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What's New In Robotics This Week?  09.11.2018

Emmet Cole
by Emmet Cole. Last updated on Jul 06, 2020 11:26 AM
Posted on Nov 09, 2018 7:00 AM. 10 min read time

-News from ABB, Robotiq, Doosan++
-Meet Furhat
-Nokia's robot research lab
-New nanobots for eye surgery
-Drones to the rescue
-Five vids for Friday
-And much more!

Manufacturing & cobot roundup

Peter Voser, the Chairman of industrial automation giant ABB spoke with CNBC about trade issues and China's need for automation  following ABB's announcement of a massive investment in a new Chinese manufacturing facility. 



The cobot market is estimated to grow from US$710 million in 2018 to US$12,303 million by 2025, at a CAGR of 50.31%, according to a new report

Stroka Business Group released video showing one of Yaskawa Motoman's HC10 cobots in a mixed reality scenario courtesy of Microsoft's HoloLens technology...




Is the market rethinking the value of collaborative robotics after the closure of Rethink Robotics?  The answer is a definitive "No," reports ZDNet:

 Indeed, the collaborative robotics market as a whole has never seemed more promising after Rethink's demise.

Robotiq, makers of the grippers for cobots, unveiled the next generation of cobot grippers this week.  The 2F-85 and 2F-140 adaptive grippers are connected to Universal Robots' safety function, making them "more collaborative than ever," explains Robotiq's David Maltais:


The new Adaptive Grippers are less exposed to factory air, dust, and fluids. Their finger bases have been redesigned to simplify fingertip changeover and ensure a reliable grip. The overall design is smoother and rounder, with every sharp edge removed. Each one also includes an accessories holder near the base.

Axis New York published video of a UR5 cobot from Universal Robots fitted with a Robotiq wrist camera working together...



Foresight Group announced a GBP1.5 million growth capital investment in Inovo Robotics.  Inovo is working on a low-cost, modular cobot designed to integrate with existing workforce processes.  (H/T Private Equity Wire)

Nokia Corp. is betting that the real value for the highly-anticipated emerging [5G] technology will be in improving productivity in industries ranging from manufacturing to energy to agriculture, The Wall Street Journal reported:


Inside Nokia's Future X Lab Credit: Sara Castellanos / The Wall Street Journal

Nokia, which started researching 5G technology in 2007, recently built a facility at its Bell Labs research and development division to help enterprises envision how 5G and other high-performance networking techniques could, for example, help improve robotic processes in factories and manufacturing floors. 

A lack of 'big data' open standards could undermine manufacturers' Industry 4.0 ambitions, according to Adam Byrne, CEO of RealVNC who argues that manufacturers must "change the way we manage data."  (H/T Manufacturing.Net

Korean cobot maker Doosan Robotics and Shinhan Bank signed an agreement to "develop and provide exclusive loans and other financial products for Shinhan Bank and Doosan Robotics collaborative robot buyers and to promote joint marketing."  (H/T Robotics & Automation News

In other news: 

  • Robots and software are improving warehouse ROI (Supply Chain Drive)
  • Hey robot, is that report ready?  (Boston Globe)
  • Is the Growing Robot Revolution Killing Jobs in Japan?  (Entrepreneur)
  • How to Create Robots That Can Deal With Unpredictable Humans (PC Mag)
  • Robot maker Fanuc lives on the 'edge' of data processing  (Nikkei Asian Review)



Researchers have created amazing propeller-shaped nanorobots that are a perfect size for drilling through the dense tissue found in human eyes.  This is a world's first for the bots (200 times smaller than the width of a human hair) and could open up new possibilities for robotic eye surgery. 

Via PhysOrg:


Credit: Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems

This is the first time scientists were able to steer nanorobots through dense tissue, as so far, it has only been demonstrated in model systems or biological fluids. The researchers' vision is to one day load the nanopropellers with drugs or other therapeutic agents and steer them to a targeted area, where they can deliver the medication to where it is needed.

Astroscale, a company developing technologies to capture and deorbit space debris has raised a $50 millionSeries D round, bringing its total to date to US$102 million.  The firm's ELSA-d spacecraft (see pic below) is scheduled for launch in early 2020.  (H/T


Credit: Astroscale.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for world leaders to avoid “autonomous machines with the power and the capacity to take human lives on their own without human control."

Credit: Reuters/Adnan Abidi

Via Reuters:

“This is the kind of thing that in my opinion is not only politically unacceptable, it is morally repugnant and I believe it should be banned by international law,” he said.  "It is an area where I believe the international community needs to come together,” he said. 

Other reading:

Come back next week for more updates on the latest robotics news from the world of manufacturing and beyond! 

Until then, please enjoy...

Five vids for Friday

1.  A new social robot launched this week.  Dubbed Furhat, the bot could, according to its makers, enable companies to practice unbiased recruitment procedures (as well as a plethora of other functions). 




2.  Scientists have created a system of 5,000 "dancing" robots in an effort to create the largest 3-D map of the universe. 




3.  MIT researchers have proposed a system that uses a swarm of drones to help find lost hikers in areas of dense forest.  Fitted with laser-range finders for position estimation, localization, and path planning, the drone creates a 3-D map of the terrain as it flies.  Object recognition is then used to locate humans that have lost their way.  (H/T MIT News)



4.  Cassie, the usually good-natured bipedal research bot, was apparently hacked by a small furry creature and some humans and turned into an AT-ST (shout out to Stars Wars fans) with sinister and comical results.  Thankfully, some people from Oregon State University's Dynamics Robotics Lab were there to capture it on video! 



5.  In a fascinating TED talk, robot ethicist Kate Darling explores the possible ethical consequences of our hard-wired tendency to project agency and life onto machines. 


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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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