New Muscle-Inspired Actuators Hold Potential to Build Safer, Soft-Bodied Robots

Robots should be safer and softer in order to make them more cooperative and execute tasks in close contact with humans. George Whitesides, Ph.D., a Core Faculty member at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology in Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), along with his team, has created a new actuator that moves like human skeletal muscles by using vacuum power for automating soft, rubber beams.

These actuators are soft and shock absorbing similar to real muscles, and do not pose any danger to their surroundings or the human beings working along with them or the future robots containing them. This study was published in the June 1 issue of the Advanced Materials Technologies journal.  Cont'd...

Robotics, Satellites & Motor Sport applications all benefit from Harwin's Datamate J-Tek in high shock and vibration environments

Hi-Rel industries shift to jackscrew fixings for ultimate connection security

Robot wars: Boston Dynamics fell out with Google over humanoid Atlas

Mary-Ann Russon for International Business Times:  When former Boston Dynamics employees released video of humanoid robot Atlas – walking unassisted over difficult terrain, such as rocks and snow – Google was reportedly displeased; despite the research receiving high praise from roboticists while wowing the public.

And the real reason Google is selling off Boston Dynamics is, by and large, due to insiders telling Tech Insider that the robotics firm was unwilling to fall in line with the internet giant's vision of a consumer robot for the home.

Google reportedly envisioned the firm as one of nine in a division called Replicant. Initially, under the guidance of Android co-founder Andy Rubin, the firms would continue with existing research and Google would see what ideas and innovations they came up with.  Cont'd...

Let's Go Robotics Patent on Robotic Gripper Increases Reliability in Unattended Operations

Patent #9,327,411 covers robotic gripper for failure‐free microwell plate handling

80+ Sponsors and Exhibitors Revealed for Seoul's Leading Frontier Technology Event on June 22-24, 2016, Showcasing #3DPrinting, #Robotics, and Virtual Reality Innovation

Rising Media and 3DR Holdings announced more than 80 sponsors and exhibitors for the co-located Inside 3D Printing, RoboUniverse, and Virtual Reality Summit conference and trade show in Seoul, South Korea, taking place in association with the Korea International Exhibition Center (KINTEX).

Chrysalix partners with Dutch RoboValley on €100 million robotics fund

Terry Dawes for Cantech Letter:  Vancouver-based Chrysalix Venture Capital has announced a €100 million fund aimed at driving the global robotics revolution, in partnership withRoboValley, a centre for robotics commercialization based at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

The RoboValley Fund is Chrysalix’s first robotics fund, and will concentrate on disbursing seed and Series A rounds of funding to early-stage companies developing component technology, intelligent software, and other breakthrough robotics technologies.

“Robotics is predicted to be the next big step in the digital revolution having an unprecedented impact on the way that we live, and provides an answer to some of the grand challenges of the 21st Century,” said RoboValley managing director Arie van den Ende. “Together with Chrysalix long-standing expertise in commercializing early stage industrial innovations, the RoboValley Fund will bring much needed capital and accelerated paths to market for our most promising next generation robotics technologies.”  Cont'd...

RobotShop Continues Expansion and Launches Japan Subsidiary

RobotShop Inc. announces today the launch of its subsidiary, RobotShop Japan Co., Ltd. and a website dedicated to the Japan market.

OpenAI Gym Beta

From the OpenAI team:

We're releasing the public beta of OpenAI Gym, a toolkit for developing and comparing reinforcement learning(RL) algorithms. It consists of a growing suite ofenvironments (from simulated robots to Atari games), and a site for comparing and reproducing results.

OpenAI Gym is compatible with algorithms written in any framework, such asTensorflow and Theano. The environments are written in Python, but we'll soon make them easy to use from any language. We originally built OpenAI Gym as a tool to accelerate our own RL research. We hope it will be just as useful for the broader community.  Getting started:  If you'd like to dive in right away, you can work through our tutorial... (full intro post)

PROFESSIONAL SERVICE ROBOTICS AT AUTOMATICA 2016

AUTOMATICA 2016, which will take place in Munich from June 21 to 24, has attracted the world's best in terms of Service Robots. Housed in the dedicated Service Robotics Demonstration Park in Hall B4.518, over 20 exhibitors will show off the very latest in service robotic technology in several themed areas focussed on particular application types, such as medicine and transportation.

Indiegogo - MJI Announces The Launch Of AI Robot Companion On Indiegogo

MJI, a Japan-based robot developer, is pleased to announce the launch of an AI companion robot, "Tapia," on the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo.

Tether free actuator hailed as soft robotics breakthrough

Jon Excell for The Engineer:  Designed by a team at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, the new device is claimed to have considerable advantages over existing pneumatically-powered soft actuators as it doesn’t require a tether.

The device consists of a dielectric elastomer actuator (DEA): a membrane made of hyperelastic material like a latex balloon, with flexible (or ‘compliant’) electrodes attached to each side.

The stretching of the membrane is regulated by means of an electric field between the electrodes, as the electrodes attract each other and squeeze the membrane when voltage is applied. By attaching multiple such membranes, the place of deformation can be shifted controllably in the system. Air is displaced between two chambers.

The membrane material has two stable states. In other words, it can have two different volume configurations at a given pressure without the need to minimize the larger volume. Thanks to this bi-stable state, the researchers are able to move air between a more highly inflated chamber and a less inflated one. They do this by applying an electric current to the membrane of the smaller chamber which responds by stretching and sucking air out of the other bubble.  Cont'd...

WORLD ROBOT OLYMPIAD USA TO HOST 2016 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP AT NORTHERN ILLINIOS UNIVERSITY

Global Robotics Competition Names William Wong National Organizer, Increases Local Participation

SoftBank Robotics America Announces New Developer Portal and Android SDK to Boost Expansive Ecosystem of Support for Pepper - the Interactive, Humanoid Robot

In Preparation for Pepper's U.S. Debut, Developers are Invited to Collaborate, Create Applications and Be at the Forefront of the Robotics Evolution, Starting Today

Sony Joins Forces with Cogitai to Conduct Research and Development for the Next Wave of Artificial Intelligence

Sony has invested in Cogitai and the two companies plan to collaborate towards the development of novel AI technologies using deep reinforcement learning with prediction technology that could be used as the basis for the next generation of AI applications and products.

Makeblock, the Ultimate DIY Robotics Construction Platform for Makers & STEM Learners to Showcase its Portfolio Expansion at Maker Faire Bay Area 2016

Makeblock Makes DIY & STEM Educational Robots More Diverse & Accessible for Everyone

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