By John Schmid of the Journal Sentinel: The Texas facility that mass-produces State Fair corn dogs and Jimmy Dean Pancakes & Sausage on a Stick retooled itself recently as a hyper-automated smart factory. It installed 1,500 sensors to collect gigabytes of data on everything from raw meat inventories to wastewater and electrical usage. Then the Fort Worth factory took one extra step into the future of industrial technology: It added software that transmits all of that real-time data onto smartphones and tablets, making it possible for plant managers to monitor their production network from anywhere on the factory floor — and during coffee breaks or vacations, as well. If they choose — so far, most don't — this new breed of mobile managers can even operate factory equipment remotely, shutting off pumps or speeding up production lines. Technology has made that sort of operation as easy as playing a smartphone video game, but it can be reckless because a lot of equipment can interfere with or hurt those who are physically present. It's only a matter of time, some say, before factory controls migrate to Google Glass, the wearable displays mounted in eyeglass frames, or smart wristwatches. Cont'd...
Here are some crowd funding projects of interest.
Taking first place and the $2 million in prize money that goes with it is Team Kaist of Daejeon, Republic of Korea, and its robot DRC-Hubo
In a leap for robotic development, the MIT researchers who built a robotic cheetah have now trained it to see and jump over hurdles as it runs - making this the first four-legged robot to run and jump over obstacles autonomously...
Founded by mechanical engineer Clay Guillory, who calls himself “a mechanical engineer by day, and a mechanical engineer by night,” Titan Robotics focuses on doing one thing and one thing very well: designing large 3D printers that are designed to last a lifetime. Among other applications that Clay has used his 3D printing know-how towards include prosthetic hands - which started as a request from a mother whose 8-year old boy was in need of a low-cost solution. Titan Robotics’ Atlas 3D printer was named after the famous Greek god who was known for fighting alongside the Titans and then later charged to bear the weight of the heavens on his shoulders. According to Clay, “the strength of this Greek god is an accurate depiction of the strength and size of this new 3D printer”. With over a year in development including real-world testing in various manufacturing facilities, the Atlas has proven to be a highly-accurate 3D printer that is capable of printing large prototypes reliably over time. According to the company, one beta user documented printing an extremely large accurate and functioning prototype with a total recorded print time of just over 200 hours.
Robotics Fast Track foresees cost-effective development of new capabilities by engaging cutting-edge groups and individuals who traditionally have not worked with the federal government
3-D printing could really change medical research. Important questions can be answered, saving both time and money, as 3-D-printed models give surgeons new perspectives and opportunities to practice, and patients and their families a deeper understanding of complex procedures.
"True to DARPA's mission, EXACTO has demonstrated what was once thought impossible: the continuous guidance of a small-caliber bullet to target," said Jerome Dunn, DARPA program manager.
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.
Sage Lazzaro for The Observer: When we last talked with the folks from Makerbot, we discussed how 3D printers will soon be household appliances as common as microwaves, vacuums and well, regular printers. But they agreed that certain design and affordability standards need to be met first. Little did we know, a 3D printer set to meet those standards was being developed in Toronto as we spoke. We’re talking about Tiko, the meticulously designed and shockingly affordable “unibody” 3D printer that’s had the industry’s experts and publications buzzing. The $179 3D printer surpassed its Kickstarter goal of $100,000 in three hours and finished up its campaign last Friday with a total of just under $3 million in pledges. Tiko looks nothing like any 3D printer you’ve seen before. While most have a multipart frame, Tiko’s frame is one piece with three sets of arms that move in unison, essentially eliminating issues of misalignment or inaccurate prints associated with other products. The New York Observer spoke with Tiko founder and CEO Matt Gajkowski, who explained that Tiko’s unique design is actually essential to its affordability. Cont'd...
Dan Dibbern and Laura Studwell for Quality Magazine: Industrial robots are expected to be the focus for investment in factory automation. According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), investment in industrial robots is expected to grow at an annual rate of 12% from 2015 to 2017. The packaging industry is experiencing a surge in robotic integration throughout primary, secondary and tertiary packaging—from processing, assembly, labeling and cartoning to case packing and palletizing. The driving force behind the surge in robotics sales growth in North America is the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The FSMA is requiring companies to introduce automated machinery and components into the production process to help eliminate potential product quality and integrity issues. With the FSMA about to publicly release its requirements, the use of robots in packaging is at the point of takeoff. And with recent technical advances in robotics helping to power the new wave of interest, companies are experiencing first-hand that robots are faster, smarter and more affordable than ever before.
This is an example of high speed milling of a soft foam statue into a sculpture using Robotmaster and a KUKA Robot. The 7-axis robot allows accurate cutting from all angles.
As more robots are designed and implemented in fighting fires, the safer it becomes for the human firefighters. These robots, combined with rescue robots, can ensure that every fire fighter comes home after the job is done.
From David Stolarsky: The goal of Frankenimage is to reconstruct input (target) images with pieces of images from a large image database (the database images). Frankenimage is deliberately in contrast with traditional photomosaics. In traditional photomosaics, more often than not, the database images that are composed together to make up the target image are so small as to be little more than glorified pixels. Frankenimage aims instead for component database images to be as large as possible in the final composition, taking advantage of structure in each database image, instead of just its average color. In this way, database images retain their own meaning, allowing for real artistic juxtaposition to be achieved between target and component images... ( full description and pseudo code )
From Monoprice: $699. Quickly sold out though. New stock ETA 5/25/2015 ( monoprice order page )
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ATI Industrial Automation's MC-10 Manual Tool Changer provides a cost-effective solution for quickly changing tools by hand. Its compact yet robust design is optimized for collaborative robot applications. The ergonomic twist-collar locking mechanism ensures a secure attachment of the tool and easy manual operation with tactile feedback. This Manual Tool Changer can carry payloads of up to 22 lbs and includes multiple fail-safe features that resist vibration and prevent loosening. The MC-10 Manual Tool Changer has integrated air pass-through connections and options to connect electrical utilities if needed. ATI will feature the new MC-10 along with a variety of other robotic demonstrations and product displays at this year's IMTS show in Chicago (Booth #236417).