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)


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...


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

Real-time behaviour synthesis for dynamic Hand-Manipulation

From Vikash Kumar at University of Washington:

Dexterous hand manipulation is one of the most complex types of biological movement, and has proven very difficult to replicate in robots. The usual approaches to robotic control - following pre-defined trajectories or planning online with reduced models - are both inapplicable. Dexterous manipulation is so sensitive to small variations in contact force and object location that it seems to require online planning without any simplifications. Here we demonstrate for the first time online planning (or model-predictive control) with a full physics model of a humanoid hand, with 28 degrees of freedom and 48 pneumatic actuators. We augment the actuation space with motor synergies which speed up optimization without removing flexibility. Most of our results are in simulation, showing nonprehensile object manipulation as well as typing. In both cases the input to the system is a high level task description, while all details of the hand movement emerge online from fully automated numerical optimization. We also show preliminary results on a hardware platform we have developed "ADROIT" - a ShadowHand skeleton equipped with faster and more compliant actuation... (website)

University spin-out company with Sebastian Conran to develop next generation of robots

A new company has been formed to bring next generation assistive and companion robots to market by combining University-developed robotics research with the best of British design.

Mapping And Navigating With An Intel RealSense R200 Camera

In our latest demonstration, Archie provides an overview of the R200 sensor and shows how it can integrate seamlessly with ROS and a TurtleBot to accurately map and navigate an environment.

Water-based reconfigurable robot could offer new solutions to underground pipe network inspection

Researchers at the University of Sheffield have created an aquatic robot which could be used to inspect otherwise inaccessible pipe networks to deal with blockages.

Winners Announced in First-Annual $100,000 International Robot Art Competition

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Personal & Service Robots - Featured Product

ST Robotics - r12 robot arm

ST Robotics - r12 robot arm

ST Robotics have decades of experience in industrial robots having sold hundreds of robots over the years. The company has 3 main models, R12, R17 and R19 all using a unique simple industrial technology that dramatically reduces costs resulting in the lowest priced industrial robots available. The same uncomplicated technology vastly improves reliability. ST backs this up with a 2 year warranty. Typical applications are routine testing, sample handling and also education. The software is a different paradigm from most robots. It is command based; you type a command and see immediate action. Programming is a building block approach, building confidence as you program in small 'mind-sized bytes'. ST offers free unlimited technical support.