The US service-sector jobs at risk from a robot revolution

Sam Fleming for Financial Times:  When Andy Puzder, chief executive of restaurant chains Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s, said in March that rising employment costs could drive the spread of automation in the fast-food sector, he tapped into a growing anxiety in the US.

From touchscreen ordering systems to burger-flipping robots and self-driving trucks, automation is stalking an increasing number of professions in the country’s service sector, which employs the vast majority of the workforce.

Two-fifths of US employees are in occupations where at least half their time is spent doing activities that could be automated by adapting technology already available, according to research from the McKinsey Global Institute. These include the three biggest occupations in the country: retail salespeople, store cashiers and workers preparing and serving food, collectively totalling well over 10m people.

Yet evidence of human obsolescence is conspicuous by its absence in the US’s economic statistics. The country is in the midst of its longest private-sector hiring spree on record, adding 14.4m jobs over 73 straight months, and productivity grew only 1.4 per cent a year from 2007 to 2014, compared with 2.2 per cent from 1953 to 2007. Those three big occupations all grew 1-3 per cent from 2014 to 2015.  Cont'd...

Panasonic Announces Winners of 25th Annual Creative Design Challenge Robotics Competition Finals

Initiative Underlines Importance of STEM Education

Indiegogo - Leka Announces Indiegogo Campaign to Develop Robotic Smart Toy for Children with Developmental Disorders

Leka Brings Accessible Teaching Tool to Parents, Therapists and Caregivers of Children with Developmental Disorders, Such as Autism and Down Syndrome

RE2 Robotics Delivers Highly Dexterous Manipulation System to the U.S. Army

RE2's dual-arm manipulation system improves EOD robot capabilities

Khronos Releases OpenVX 1.1 Specification for High Performance, Low Power Computer Vision Acceleration

Expanded range of processing functions; Enhanced flexibility for data access and processing; Full conformance tests available; Safety Critical specification in development

Innovators offered chance to develop their ideas with world leading robotics manufacturer ABB Robotics

Full Press Release:  The IdeaHub, is once again recruiting robotics and software innovators worldwide to take on the challenge of improving the way we work and interact with the next generation of industrial robots. Working on behalf of ABB Robotics, IdeaHub will help successful applicants pitch their ideas and secure uniquely tailored support packages to maximise their venture's commercial potential, including investment, mentoring and access to cutting edge hardware. 
The IdeaHub is a cross sector, open innovation platform that connects visionaries worldwide with funding and support from global corporations. In 2015 they ran their first programme for ABB Robotics, attracting over 130 applicants with 12 finalists selected for a pitch day in London, with 6 entrepreneurs receiving an offer of support. For 2016 they are partnering with ABB Robotics once again to bring more solutions to solve three core challenges in the world collaborative industrial robotics: 
1.) Simplicity: How to simplify robotics 
2.) Intelligence: How to enable robots to learn and apply that learning
3.) Digitalization: How smart 
connectivity will enhance digital factories. 

Innovators offered chance to develop their ideas with world leading robotics manufacturer ABB Robotics

The IdeaHub is a cross sector, open innovation platform that connects visionaries worldwide with funding and support from global corporations.

GeckoSystems' Japanese Partners Demonstrating Multi-Million Dollar AI Robot Technologies

GeckoSystems' AI mobile robot solutions include --required for safe utility-- human quick AI sense/avoid reflex time of moving and/or unmapped obstacles for safe auto-following, errand running, patrolling, etc. GeckoSystems traded on OTC as GOSY.

XPONENTIAL - Setting New Industry Benchmarks in Size, Weight & Power, Quanergy Announces New LiDAR Sensor

S3-Qi keeps Quanergy at forefront of LiDAR sensor advancements

DARPA Exhibit to Open at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry

"DARPA: Redefining Possible" to showcase past technological breakthroughs, current projects and future possibilities

GeckoSystems' Japanese JV Securing $1,000,000 for Eldercare Companion Robot R&D

GeckoSystems has proprietary mobile robot self-navigation technologies that provide human quick AI sense/avoid of unmapped obstacles for safe auto-following, errand running, patrolling, etc.

New Pipe Inspection Robot from STRAHL LLC: Focus on Results and Affordability

Motorized German-made pipe crawler GECKO 9050 with Kevlar-reinforced water- and acid-proof 100 to 150 meter cable, and advanced camera head. Pan-and-tilt camera head is default, optional extra wheels, camera head raiser for easy centering and a sonde locator are available.

5D Robotics Acquires Industrial Business and Assets of Aerial MOB, LLC

New aerial division will drive future innovations in robotics and aerospace industries

RE2 Robotics Wins Federal Laboratory Consortium Achievement Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer

-- RE2 Partners with the Space and Naval Systems Center Pacific to validate open architecture and interoperability for EOD robots --

Crowdfunding Projects For April

Here are a few projects we think are worth looking into. Be careful... it is crowdfunding.

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Maplesoft - Free Whitepaper: Developing a Robot Model using System-Level Design

Maplesoft - Free Whitepaper: Developing a Robot Model using System-Level Design

This paper uses NAO, the humanoid robot from Aldebaran Systems, to demonstrate how MapleSim can be used to develop a robot model, and how the model can be further analyzed using the symbolic computation engine within Maple.