The ABC of RPA, Part 10: At What Point Should I Also Consider Bringing Artificial Intelligence Into The Office Environment?

Once a number of robots have been successfully implemented within your internal team and your process experts have a thorough understanding of how these robots have impacted the operating environment - then you can progress to artificial intelligence.

The First Autonomous, Entirely Soft Robot

From Leah Burrows and Harvard:   A team of Harvard University researchers with expertise in 3-D printing, mechanical engineering, and microfluidics has demonstrated the first autonomous, untethered, entirely soft robot. This small, 3-D-printed robot — nicknamed the “octobot” — could pave the way for a new generation of such machines... ...Through our hybrid assembly approach, we were able to 3-D print each of the functional components required within the soft robot body, including the fuel storage, power, and actuation, in a rapid manner,” said Lewis. “The octobot is a simple embodiment designed to demonstrate our integrated design and additive fabrication strategy for embedding autonomous functionality.”... (full article)  

Chinese robotics makers feast on government subsidies

Li Liuxi and Chen Na for Caixin Online:  Local governments pumped hundreds of millions of yuan into the robotics industry in the first half of the year, helping to boost profits by as much as 60 percent in those companies rushing to take advantage of the generosity. With strong support from Beijing, China has embarked on a robot-building frenzy in the last two years in an effort to move beyond traditional manufacturing. But as often happens in industries targeted for development, poorly designed incentive programs often lead to abuse that results in millions of dollars in wasted funds. Similar waste in China's electric-vehicle and renewable-energy sectors has led to the buildup of huge new capacity that is sometimes unusable or of such low quality that no market exists for the products. In the case of robotics makers, Caixin found government funding made up a large portion of profits for a dozen manufactures listed in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Beijing in the first six months of this year.   Cont'd...

Telesurgery and New Robotic Surgery Training Curriculum

The devices and technology enhance the capabilities of a human surgeon allowing them to perform better than they can "free hand," and potentially allow them to remain active for many more years than has been typical in the past.

The legacy of Willow Garage…The "PARC" for robotics

Kazu Komoto for ReadWrite:  The robotic industries have been one of the hottest topics worldwide since there has been progressing from the traditional manufacturing applications to the non-manufacturing applications such as service industry. Like other industries, startups in US Bay Area cover the whole area of the San Francisco-Silicon Valley has led the innovation. You have heard Savioke developing a butler robot for the hotel industry, Fetch Robotics developing a picking and transport robot for logistics that is also well known as Softbank has invested, and Suitable Technologies which has created a telepresence market. In such robotics community in Bay Area, a group which has been recognized and respected is Willow Garage. There is a common point that all founders of companies mentioned above used to work for Willow Garage. Today, we are going to have a close look at Willow Garage, which is said: “Willow Garage in robotics industry is something like Bell Labs and Xerox Parc in the personal computer industry.”   Cont'd...

Growth of the Robotics Industry in Thailand

Under the automation and robotics cluster, the BOI (Thailand Board of Investment) promotes projects investing in automation machinery and/or automation equipment with engineering design and assembling of robots or automation equipment and/or parts.

Dexmo Robotics has created a mechanical exoskeleton glove for VR use

Julia Alexander for Polygon:  With HTC Vive and Oculus Rift headsets, the first wave of mainstream, consumer VR has officially arrived, and with it, comes the question of how to constantly better the experience for those using it. As it stands right now, those who want to use devices like the Vive or Rift must do so with controllers; the Rift uses an Xbox One controller while the Vive comes with its own dedicated peripheral. Both are functional and serve their purpose, but they come with certain limitations when trying to achieve the ideal VR experience. Now, Dexmo Robotics has unveiled what it thinks will solve some of those frustrations: a mechanical exoskeleton glove that can be paired with VR headsets. The glove, which can be seen in the video above, provides 11 degrees of freedom for movement, and the company touts the fact that each finger comes with a pressured sensor. Essentially, if you're playing a first-person shooter, you'll be able to feel the in-game gun's trigger bring squeezed as well as the recoil.   Full Article:

See what this squishy octopus-inspired robot can do

The latest revolutionary robot isn’t the metallic, costly machine you’d expect: It’s squishy like Silly Putty, wireless, battery-less and made for pennies by a 3D printer. Meet Octobot. It looks like a tiny octopus and is designed to mimic that slithery creature to get through cracks and tight places, making it ideal as a rescue robot. A team at Harvard University has created a robot - actually about 300 of them, since they are so cheap to make - that is opposite of the common view of a robot. Soft, not hard. Flexibl,e not rigid. It’s not mechanical, nor electrical. It’s powered by fluids. The discovery is described, photographed and shown on video in the scientific journal Nature.   Cont'd...

Collaboration and Integration are Crucial for the Growth of the Robotics Industry

The advancement of robotics will happen more quickly and provide more value with collaboration in the community around the adoption of reasonable interoperability standards.

The ABC of RPA, Part 9: How Do I Measure Performance of a Robot Versus Humans?

If a robot gets a company's product out the door one or two days sooner, that equates to revenue, and thus cash, in the door one or two days sooner.

Eric the Robot - the Start of the Inevitable Future of Humans and Robots Living Harmoniously

In this evolving environment, can trainable robots and cobots go from tradeshow wow factor to actual industrial automation standard components, or will they go the way of Eric and be lost because the industry was too slow to take advantage of the available technology?

AMAZON HAS BEGUN TESTING DRONES AT THIS ENGLISH FARM

Kelsey D. Atherton for Popular Science:  Flying machines are hard secrets to keep. By their very nature, they soar into the heavens, above the heads of those below. America's military tends to keep its secret planes secret by only flying them in vast swathes of empty desert, until they’re ready for public debut. But that’s not really an option for Amazon, which is testing delivery drones in the United Kingdom (while it attempts to weave its way through U.S. regulations). So where, exactly, are Amazon drones flying? A field eight miles south of Cambridge named “Worsted Lodge.” No, really. In a thorough photo-essay at Business Insider, reporter Sam Shead pinpoints and explores the site and the field, until turned away by a security guard.   Cont'd...

What is an Electroadhesive Clutch?

The electroadhesive clutch is a general-purpose clutch for exoskeletons, offering increased functionality while being lightweight and consuming very little energy.

Industrial Robots and Manufacturing Jobs - A Catalyst for Loss or Growth?

When disruptive technologies are introduced to the marketplace, there is an initial uncertainty among the general population about these unfamiliar products, services, or new ways of conducting business.

Robot Octopus Points the Way to Soft Robotics With Eight Wiggly Arms

Cecilia Laschi for IEEE Spectrum:  The sun was sparkling on the Mediterranean Sea on the afternoon when a graduate student from my lab tossed our prize robot into the water for the first time. I watched nervously as our electronic creation sank beneath the waves. But the bot didn’t falter: When we gave it the command to swim, it filled its expandable mantle with water, then jetted out the fluid to shoot forward. When we ordered it to crawl, it stiffened its eight floppy arms in sequence to push itself along the sandy bottom and over scattered rocks. And when we instructed it to explore a tight space beneath the dock, the robot inserted its soft body into the narrow gap without difficulty. As a professor at the BioRobotics Institute at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, in Pisa, Italy, I lead a team investigating soft robotics. This relatively new field of research has the potential to upend our ideas about what robots are capable of and where they can be useful. I chose to build robots that mimic the form of the octopus for two reasons. First, because they’re well suited to demonstrate the many advantages that come when a machine can flex and squish as needed. Also, it’s an excellent engineering challenge: An octopus with eight wiggly arms, which must work together in the face of complex hydrodynamic forces, is very difficult to design and control.   Cont'd...

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