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What's New In Robotics This Week - 08.06.2018

Emmet Cole
by Emmet Cole. Last updated on Jun 08, 2018 7:15 AM
Posted on Jun 08, 2018 7:00 AM. 9 min read time
  • -Manufacturing & Cobot Roundup 
  • News from Hanwha, VDMA, Universal Robots 
  • Meet 'Bad Dog' & 'Sentinel' 
  • New propulsion system for swimming robots 
  • And much more! 


Manufacturing & cobot roundup 

Korea's Hanwha Group plans to focus on its cobot and solar cell businesses to "meet the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution," according to a report in Business Korea:


Caption: Hanhwa's cobot assembles a remote control.  

Hanwha Robotics is looking for opportunities in overseas markets rather than in domestic markets. In fact, various industrial robots are already active in domestic manufacturing factories. Not many countries have as advanced factory automation as Korea does. “However, if we turn our eyes to overseas, there are regions such as Europe, the US, and Southeast Asia that are pushing for factory digitization and smart factories." Jang [Woo-seok, executive director of Hanwha Techwin] said.

Researchers from The Institute for Intelligent Systems and Robotics, University Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France performed an ergonomic assessment of cobots with some help from a digital human model... 




The German mechanical engineering association (VDMA) expects sales of robotics and automation equipment to reach EUR15.8 billion euros (USD18.5 billion) in 2018 --a slowdown from last year's record 13 per cent growth, which was driven by Chinese demand.


The VDMA said last year's record demand had increased delivery times which would have a positive impact on 2018 sales. Germany exported 60 percent of its robotics and automation equipment last year.

Exports to China [...] soared by around 60 percent, propelled by big investment in its electronics industry and automation. Demand was also dynamic in the United States, while growth in Europe remained moderate, the VDMA said.

Mouser Electronics, Inc. announces the release of a new e-book about collaborative robotics

Motion control specialists, Axis New York programmed a Universal Robots cobot to draw on a vertical whiteboard... 





FANUC America integrator Triton Automation Group showcased its new "Fixtureless Laser Marking System," which "eliminates the ergonomic and labor issues of having multiple operators use pin stamping machines"... 





Chip maker Nvidia showed off its Isaac platform, which is designed to "bring greater artificial intelligence to robots in a wide range of industries and which is only the latest step by the company to make its GPUs the central computing technology for machine learning and other modern workloads," eweek reported.   

Andros Robotics showcased its MCA (Mobile Collaborative Arm), which is aimed at that portion of the warehouse automation industry  that's looking for "long-reach, light-weight arms to mount onto mobile bases for mobile manipulation to completely automate product retrieval and e-commerce order fulfillment"...





"Not enough land, not enough water, too few farmers, and [US]$470 billion in annual food spoilage," adds up to an Asian food sector in desperate need of smart automation solutions, says Asian Robotics Review

Veo Robotics founder Clara Vu, spoke about safe human-robot collaboration... 



Be sure to check out the Robotiq Resource Center to learn more about cobot safety. 

Mark P. Mills, a McCormick School of Engineering Faculty Fellow at Northwestern University and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, offered a pretty compelling argument that robots will "come to the rescue"  of manufacturing and manufacturing jobs. 

Techman's TM5 cobot was spotted doing a bit of welding...





DesignNews explained that "as smart manufacturing tools become more intelligent and easier to use, they’re becoming affordable for small manufacturers." 

Copan Diagnostics unveiled a cobot system aimed at the clinical microbiology market.  (H/T Robotics & Automation News.) 

As part of the VISE ProjectRashid Yasin, a graduate student at Vanderbilt University's ARMA Lab, is working on a collaborative project to enhance surgical robotic capabilities ...




To "robot proof" their jobs, workers should keep learning, focus on their strengths, and learn how to work with robots, according to MIT Technology Review.   

INRS expert Jean-Christophe Blaise spoke about cobots during a June 04, 2018 webinar (French language)...






Watch out grumpy cat. 'Bad Dog' is in town. 

Designed to cure loneliness among Chinese men, Bad Dog certainly doesn't look like it's in the mood to play around. 



Caption: First generation, prototype Bad Dog on display at Yunqi 2050 (Image credit: TechNode/Frank Hersey)


There was some disappointing news for sex robot enthusiasts this week as Kings College London research indicated that the benefits of sex bots are "greatly overstated."  The Guardian has more. 

To help understand the complex dynamics of sage grouse mating, UC Davis biologist Gail Patricelli developed a 'fembot' designed to trick males into displaying courtship behaviors.

The Missouri University of Science and Technology Multirotor Robot Design Team showcased some of its recent work on an autonomous aerial robot dubbed 'Sentinel.' 





In other news... 

  • CNBC explored "the complicated truth" about Sophia the robot.  
  • Samsung Electronics announced that renowned AI experts Dr. H. Sebastian Seung (the Evnin Professor in the Neuroscience Institute and Department of Computer Science at Princeton University) and Dr. Daniel D. Lee (the UPS Foundation Chair Professor in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania) have joined Samsung Research
  • The Conversation asked "Why do robots look like animals and humans?" 
  • ZDNet reported that delivery robot 'Robby' has received an update. 

ETH Zurich researchers revealed a new propulsion system for swimming robots that "exploits temperature fluctuations in the water for propulsion without the need for an engine, propellant, or power supply." 


eth zurich

Caption: Visualization of a mini-submarine that uses the new propulsion system. (Credit: ETH Zurich/Tim Chen)


Nissan’s field-striping robot 'Pitch-R,'  made its first appearance in the recent Champions League Final in Ukraine. (H/T DigitalTrends)



I'll be back next week with more robotics news! Until then... 


Five vids for Friday

 1.  With support from the National Science Foundation, roboticists Karl von Ellenrieder and Satyandra Gupta explore ways to engineer "smarter robotic boats" for "safer, cheaper work on the water." 





2.  Johnny Matheny (the first person to live with a mind-controlled robotic arm) is teaching himself piano as part of a research project run through the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab and funded (in part) by the US Department of Defense.




3.  The Ingenium Group at the University of Castilla-La Mancha, Spain showcased its 'Climber Robot.' 




4.  CBC News asked "Will your doctor be replaced by a robot?" 




5.  Heather Ames, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Neurala, spoke about "on-device deep learning." 





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Emmet Cole
Written by Emmet Cole
A freelance robotics writer since 2006, Emmet is an Economist contributor, and a regular contributor to Robotics Business Review and Robotics Trends. His writing on robots has also appeared in Wired, BBC Future, BBC Focus magazine, Space Quarterly, and numerous other outlets.
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