Robotic Industries Association Launches New Certified Robot Integrator Program

Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry’s largest trade group representing over 265 companies, has announced the launch of their Certified Robot Integrator Program. “The new RIA Certified Robot Integrator program began from a simple question: What can the RIA do to help the industry develop more successful robot applications?” said RIA President, Jeff Burnstein. Focus groups were held with leading system integrators and collaborative end users. Users told the RIA that a robot certification program would be useful as a way to help them develop a baseline for the evaluation of robot integrators. System integrators told the RIA this would be a great way for them to benchmark themselves against best industry practices. After more than two years of touring the country to get input from integrators, users, robot suppliers and other interested parties, the program was officially launched in January 2012. “I think there is great excitement about it throughout the industry,” Burnstein explained. EXAM CRITERIA: There are three basic parts to the on-site exam and audit: Hands-On section Expert Response Section: (Participant industry tenure & biography) On-site audit of business infrastructure per completed “Self Score Card”. Supporting evidence will be gathered before any certification date is scheduled. RIA's full press release can be read here . They have also set up a landing page for the Certified Robot Integrator program here .

Doctor Robot at Your Service

Future robots might incorporate the ability for a surgeon to program the surgery and just supervise the procedure, as the robot performs most of the tasks. The possibilities for improvement and advancement are only limited by imagination and cost.

Robotics going Mainstream: Improve Warehouse Productivity and Safety

This document explains how companies can utilize advanced and emerging technologies to help deliver superior results. Prepare for the unexpected, understand your process, look at all the options, go back to the fundamentals, reengineer, gain stakeholder acceptance through a pilot program, and finally deliver. The savings are there for the taking.

Extra! Extra! Nanobots Kill Cancer!

The small nanobots that are being deployed to fight cancer are nothing like what we imagine. Instead of being made of metal, plastic, and circuitry, cancer nanobots are created using "DNA origami," or "folding" DNA chains to form a barrel-shaped container for a payload of cancer antibodies.

Amazon.com Inc. To Buy Kiva Systems Inc. for $775 million.

The all-cash deal for closely held Kiva will close in the second quarter, Seattle-based Amazon said today in a statement. Kiva’s orange robots, which can slide under shelves and bins of products, are used by Quidsi Inc. -- the company behind Soap.com and Diapers.com that Amazon acquired for about $545 million last year. Kiva, whose headquarters will remain in North Reading, Massachusetts, will help Amazon make shipping more efficient, the company said. “Amazon has long used automation in its fulfillment centers, and Kiva’s technology is another way to improve productivity by bringing the products directly to employees to pick, pack and stow,” Dave Clark, vice president of global customer fulfillment at Amazon, said in the statement. Bloomberg has the entire financial details here.  

'Making Things See' Kinect Book by Greg Borenstein

'Making Things See' from O'Reilly Media / Make shows you how to build Kinect projects with inexpensive off-the-shelf components, including the open source Processing programming language and the Arduino microcontroller. Things covered in the book include:   Create Kinect applications on Mac OS X, Windows, or Linux Track people with pose detection and skeletonization, and use blob tracking to detect objects Analyze and manipulate point clouds Make models for design and fabrication, using 3D scanning technology Use MakerBot, RepRap, or Shapeways to print 3D objects Delve into motion tracking for animation and games Build a simple robot arm that can imitate your arm movements Discover how skilled artists have used Kinect to build fascinating projects   The book is available now on Amazon .  

Robotic Glove For Auto Workers And Astronauts

General Motors and NASA are jointly developing a robotic glove that auto workers and astronauts can wear to help do their respective jobs better while potentially reducing the risk of repetitive stress injuries. The Human Grasp Assist device, known internally in both organizations as the K-glove or Robo-Glove, resulted from NASA and GM's Robonaut 2 – or R2 – project, which launched the first humanoid robot into space in 2011. R2 is a permanent resident of the International Space Station. When engineers, researchers and scientists from GM and NASA began collaborating on R2 in 2007, one of the design requirements was for the robot to operate tools designed for humans, alongside astronauts in outer space and factory workers on Earth. The team achieved an unprecedented level of hand dexterity on R2 by using leading-edge sensors, actuators and tendons comparable to the nerves, muscles and tendons in a human hand. Research shows that continuously gripping a tool can cause fatigue in hand muscles within a few minutes, but initial testing of the Robo-Glove indicates the wearer can hold a grip longer and more comfortably. For example, an astronaut working in a pressurized suit outside the space station or an assembly operator in a factory might need to use 15 to 20 pounds of force to hold a tool during an operation but with the robotic glove they might need to apply only five to 10 pounds of force. Inspired by the finger actuation system of R2, actuators are embedded into the upper portion of the glove to provide grasping support to human fingers. The pressure sensors, similar to the sensors that give R2 its sense of touch, are incorporated into the fingertips of the glove to detect when the user is grasping a tool. When the user grasps the tool, the synthetic tendons automatically retract, pulling the fingers into a gripping position and holding them there until the sensor is released.

