Rising Media's RoboUniverse Conference & Expo Returns to New York City for its Second Edition; Reveals Tracks and Program Details; April 11-12, 2016 at the Javits Convention Center

Launched in New York City in May 2015, RoboUniverse is the first global conference and trade show series dedicated to advancing the Service Robotics industry. Following its 2015 launch, RoboUniverse has produced events in Seoul, Tokyo, Shanghai, San Diego, and Singapore.

Would you buy meat from a robot butcher?

Greg Nichols for The Kernel:  In an era when hunks of cow and pig are packaged and distributed like Amazon Prime parcels, butchering has retained a surprising degree of its old-world craftsmanship. Workers armed with knives and hooks anachronistically slice flesh from bone the same way they have for hundreds of years. That’s because cutting meat—be it on an assembly line or in a niche shop in Santa Monica, California, or Brooklyn, New York—is a skill that requires exceptional dexterity, a good eye, and a honed tactile sense for texture and firmness. Industrial robots may be perfectly suited to welding chassis and painting cars, but they don’t have the touch to cut a succulent T-bone steak. That’s likely to change. JBS, one of the country’s largest meat processors, recently acquired a controlling share of Scott Technology, a New Zealand-based robotics firm. Now JBS is looking at ways to automate its facilities. Robots don’t sleep, don’t collect overtime, and don’t suffer the horrific repetitive stress injuries that plague meat workers. Meat is already packed using machines, and if engineers can figure out how to make automated systems that approximate the deft hands of a butcher, there’s little question giants like JBS, Cargill, and Tyson will replace many of their line workers with robots. In the next decade, adroit robots that can see, feel, and move like humans may finally kill off the butcher.   Cont'd...

Universal Robots: Denmark's largest robot manufacturer delivers 91% growth in revenue

Universal Robots' recently published financial statements leave no doubt as to the enormous growth potential of the robot industry. With revenue reaching 418 million DKK in 2015, the Odense-based company achieved 91% growth compared to 2014, while delivering a brilliant bottom line performance: a profit of 65.4 million DKK before tax.

Mercedes Boots Robots From the Production Line:

By Elisabeth Behrmann & Christoph Rauwald for Bloomberg Business:  “Robots can’t deal with the degree of individualization and the many variants that we have today,” Markus Schaefer, the German automaker’s head of production, said at its factory in Sindelfingen, the anchor of the Daimler AG unit’s global manufacturing network. “We’re saving money and safeguarding our future by employing more people.” Mercedes’s Sindelfingen plant, the manufacturer’s biggest, is an unlikely place to question the benefits of automation. While the factory makes elite models such as the GT sports car and the ultra-luxury S-Class Maybach sedan, the 101-year-old site is far from a boutique assembly shop. The complex processes 1,500 tons of steel a day and churns out more than 400,000 vehicles a year. That makes efficient, streamlined production as important at Sindelfingen as at any other automotive plant. But the age of individualization is forcing changes to the manufacturing methods that made cars and other goods accessible to the masses. The impetus for the shift is versatility. While robots are good at reliably and repeatedly performing defined tasks, they’re not good at adapting. That’s increasingly in demand amid a broader offering of models, each with more and more features.   Cont'd...

Automatic Programming makes Swarm Robots safer and more reliable

Researchers from Sheffield Robotics have applied a novel method of automatically programming and controlling a swarm of up to 600 robots to complete a specified set of tasks simultaneously.

IDC Forecasts Worldwide Spending on Robotics to Reach $135 Billion in 2019 Driven by Strong Spending Growth in Manufacturing and Healthcare

The new spending guide measures purchases of robotic systems, system hardware, software, robotics-related services, and after-market robotics hardware on a regional level across thirteen key industries and fifty-two use cases.

VEX Robotics by HEXBUG Kit Named Educational Toy of the Year

The VEX Robotic Arm by HEXBUG received the award for Educational Toy of the Year at the Toy Industry Association's 16th annual Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards, also known as the "Oscars" of the toy industry. This distinguished honor is granted annually to a toy that best enables learning through play. Receiving the 2016 Educational TOTY further cements HEXBUG and VEX Robotics as continued world leaders in innovative toys and robotics.

ROS Navigation Basics

If you've worked with ROS and robotics, you've probably heard of gmaping, localization, SLAM, costmaps and paths, but what does all this mean? They are more than just robot buzz words - these allow a robot to get from one point to another without bumping into obstacles, and in this tutorial, we'll be covering some of the key concepts in what makes up an autonomous robot.

SME Announces Smart Manufacturing Seminar Series to Educate and Showcase Advanced Manufacturing Technologies

Topic of additive manufacturing/3D printing session kicks off series March 16 in Detroit

Republican-Leaning Cities Are At Greater Risk Of Job Automation

By Jed Kolko for Five Thirty Eight:  More and more work activities and even entire jobs are at risk of beingautomated by algorithms, computers and robots, raising concerns that more and more humans will be put out of work. The fear of automation is widespread — President Obama cited it as the No. 1 reason Americans feel anxious about the economy in his State of the Union address last month — but its effects are not equally distributed, creating challenges for workers and policymakers. An analysis of where jobs are most likely to face automation shows that areas that voted Republican in the last presidential election are more at risk, suggesting that automation could become a partisan issue. So-called “routine” jobs — those that “can be accomplished by following explicit rules” — are most at risk of automation. These include both “manual” routine occupations, such as metalworkers and truck drivers, and “cognitive” routine occupations, such as cashiers and customer service reps.1 Whereas many routine jobs tend to be middle-wage, non-routine jobs include both higher-wage managerial and professional occupations and lower-wage service jobs.   Cont'd...

Japanese Firm To Open World's First Robot-run Farm

Spread , a vegetable producer, said industrial robots would carry out all but one of the tasks needed to grow the tens of thousands of lettuces it produces each day at its vast indoor farm in Kameoka, Kyoto prefecture, starting from mid-2017. The robots will do everything from re-planting young seedlings to watering, trimming and harvesting crops. The innovation will boost production from 21,000 lettuces a day to 50,000 a day, the firm said, adding that it planned to raise that figure to half a million lettuces daily within five years. “The seeds will still be planted by humans, but every other step, from the transplanting of young seedlings to larger spaces as they grow to harvesting the lettuces, will be done automatically,” said JJ Price, Spread’s global marketing manager. The new farm – an extension of its existing Kameoka farm – will improve efficiency and reduce labour costs by about half. The use of LED lighting means energy costs will be slashed by almost a third, and about 98% of the water needed to grow the crops will be recycled. The farm, measuring about 4,400 sq metres, will have floor-to-ceiling shelves where the produce is grown... ( cont'd )

National Robotics Week Looks to Host More Events, Robot Enthusiasts and STEM Educators than Ever Before

Help Promote the Importance of Technology Education this April

KUKA Small Robot Receives Renowned Awards for Product Design

Fivefold triumph for the KUKA small robot: with the American Good Design Award, the KR AGILUS adds another trophy for excellent product design to its collection.

Navitar Enters into Definitive Agreement to Acquire Hyperion Development

Navitar, Inc, a leading USA-based manufacturer of precision optics and imaging system components, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Hyperion Development, LLC, a leading design firm and manufacturer of custom optical assemblies and OEM solutions. The companies expect the deal to close by the end of the first quarter.

Global Motion Control Shipments Contract 3.9% in 2015

Global shipments for motion control products declined by 3.9% to $2.9 billion in 2015, according to new statistics released by the Motion Control & Motor Association (MCMA), the industry's trade group.

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