By Erico Guizzo and Evan Ackerman for IEEE Spectrum: Today in Tokyo, Toyota announced that it is investing US $1 billion over the next five years to establish a new R&D arm headquartered in Silicon Valley and focused on artificial intelligence and robotics. The Toyota Research Institute (TRI) plans to hire hundreds of engineers to staff a main facility in Palo Alto, Calif., near Stanford University, and a second facility located near MIT in Cambridge, Mass. Former DARPA program manager Dr. Gill Pratt, an executive technical advisor at Toyota, was named CEO of TRI, which will begin operations in January. Toyota president Akio Toyoda said in a press conference that the company pursues innovation and new technologies “to make life better for our customers and society as a whole,” adding that he wanted to “work with Gill not just because he’s an amazing researcher and engineer, but because I believe his goals and motivations are the same as ours.” Cont'd...
Part 3 includes more bionic robots like the smartbird and a handler modeled after an elephant trunk.
More fascinating bionics projects from Festo.
Since 2006 Festo has been developing and supporting projects and test objects whose basic technical principles are derived from a wide variety of principles found in nature.
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The next evolution in Dorner's Edge Roller Technology conveyor platform, the ERT®150, is ideal for small and light-load assembly automation, as well as medical and medical-device assembly application. The ERT platform is the only pallet conveyor of its kind available with an ISO Standard Class 4 rating for cleanroom applications. Earning the ISO Standard 14644-1 Class 4 rating means Dorner's ERT150 will conform and not contribute to the contamination of cleanrooms to those standards. As implied by its name, the ERT150 (Edge Roller Technology) uses rollers to move pallets through the conveyor smoothly with no friction (a byproduct often seen in belt-driven platforms). The conveyor's open design eliminates concerns of small parts or screws dropping into rollers and causing conveyor damage or jamming. The ERT150 is suited to operate in cleanroom environments requiring a pallet handling conveyor. It is capable of zoning for no or low-back pressure accumulation and is ideal for automation assembly applications within industries including medical devices, electronics, consumer goods among others.