-controversial that deep learning is the most fundamental advance in A.I. research since the start [of A.I.] in 1956."

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Coming very soon: robots from Sony, robot-made hamburgers, mobile robot deliveries

Posted on 07/11/16 by Frank Tobe

Re-joining the ranks, Sony announced a return to robotics. Momentum is opening a robot hamburger shop. And Starship is beginning to delivery food to 3 cities in Europe.

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62 market research reports study robotics industry

Posted on 07/10/16 by Frank Tobe

The number of research reports studying the robotics industry is growing exponentially. To date in 2016 there have been 109 on subjects ranging from overly broad to very drilled-down views of the industry. Prices range from $800 to $6,500.

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Logistic companies Swisslog, Dematic, Egemin and Intelligrated have all been acquired

Posted on 07/03/16 by Frank Tobe

First the KION Group acquires Dematic for $2.5 billion and a week later Honeywell acquires Intelligrated for $1.5 billion. Earlier KION acquired Retrotech and earlier still Egemin while Kuka acquired Swisslog. What's going on?

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June fundings, acquisitions and failures

Posted on 06/30/16 by Frank Tobe

Six months worth of funding deals thus far in 2016 indicate that investments in robotics - equity fundings, and acquisitions - are accelerating, particularly in big deals involving Chinese money.

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What’s happening in robotics? Five trends to watch

Posted on 06/27/16 by Frank Tobe

Industrial robots used to be dumb, somewhat inflexible, and mostly blind - but also fast, precise and very efficient.  As the cost of components, sensors and vision systems has been dropping, vision-enabled robots are becoming more prevalent and capable, and the industry is dramatically changing.

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4,000 student clubs to use Dash and Dot robots in global contest

Posted on 06/26/16 by Frank Tobe

Wonder Workshop is finding success in teaching computer programming to young students through collaboration and with the use of Dash & Dot robots. 4,000+ student groups have registered for this year's Wonder League Robotics Competition, up from 1,000 in 2015.

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FAA announces commercial drone regs

Posted on 06/23/16 by Frank Tobe

The highly anticipated rules governing commercial operation of small UAS (sUAS) were announced by the FAA and will take effect in late August. Until that time, commercial operators may continue to operate under Section 333 exemptions.

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Industrial robot sales for 2015 set new record in spite of troubles in China

Posted on 06/22/16 by Frank Tobe

Worldwide sales of industrial robots set a new record: 248,000 units sold in 2015, 12% more than 2014. 66,700 units sold in China of which 20,400 were made in China.

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Unmanned combat robots beginning to appear

Posted on 06/14/16 by Frank Tobe

IAI's RoBattle unmanned, heavy duty, highly maneuverable, combat and support robotic system (UGV) is being shown at the Eurosatory 2016 international air land defense and security exhibition in Paris this week.

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Chinese investors keep buying international robotics companies

Posted on 06/13/16 by Frank Tobe

The latest acquisition is Gimatic, an Italian pneumatic and electric grippers, sensors and positioners maker, by Agic Capital. The Financial Times reported the sale price to be between $112 and $169 million.

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When will sex robots hit the marketplace?

Posted on 06/08/16 by Frank Tobe

Ex Machina and Lars and the Real Girl are two recent movies that have brought attention to where things are heading between humans and robots - particularly as regards the state of the art in sex robots. The NY Times even did a 7-minute video on the subject.

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Xiaomi challenges DJI with a low-cost drone

Posted on 06/07/16 by Frank Tobe

Xiaomi, one of China’s star Internet, phone and electronics startups, develops cut-rate but reliable phones and consumer devices and markets them directly to consumers online. Their new HD drone starts at $380, and the 4K video model at $450. Both directly compete - at half the price - with DJI's popular Phantom drones.

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Big data, the cloud and . . . FANUC and Kuka?

Posted on 06/07/16 by Frank Tobe

FANUC, the world’s largest maker of industrial robots, plans to start connecting 400,000 of their installed systems by the end of this year. The goal is to collect data about their operations and, through the use of deep learning, improve performance. Similarly, Kuka is building a deep-learning AI network for their industrial robots.

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U of Washington Tech Policy Lab answers the question: What is a robot?

Posted on 06/05/16 by Frank Tobe

What is a robot? There are business, legal, insurance and safety considerations which make that definition important and the Tech Policy Lab at the University of Washington gave it a try with an interesting 6-minute video.

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May fundings, acquisitions and IPOs

Posted on 05/31/16 by Frank Tobe

May was another big month for robotics - 13 companies were funded to the tune of $111 million. Four companies were acquired with 2 of the 4 reporting selling prices totaling $422 million. And that’s without the $5.2 billion bid for Kuka by Chinese Midea, or the pending sale of Google's Boston Dynamics.

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How is Pepper, SoftBank’s emotional robot, doing?

Posted on 05/27/16 by Frank Tobe

Pepper is a child-height human-shaped robot described as having been designed to be a genuine companion that perceives and acts upon a range of human emotions. 

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