Preparing for automation means investing in robotics
Nick Statt for The Verge: Robots are inevitably going to automate millions of jobs in the US and around the world, but there’s an even more complex scenario on the horizon, said roboticist Matt Rendall. In a talk Tuesday at SXSW, Rendall painted a picture of the future of robotic job displacement that focused less on automation and more on the realistic ways in which the robotics industry will reshape global manufacturing.
The takeaway was that America, which has outsourced much of its manufacturing and lacks serious investment in industrial robotics, may miss out on the world’s next radical shift in how goods are produced. That’s because the robot makers — as in, the robots that make the robots — could play a key role in determining how automation expands across the globe. Full article:
A new study from Redwood Software and the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) finds that the U.S. is the world leader in robotics automation investment, with an estimated robotics stock of $732 billion* - larger than the economy of Switzerland, which stood at $446 billion* in 2015.
U.S. investment in robotics was $86 billion in 2015, up from less than $40 billion in 2009, when investment hit a low following the financial crisis, and more than 15 times higher than the OECD average. Between 2011 and 2015, U.S. investments in robotics rose 30%.
"The U.S. is the world leader in robotics investment, and spending has recovered quickly since the financial crisis in 2009," said David Whitaker, Managing Economist at CEBR. "The sheer size of the economy and its large base of production in the automotive and electronic sectors make it a natural candidate for increased automation." Full Press Release:
ABB has sold its first robot manufactured in the United States. The IRB 2600 robot is the first to be produced at the ABB Auburn Hills, Michigan facility, and was sold by ABB Value Provider, CIM SYSTEMS, INC. to Hitachi Powdered Metals USA.
The compact robot, which is painted with special commemorative red, white and blue paint, will be used for material handling of in-process engine component parts at the Hitachi Greensburg, Indiana facility. It is the 180th ABB robot at the Hitachi plant, which installed its first ABB robot in 2005.
“The sale of ABB’s first robot produced in the US to Hitachi is a tremendous milestone in the development of our manufacturing presence in the Americas,” Full News Release:
Jon Excell for The Engineer: Online grocer Ocado is establishing a reputation as a major technology player. Jon Excell reports
If prompted to name a UK company at the cutting edge of robotics and automation, few of us would cite one of the country’s best-known grocery retailers.
But, as The Engineer learned on a recent visit to one of its key facilities, online supermarket Ocado is establishing a reputation as a major technology player: harnessing and developing machine-learning systems, Internet of Things concepts and robotic hardware to a degree that leaves many traditional engineering businesses in the shade. Full Article:
Miso Robotics and Cali Group today unveiled Flippy, an artificial intelligence-driven robot that will work alongside kitchen staff to grill burgers at CaliBurger restaurants. Flippy had its debut at the CaliBurger location in Pasadena, California. A video demonstration captured the robotic kitchen assistant flipping burgers and placing them on buns. Flippy will roll out in early 2018 and expand to more than 50 CaliBurger restaurants worldwide by the end of 2019.
Miso Robotics is pioneering the use of computer vision and deep learning software to bring low-cost, adaptable robotics into restaurants. The company's collaborative kitchen assistant handles the hazardous, tedious and time-sensitive aspects of grilling and cooks burgers to perfection every time. It easily integrates into CaliBurger's current kitchen layout without needing to reconfigure existing equipment. Full Press Release:
If manufacturers are going to flourish in America, they’ll need to buy a lot more robots. Here are six ways to play this hot trend.
Jack Hough for Barron's: For long-term investors, robots could be one key to securing healthy corporate profit growth, and stock returns, even as wages rise. There are specific opportunities, too. Japan’s Fanuc (ticker: 6954.Japan) is far and away the U.S. market leader in industrial robots, and it’s quickly ramping up production. Its shares have been outperforming, and they could offer 20% more upside over the next year. Germany’s Kuka (KU2.Germany), which sold a majority stake last year to China’s appliance giant, Midea Group (000333.China), has similar return potential. Other stocks with high exposure to industrial robotics and factory automation include Rockwell Automation (ROK), Switzerland’s ABB(ABB), and Yaskawa Electric (6506.Japan). And for one-stop shoppers, there’s the Robo Global Robotics & Automation Index exchange-traded fund (ROBO), which tracks 85 stocks, charges annual expenses of 0.95%, and has returned 37% over the past year. Cont'd...
