Phys.org: Scientists have built a computer model that shows how bees use vision to detect the movement of the world around them and avoid crashing. This research, published in PLOS Computational Biology, is an important step in understanding how the bee brain processes the visual world and will aid the development of robotics. The study led by Alexander Cope and his coauthors at the University of Sheffield shows how bees estimate the speed of motion, or optic flow, of the visual world around them and use this to control their flight. The model is based on Honeybees as they are excellent navigators and explorers, and use vision extensively in these tasks, despite having a brain of only one million neurons (in comparison to the human brain's 100 billion). The model shows how bees are capable of navigating complex environments by using a simple extension to the known neural circuits, within the environment of a virtual world. The model then reproduces the detailed behaviour of real bees by using optic flow to fly down a corridor, and also matches up with how their neurons respond. Cont'd...
A total of 7,406 robots valued at approximately $402 million were ordered from North American companies during the first quarter of 2016.
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.
Please join newly launched Asian Robotics Review as it chronicles the greatest technological transformation in history: The Asian Century.
ABI Research Forecasts Continued, Steady Growth for Both the Toy/Hobbyist and Prosumer UAV Sectors
By Gary Robbins for the San Diego Union Tribune: UC San Diego is creating a robotics institute that will develop machines that can interpret everything from subtle facial expressions to walking styles to size up what people are thinking, doing and feeling. The “See-Think-Do” technology is largely meant to anticipate and fulfill people’s everyday needs, especially the soaring number of older Americans who want to live out their lives in their own homes. Engineers envision robots that are so good at sizing up people, places and situations that they could help evacuate crowds from dangerous areas and pick through the rubble of an earthquake to look for survivors. The newly created Contextual Robotics Institute will be formally announced on Friday when some of the nation’s top scientists meet at UC San Diego to discuss the future of robotics. The campus has already lined up support from such San Diego companies as Qualcomm, which needs new markets for its computer chips, and Northrop Grumman, which develops unmanned aerial vehicles. “Our plan is to do the research and development that’s needed to realize robots of the future — robots that are safe, useful and autonomous in any environment,” said Albert Pisano, dean of UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering. Cont'd...
By Evan Ackerman for IEEE Spectrum: The best and worst part of the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals waswatching all of those huge expensive humanoids topple over in a series of epic faceplants. Faceplants are called faceplants because you’re planting your face into the ground as a means of breaking your fall, which usually also breaks your face, among other things. This tends to happen when you’re unprepared for falling, which with most robots, is 100 percent of the time. Now researchers at Georgia Tech want to teach humanoid robots to fall more safely with techniques adapted from judo, which might protect them enough to actually be able to get up again. Falling safely (or, as safely as you can), assuming that you have very little control over the nature of your fall, is all about controlling exactly when and how your body crashes down. During a fall, your body is busy converting potential energy to kinetic energy, all of which has to go somewhere when you hit the ground. If your face hits the ground first, then that’s where all the energy goes at once, but if you can manage to contact the ground with a bunch of different parts of your body at different times on the way down, the energy will be spread out. Ideally, the energy gets spread out to the point where each individual impact doesn’t do enough damage to hurt you in a permanent sort of way. Cont'd...
By Corinne Iozzio for Scientific American: Hong Kong–based WowWee's success stems from bringing university research projects to life that might otherwise languish in the prototype stage. A licensing agreement with the Flow Control and Coordinated Robotics Labs at the University of California, San Diego, for example, provides WowWee with access to patents and the labs with a healthy cash infusion. The collaboration has already netted a series of toy robots that balance like Segways. More recently, the avionics lab at Concordia University in Montreal began working with the company to perfect flight algorithms for a four-rotor drone. Next, chief technology officer Davin Sufer says he has his eye on the Georgia Institute of Technology and its work with swarming behaviors, which would allow a group of robots to function in tandem. In the case of Switchbot, WowWee adapted a locomotion system developed in part by former U.C. San Diego student Nick Morozovsky. The robot moves on tank-tread legs either horizontally to navigate uneven terrain or on end to stand and scoot fully upright. Morozovsky built his prototype with off-the-shelf parts, including a set of $50 motors. The motors were a compromise; each one had the size and torque he wanted but not the speed. Over the past few years he has worked with WowWee to customize a motor with the exact parameters needed and to cut the final cost of the part down to single digits. That back and forth yields low-cost, mass-producible parts, which means university-level robotics could become available to everyday people. “One of the reasons I went into mechanical engineering was so I could create real things that have a direct impact,” Morozovsky says. “I didn't expect that to necessarily happen in the process of grad school.” Cont'd...
In a rolling, outdoor field, full of lumps, bumps and uneven terrain, researchers at Oregon State University last week successfully field-tested for the first time the locomotion abilities of a two-legged robot with technology that they believe heralds the running robots of the future.
Scientists are coming to grips with the superior grasping ability of humans and other primates throughout history.
Mass production and packaging in factories is already highly automated these days, but the same cannot be said for logistics. Movements of raw materials and finished products still depend heavily on manual labour. However, EU-funded research on Automatic Guided Vehicles means this is about to change over the next decade - and could create thousands of new jobs.
The Commercial Drone Market Is Set To Soar According to New Report from Market Research International
The commercial drone market is set for massive growth, according to a new report available from Market Research International.
The same technology that has provided value for warfighters can be brought into the commercial world to provide safety and efficiency for forklifts, golfcarts, lawnmowers and porters to carry your luggage in resorts and shopping carts that can follow or lead you in retail stores.
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Simpler, stronger, and more precise. ATI Industrial Automation has developed a series of Manual Tool Changers that provides a cost-effective solution for quickly changing tools by hand. They feature a unique design that combines high strength, excellent repeatability, and a patent-pending screw-cam locking mechanism with multiple fail-safe features, which resists vibration and prevents loosening. These robust and compact Manual Tool Changers can handle payloads up to 80 pounds (36 kg) and pass pneumatics and electrical signals.