By Charles Orlowek for The Hill: Good news? Boston Consulting Group foresees more large manufacturers boosting production for the American market by adding capacity in the U.S. itself, compared with any other country. It cites “decreasing costs and improved capabilities of advanced manufacturing technologies such as robotics." Under this optimistic scenario, how much value would American workers add? When robotics and other automation gets built for, and installed in American workplaces, where are jobs created?
Increasingly, these jobs are being created and sustained outside the United States, even for domestic factories.
The first industrial robots were developed and manufactured by Americans, and General Motors became the first user, in 1961. Over recent decades, however, the domestic robot industry has declined. A Commerce Department national security assessment from 1991 asserted that American robot manufacturers lost market share throughout the 1980s, with shipments of U.S.-manufactured robots falling by 33 percent between 1984 and 1989, despite robust domestic demand and a weak dollar. Cont'd...
By Adam Zewe for Harvard News: If you have a soft spot for robotics, this competition is right up your alley.
The 2016 Soft Robotics Competitions offer anyone with an interest in robotics the chance to design and build their own soft robot using the resources available in the open-source Soft Robotics Toolkit.
Now in its second year, the competition was developed by Conor Walsh, assistant professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Dónal Holland, visiting lecturer in engineering sciences, as a way to encourage individuals to take advantage of the resources provided in the Soft Robotics Toolkit.
The toolkit, which incorporates contributions from researchers from Harvard and other institutions, provides a set of intellectual tools that one can use to design and construct a robot using soft, flexible materials. It includes resources such as step-by-step instructions on building actuators and sensors, lists of suggested materials, and how-to fabrication videos.
The ultimate goal of the competition is to encourage others to find innovative applications for soft robotics technology and continue expanding interest in this relatively new field. Cont'd...
CES 16 - Toyota Research Institute Announces All-star Leadership Team for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Research
Ross Miller for The Verge: Lego's entry-level robotics set is getting an overhaul. The brickmaker today is announcing WeDo 2.0 for elementary classrooms, which will both teach science-related concepts and, more importantly, let children build and program Lego robots.
Designed to teach engineering and science, Lego Education's WeDo 2.0 kits contain about 280 Lego pieces, which also includes motion / tilt sensors and a motor. The new version eschews USB tethering for Bluetooth LE-powered "smarthub" brick that connects the sensors to a tablet or PC / Mac app. (The new version also has a more cohesive, more appealing color palette for all the bricks.) Each app includes a set of lessons, which tie in science concepts with a classic Lego construction manual. WeDo has a very simple drag-and-drop coding interface that lets students (or, to be honest, very enthusiastic adults) program basic functions. You can also, of course, just ignore the instructions entirely and build / program your own pastel robot. Cont'd...
By Elizabeth Palermo for LiveScience: It was a good year to be a robot.
In 2015, researchers in Korea unveiled a robotic exoskeleton that users can control with their minds, a four-legged bot in China set a new world record by walking 83.28 miles (134.03 km) without stopping and 3D-printing robots in Amsterdam started work on a new steel footbridge.
But these smart machines are capable of so much more. Researchers around the world are now designing and building bots that will complete more noteworthy tasks in 2016 and beyond. From exploring other planets to fighting fires at sea, here are a few skills that bots could pick up in the new year. Full Article:
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