New Medical Technology Saving Lives

Most of the medical advances that we have seen have been with pharmaceuticals, as drug companies compete to introduce new more effective drugs because the patents on many blockbuster drugs are about to expire. But the coolest advances have to do with medical equipment. The age of high-tech medicine is here with even greater advances in development.

Interview - Wireless Assembly Line Robotics - Joseph Citrano III, of Honeywell

A robot has multiple axis, so a wireless switch is sensing position on those different axis. A Limitless™ wireless solution includes wireless switches and I/O devices that are paired and communicate with a PLC or controller interface.

Proximity sensing in robotic clamping applications

Clamping applications often rely on sensors to detect whether the jaws or grippers are in the proper position - open or closed. Though other technologies can be used in place of sensors to determine the open/closed conditions, sensor implementation can increase reliability and obtain data that only a detection device very near the application can provide.

Seegrid Robotic Industrial Trucks - Case Study

The Warehouse Group took to the Robotic Industrial Truck right away when they saw how it helped with their workload. On the manufacturing side, an unexpected secondary benefit is that we removed clutter and unsightly pallets from the work areas so the trucks can maneuver, providing a cleaner, safer work environment.

Instructions For Developing Your Own 3D Camera

The Hackengineer web site has complete plans for building a portable 3d camera. The system uses a Texas Instruments DLP pico projector, Leopard Imaging’s Leopardboard 365 VGA camera board, a small 2x telephoto lens, and a BeagleBoard. The system uses the concept know as Structured-light . Structured light uses a set of temporally encoded patterns that are sequentially projected onto the scene. When the pattern is seen from different viewpoints, the pattern appears geometrically distorted due to the surface shape of the object. This information is used to construct the depth data.

Truss Climbing Robots

Cornell's Creative Machines Lab constructed a robot testbed capable of re-configuring simple truss structures. The robot can add and remove bits and pieces as it goes. The goal of the project is to eventually have similar robots that could be used to assemble structures in difficult situation such as disaster recovery or space exploration.

Julian: A Open Source Grammar Based Speech Recognition Library

Achu Wilson is building a personal robot called Chippu. Using Julian, a special version of Julius Speech Recognition Library , he was able to recognize and execute voice commands. He details the process of getting the library working with ROS in his blog post here.

President Signs FAA Bill To Integrate Unmanned Vehicle Systems By 2015

President Obama has signed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act 2012. The bill will allow the FAA to rebuild its air traffic control system to the next generation technology which will include switching from radar to a GPS air traffic control system. The law will open up the skies to unmanned drones by September 2015. According to AUVSI  (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International), major UAS provisions in the FAA bill include: Setting a 30 Sept., 2015 deadline for full integration of UAS into the national airspace Requiring a comprehensive integration plan within nine months Requiring the FAA to create a five-year UAS roadmap (which should be updated annually) Requiring small UAS (under 55 pounds) to be allowed to fly within 27 months Requiring six UAS test sites within six months (similar to the language in the already-passed defense bill) Requiring small UAS (under 55 pounds) be allowed to fly in the U.S. Arctic, 24 hours a day, beyond line-of-sight, at an altitude of at least 2,000 feet, within one year Requiring expedited access for public users, such as law enforcement, firefighters, emergency responders Allowing first responders to fly very small UAS (4.4 pounds or less) within 90 days if they meet certain requirements Requiring the FAA to study UAS human factors and causes of accidents      

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Industrial Robotics - Featured Product

Festo - Complete Mechatronics Motion Solutions

Festo - Complete Mechatronics Motion Solutions

Mechatronic Motion Solutions from Festo is a unique system of components, modules, and software. It integrates all types of pneumatic, servopneumatic and (electro)mechanical automation motion and combines them according to your task. Irrespective of the control system environment you use, Mechatronic Motion Solutions always provides the appropriate interfaces. The fingers can be actively moved and their strength amplified; the operator's hand movements are registered and transmitted to the robotic hand in real time. The objectives are to enhance the strength and endurance of the human hand, to extend humans' scope of action and to secure them an independent lifestyle even at an advanced age.