NASA's new $1 million Space Robotics Challenge to prepare robots for Mars journey

Evan Ackerman for IEEE Spectrum:  Last year at the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals, NASA announced a new challenge for humanoid robots: the Space Robotics Challenge (SRC), which will “prepare robots for the journey to Mars.” Just like the DRC, the first stage of the SRC will consist of a virtual challenge, run in the Gazebo simulator, followed up by a physical challenge using NASA’s R5 Valkyrie robots. As of yesterday, NASA has opened registration for the SRC, and we’ll take a look at the format of the competition, the challenges that teams will need to complete, and what they can take home for winning.   Cont'd...

As Intuitive Surgical Continues to Shine, Competitors Are Entering the Fray

The surgical robot device market was estimated to be $3.2 billion in 2014 and forecast to reach $20 billion by 2021 as next generation devices, systems and instruments are introduced to manage surgery through small ports in the body instead of large open wounds.

The ABC of RPA, Part 8: Can robots and humans work in harmony?

Humans will always be required within an operation because they will need to process the one-off transactions that the robot has not been equipped to handle, and the robot will need to be programmed for any process changes.

Pepper the 'emotional robot' makes its way to Silicon Valley

Lauren Goode for The Verge:  Pepper, the humanoid robot created by Aldebaran Robotics and SoftBank Mobile, is slowly making its way to the US — and it’s starting in Silicon Valley. The robot was seen in action this week at the b8ta store in Palo Alto, California, a gadget shop launched by former Nest employees. Pepper was on a demo loop at the store, so we weren’t able to fully interact with it. But the idea behind Pepper is that it’s supposed to interpret and respond to a variety of customer needs. Using a combination of 2D and 3D cameras in its eyes and mouth, plus four multi-directional microphones, Pepper is able to "read" four human emotions — happiness, joy, sadness, and anger — and respond accordingly. It rolls up to you, raises its hands in greeting when you introduce yourself, and turns its head toward you when you move or talk. It is toylike and adorable.   Cont'd...

Special Tradeshow Coverage for The International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS 2016)

IMTS 2016 will be held from September 12th - 17th in Chicago, Illinois. This RoboticsTomorrow.com Special Tradeshow report aims to bring you news, articles and products from this years event.

Insect-Sized Drone Will Spy On Terrorists

Source - Sky News:  An insect-sized spy drone with four flapping wings and four legs is set to become Britain's latest weapon in the war on terror. The Dragonfly drone fits in the palm of a hand and has four flapping wings and four legs. It can fly through the air with great agility, allowing it to penetrate buildings through open windows, and perch on surfaces to eavesdrop. It can detect incoming objects and buildings, meaning it can avoid obstacles at high speeds. It is one of a number of pieces of kit being developed by the Ministry of Defence as part of an innovation drive.   Cont'd...

Global collaborative robots market expected to grow at a high rate

Market Reports World:  The global market for collaborative robots is expected to grow at a CAGR of 60.04% between 2016 and 2022 from USD 110.0 million in 2015 and reach USD 3.3 Billion by 2022. The market is expected to be driven by the growing demand because of higher return on investment and low price of collaborative robots that are attracting the small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), and the increase in investments for automation in industries. “The market in the automotive industry and furniture & equipment industry is expected to grow rapidly” The application in the automotive industry accounted for the largest share of the collaborative robot market in 2015 and this trend is expected to continue during the forecast period. However, the increasing installations of collaborative robots in the automotive industry and furniture & equipment industry would provide rapid growth between 2016 and 2022, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.  Full report...

Is That Drone a Weapon?

Many police departments have purchased or plan to buy drones for search-and-rescue, arson, disaster relief, and accident investigations. Police officials say the devices can keep officers out of dangerous situations and cover more ground quickly, especially in the case of a missing child or an armed suspect on the run, especially in rural areas.

Japan Is Leaping Towards Smart Factory Implementation

A few niche Japanese companies have been producing high-performance all-axis servo-driven take-out robots to make an industry smart in its various stages of planning, organizing, staffing, controlling, delivering, etc.

18 Questions to Ask Your AGV (Automated Guided Vehicle) Vendor: Part 1

You need an AGV solution that will grow with your company, adapting to your changing industry and taking on the challenges you face as your business grows.

Do the benefits of robotics outweigh the heavy demands on infrastructure?

Ben Rossi for Information Age:  Robotics has already been deployed in manufacturing to great effect for over a decade, performing delicate and precise tasks with greater accuracy than humans. But now cutting-edge robots and other smart machines are set to join forces with the rapidly expanding Internet of Things, which Gartner estimates will total 25 billion devices by 2020. In healthcare, robotic services are already operating pharmacy dispensers and robotic trolleys are now deployed in a growing number of hospitals. In hospitality, robots deliver services such as drinks dispensing and automated trolley deliveries. Robots have even made their way into education, where they are being deployed successfully as a tutor, tool or peer in learning activities. But what impact will this large-scale adoption of robotics have on existing networks as they encounter inevitable further strain?   Cont'd...

RobotLAB - Robots that help to educate in the Classroom

Our programs are all-inclusive. We provide the robots, and a login to a learning portal with all the lessons, exercises, and the programming interface.

A Large Dataset to Train Convolutional Networks for Disparity, Optical Flow, and Scene Flow Estimation

From Computer Vision Freiburg:   Recent work has shown that optical flow estimation can be formulated as a supervised learning task and can be successfully solved with convolutional networks. Training of the so-called FlowNet was enabled by a large synthetically generated dataset. The present paper extends the concept of optical flow estimation via convolutional networks to disparity and scene flow estimation. To this end, we propose three synthetic stereo video datasets with sufficient realism, variation, and size to successfully train large networks. Our datasets are the first large-scale datasets to enable training and evaluating scene flow methods. Besides the datasets, we present a convolutional network for real-time disparity estimation that provides state-of-the-art results. By combining a flow and disparity estimation network and training it jointly, we demonstrate the first scene flow estimation with a convolutional network. his video shows impressions from various parts of our dataset, as well as state-of-the-art realtime disparity estimation results produced by one of our new CNNs... (full paper)    

R&D Spending Expected to Spike in Robotics Industry Until 2020

Kagan Pittman for Engineering.com:  As Chinese companies move to expand their market share in industrial robotics, so too are companies in the West, with some of the biggest power-plays coming from R&D departments. A recent report by Technavio predicts that global R&D spending in the robotics industry will grow at a CAGR of more than 17 percent between 2016-2020. Technavio analysts cite the following factors as key drivers in the growth of R&D spending: A race for robotics patents Demand for lower system engineering and installation costs Growing demand for industrial robots from non-automotive industries The report’s analysis considers market trends across user segments including: defense, healthcare, automotive, domestic, food and beverage, electricals, electronics, oil and gas, textiles and packaging.  Cont'd...

Upcoming Tradeshow, Conference & Exhibition Summary - September - December 2016

Here is a summary of what Tradeshows, Conferences & Exhibitions to look forward to in the coming months.

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