Robotics startup Exotec raises $3.5 million to help warehouses pack and dispatch goods using mini robots
Paul Sawers for Venture Beat: A French robotics startup has raised €3.3 million ($3.5 million) to build and grow a fleet of mobile robots that help warehouses prepare orders for delivery.
The company was founded in 2015 by former GE Healthcare software architect Renaud Heitz and BA Systèmes technical director Romain Moulin, and Exotec Solutions (“Exotec”) robots have already been tested across a number of industries. With $3.5 million more in its coffers, the company expects to launch its first robot — called Exo — into the wild in early 2017. The most recent round was raised from 360 Capital Partners, Breega Capital, and a handful of its existing investors.
The miniature robots are being targeted at any logistics operator that relies on humans to traverse large warehouses picking items off shelves, and it promises to cut employees’ average daily distance covered from 15km to 4km per day and to “[double] the productivity” of each worker. The robots are controlled by what the company calls a “centralized intelligence system,” which liaises between the humans and the robots on the ground. Cont'd...
Science Daily: Throw a baseball, and you might say it's all in the wrist. For robots, it's all in the gears.
Gears are essential for precision robotics. They allow limbs to turn smoothly and stop on command; low-quality gears cause limbs to jerk or shake. If you're designing a robot to scoop samples or grip a ledge, the kind of gears you'll need won't come from a hardware store.
At NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, technologist Douglas Hofmann and his collaborators are building a better gear. Hofmann is the lead author of two recent papers on gears made from bulk metallic glass (BMG), a specially crafted alloy with properties that make it ideal for robotics. Cont'd...
Going Where No Man Has Gone Before: What Does the Future Hold for Automation in the Service Industry?
Bruce Brown for DigitalTrends: It sounds like we can all take a breath and forget about robot attacks occurring — at least anytime soon. Robots turning against their makers is a common theme in science fiction. However, there’s “no cause for concern that AI poses an imminent threat to humanity,” according to Fast Company, citing the first report from the One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence (AI100).
The Stanford University-hosted project represents a standing committee of AI scientists. The AI100 project is ongoing but will not issue reports annually — the next one will be published “in a few years.” The first report, Artificial Intelligence and Life in 2030, downloadable at this link, looks at how advances in AI will make a difference in the U.S. between now and 2030. Areas of change explored by the report include transportation, healthcare, education, the workplace, and policing and public safety. Cont'd...
David Clensy for Bristol Post: For Silas Adekunle, the fascination has always been about how the very best robotics learns from biology.
There is a twinkle in the eye of the 25-year-old Reach Robotics founder, as he introduces me to Mekamon – the spider-like robot with which he plans to transform the future of augmented reality gaming among techies around the world.
Silas only graduated from the University of the West of England in 2014, but is already employing 10 people in his rapidly growing tech company. Cont'd...
Phys.org: On the wall of Aaron Dollar's office is a poster for R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), the 1920 Czech play that gave us the word "robot." The story ends with the nominal robots seizing control of the factory of their origin and then wiping out nearly all of humanity. Dollar, fortunately, has something more cheerful in mind for the future of human-robot relations.
He sees them as helpers in our daily lives—performing tasks like setting the table or assisting with the assembly of your new bookcase. But getting to the point where robots can work in the unstructured environment of our homes (as opposed to industrial settings) would take a major technological leap and a massive coordination of efforts from roboticists around the globe. The living room has been called the last frontier for robots—but first, the robotics community needs some standards that everyone can agree on.
Enter a suitcase-sized box containing 77 objects. It contains things like hammers, a cordless drill, a can of Spam and a nine-hole peg test. As ordinary as they may seem, these carefully curated household items could be the future of a new kind of standardization for robotics. Known as the Yale-CMU-Berkeley (YCB) Object and Model Set, the intent is to provide universal benchmarks for labs specializing in robotic manipulation and prosthetics around the world. Cont'd...
From AZoRobotics: As a result of a new machine learning algorithm formulated by engineering researchers Parham Aarabi (ECE) and Wenzhi Guo (ECE MASc 1T5) at University of Toronto, smartphones may soon be able to provide users with honest answers.
The researchers prepared an algorithm that was capable of learning directly from human instructions, instead of an existing set of examples, and surpassed conventional techniques of training neural networks by 160%.
But more astonishingly, their algorithm also surpassed its own training by 9% - it learned to identify hair in pictures with better reliability than that enabled by the training, signifying a major leap forward for artificial intelligence. Cont'd...
Colm Gorey for SiliconRepublic: Irishman Conor Walsh’s soft robotics exosuit was among the award winners at the recent Rolex Awards, due to the creator’s continuing efforts to develop tech for the benefit of humanity.
Now in its 40th year, the Rolex Awards are part of an international philanthropic programme that supports new and ongoing projects by individuals taking on major challenges to benefit humankind.
Hosted last night at a public awards ceremony in Los Angeles, the awards were presented to 10 laureates – including five young laureates – that included such wide-ranging topics as opthamology and agritech. Cont'd...
Charlotte Whistlecroft for DigitalSpy: If you think you're happy with your job, Madeline Gannon will definitely make you question your life, as this woman has managed to train giant robots to do things for her.
Nope, we're not joking - the founder of the Madlab Research Studio created "big, monstrous, industrial robots" and then tamed then, and she even has a nickname to prove it: The Robot Whisperer.
Which is all pretty impressive, if not terrifying, stuff.
Speaking at the WIRED Next Generation event in London, Madeline passed on her robot-taming skills to the audience of 12-18 year olds and shared her passion for turning 6-foot-tall factory line robots into tools any human can communicate with. Cont'd...
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