CSAIL system enables people to correct robot mistakes using brain signals.
Adam Conner-Simons via MIT News: For robots to do what we want, they need to understand us. Too often, this means having to meet them halfway: teaching them the intricacies of human language, for example, or giving them explicit commands for very specific tasks.
But what if we could develop robots that were a more natural extension of us and that could actually do whatever we are thinking?
A team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and Boston University is working on this problem, creating a feedback system that lets people correct robot mistakes instantly with nothing more than their brains. Cont'd...
Developed by Omron Corporation, FORPHEUS (Future Omron Robotics Technology for Exploring Possibility of Harmonized aUtomation with Sinic Theoretics) has officially been given the Guinness World Records title for being the First robot table tennis tutor for its unique technological intelligence and educational capabilities.
According to the project's lead developer Taku Oya, the goal of FORPHEUS was to harmonise humans and robots, by way of teaching the game of table tennis to human players.
The ST R17HS uses state-of-the-art brushless servomotors and boasts an effective reach of 750mm, a repeatability of 0.2 mm and a maximum speed after acceleration of 480 deg/sec in the robot's waist, elbow, hand and wrist, with a shoulder speed of 300 deg/sec.
"The R17HS is the result of years of development that puts us ahead of the field," said David Sands, President and CEO of ST Robotics. "Customers are finding it useful for high throughput production as well as testing applications requiring fast motion of test devices." Full Press Release:
Linda A. Thompson for Bloomberg News Agency: European lawmakers are grappling for answers to a question that until recently seemed like the stuff of science fiction: If robots take our jobs, who will pay taxes?
In an age of unprecedented technological change occurring at a faster rate than the Industrial Revolution, concerns over the growing robotization and automation of work have prompted fears about mass unemployment and plummeting tax revenue in the near future, pitting companies and robotics manufacturers against lawmakers and worker advocates.
The issue is taking on new urgency ahead of a Feb. 16 vote before the EU Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee on whether to create a robotics agency to deliberate on tax and liability issues. Cont'd...
Nick Heath for TechRepublic: Think it's tricky to build and program a robot arm? Think again.
Powered by the Raspberry Pi, the MeArm Pi is a robot arm designed to be simple enough that kids aged 11+ can build and program it.
The lightweight plastic arm, which can pick up small objects such as Lego bricks, comes as a kit that keeps the number of screws to a minimum and is relatively straightforward to assemble using the included hex keys. It can be controlled via the Pi, either using joysticks attached to the included Pi HAT add-on board or by programming it from the Pi. Cont'd...
Rethink Robotics announced Intera® 5, a first-of-its-kind software platform that connects everything from a single robot controller, extending the smart, flexible power of Rethink Robotics' Sawyer™ to the entire work cell and simplifying automation with unparalleled ease of deployment.
Built on the backbone of the industry's best train-by-demonstration software that powers the world's fastest-to-deploy robots, Intera 5 is paving the way for connected manufacturing environments and helping companies build factories of the future. Intera 5 fundamentally changes the need for integration, making it substantially easier and more affordable, allowing manufacturers to deploy full work cell automation in a matter of hours, not weeks.
Intera 5 is much more than the latest version of Rethink Robotics' software; it's a new way to approach automation that allows manufacturers to control the robots, orchestrate the work cell and collect data. Full Press Release:
Ryan Vlastelica for MarketWatch: If robots are taking jobs, should you invest in the robot makers?
That’s the argument behind a pair of outperforming exchange-traded funds that track the robotics industry, which could continue seeing strong growth as more positions get automated by machines or algorithms.
In a Jan. 23 note, UBS named automation and robotics as one of the two areas of technological innovation that would drive productivity over the coming decade, along with the digital data industry.
“Both have the potential to profoundly transform the structure of our economy, disrupt existing business models, but also create substantial growth opportunities for those well-positioned to participate,” the firm wrote, singling out the ROBO Global Robotics & Automation Index ETF ROBO, +0.59% as a fund that would benefit from this trend, with the investment time horizon of a decade. Cont'd...
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