Fear not the cobot, says European Automation

collaborative robot

Jonathan Wilkins, marketing director of industrial automation supplier European Automation, discusses the newest and perhaps most exciting realm of industrial robotics –collaborative robots

The world’s first industrial robot was an idea conceived after a conversation about science fiction novels between inventors George Devol and Joseph Engleburger in 1954. Six years later, Unimate had secured its place in the robotic hall of fame as the world’s first industrial robot.

It was then put to work on the General Motors assembly line in 1961. Inevitably, the public were sceptical of the safety issues surrounding Unimate. And with only Gort, the laser-firing robot from the 1950s sci-fi movie The Day the Earth Stood Still for reference, who can blame them? But after 50 years of practice, today’s industrial robots are a much less scary affair.  Continue reading Fear not the cobot, says European Automation

Copa-Data to unveil new software for smart factories at Hannover Messe event

Copa-Data has launched its new zenon software and will be presenting it at Hannover Messe
Copa-Data has launched its new zenon software and will be presenting it at Hannover Messe

Copa-Data will present scalable software solutions with zenon for vertical data integration for the Smart Factory at the Microsoft booth at the Hannover Messe, between April 25 and 29, 2016.

Copa-Data will demonstrate how existing and new sensory systems can be integrated seamlessly into an overall solution, right up to the cloud. Existing production equipment is thereby also made available in the cloud for industrial IoT scenarios and for cross-site analyses according to local data protection rules.

Customised products and flexible sales markets with concurrent complex production processes characterise modern industrial production. The solutions of the independent software developer for industrial automation allow bi-directional networking from the field level, to HMI/SCADA, right up to the cloud.  Continue reading Copa-Data to unveil new software for smart factories at Hannover Messe event

Goodyear sketches out our spherical wheels idea after we mention it on this website

we came up with the idea first
We came up with the idea first

Well, if you ever doubted this website’s ideas, you probably won’t any more, especially after we show you this.

Good ideas are hard to come by, and one gem of concept nonchalantly offered to readers of Robotics and Automation News was spherical wheels.

In an article about how German technologists are looking to develop wheels that operate independently, one of my colleagues suggested spherical wheels, like ball bearings, held to the car using magnets.

Maglev trains were not mentioned, but they don’t need to be, since it’s the first thing that comes to mind when you say magnets in such a context. Think of those giant maglev train networks in China – that’s exactly what the writer was thinking at the time.

We haven‘t looked into it much, not even googled it, but we believe our website could be the first to ever mention spherical wheels in a serious technology context.

Exhibit A: The spherical wheel idea was ours 

Goodyear has just shown some designs for a spherical wheel, as reported on Dezeen.com. It only takes a few minutes to create images using computer software – on any application. It’s as easy as a gear shift manoeuvre.

But it takes a genuinely creative mind to achieve paradigm shifts, and come up with ideas that change the whole game. And we would obviously claim that maybe, just maybe, we came up with that idea first.

Or perhaps it was a coincidence. Who knows? Seriously. Who knows?

Alex Jones channel claims robots want to ‘destroy humans’

alex jones
Talk show host Alex Jones has been railing against what he sees as anti-human robots and artificial intelligence used by technocratic elites in a scientific takeover of the world

Outspoken American talk show host Alex Jones has been on a verbal rampage against what he calls “anti-human robots” in the hands of the “technocracy” – a mysterious cabal secretly controlling society. 

In his latest tirade against what he has dubbed a “breakaway civilisation” of elite groups bent on enslaving the rest of humanity, the influential commentator says the present political and economic situation on Earth is equivalent to an “alien invasion”.

His television/radio channel, Infowars.com, has been consistently broadcasting reports for more than a year about the  “robot takeover”, with Jones condemning what he says is a “metric, scientific, mathematic algorithm of tyranny” that humanity faces today.  Continue reading Alex Jones channel claims robots want to ‘destroy humans’

Bosch moves into intelligent buildings market with new technologies

bosch

Bosch is launching a range of intelligently connected solutions for commercial buildings and homes. Bosch says its products energy and building technology enhances comfort, safety and security, saves energy, and reduces operating costs. To this end, the supplier of technology and services is focusing on connectivity via the internet of things (IoT).

Bosch is releasing its building management system known as BIS (building integration system), which combines all the security systems of a building on one platform: video surveillance, fire-alarm and evacuation systems, intrusion-alarm technology, and access control. Building technology used to open and close barriers, gates, and doors, for example, can also be controlled with BIS.  Continue reading Bosch moves into intelligent buildings market with new technologies

Robot musicians, artists and writers could be the superstars of tomorrow

An interesting possibility, nay probability… no, delete that… It’s an absolute certainty that robots will soon join the stage with the biggest stars in entertainment and the creative arts if the current trend of accelerated advancement in artificial intelligence continues. 

doctor steel
We googled Doctor Steel, but we’re not sure if his band of robots exists

That’s not really a surprise when you consider that a young Ray Kurzweil showed how a computer program could “write” music way back in the 1960s, and the tune wasn’t too bad either.

And radio stations have long been using computers to help them choose what music to play. That’s not to say today’s DJs have nothing to do, that’s just the way it is.

And recently, Lady Gaga performed on stage with the aid of a robot. There’s probably been a few other artists who have generously shared the stage with robots in recent times, but some of us haven’t really noticed because we still have the old Kraftwerk classics from the first electronic era on infinite loop in our minds (see video).  Continue reading Robot musicians, artists and writers could be the superstars of tomorrow

Watson gets a job in management consulting with KPMG

ibm

KPMG and IBM have signed a deal to apply IBM’s Watson cognitive computing technology to KPMG’s management consultancy services.

The agreement, including a focus on auditing services, builds on several recent KPMG initiatives that the companies say demonstrate the promise of cognitive technologies in transforming the firm’s ability to deliver innovative and enhanced business services.

“The cognitive era has arrived,” said Lynne Doughtie, KPMG chairman and CEO. “KPMG’s use of IBM Watson technology will help advance our team’s ability to analyze and act on the core financial and operational data so central to the health of organizations and the capital markets.

“In addition to the unprecedented possibilities for enhancing quality, the potential for cognitive and related technologies to help us pursue new business offerings is extraordinary.”   Continue reading Watson gets a job in management consulting with KPMG

Global industrial robot population set to reach 1.3 million by 2018, says IFR

industrial robots

By 2018, approximately 1.3 million industrial robots will be entering service in factories around the world, according to the International Federation of Robotics.

In the high-revenue automotive sector, global investments in industrial robots increased by a record-breaking 43 percent (2013-2014) within one year. Viewed on a cross-sector basis, the international market value for robotic systems now lies at around 32 billion US dollars.

The figures have been published in the IFR’s report, 2015 World Robot Statistics.

The robotic density figure is a key performance indicator for gauging the current degree of automation within the international markets. For example, the average global robotic density in producing industries lies at 66 robot units per 10,000 employees. Continue reading Global industrial robot population set to reach 1.3 million by 2018, says IFR

Technavio survey lists ‘world’s top four’ robot companies

industrial robot playing a vinyl record

Technavio has listed what it claims are the top four leading vendors in their recent global articulated robots market 2015-2019 report. This research report also lists numerous prominent vendors that are expected to impact the market during the forecast period.

Competitive vendor landscape

According to Bharath Kanniappan, lead research analyst at Technavio for robotics, “The top four vendors in the global articulated robots market concentrate on the development of application-specific and industry-specific articulated robots, which help them to have a competitive edge.”

ABB is the market leader in the global industrial robotics market. Fanuc is one of the leading industrial automation vendors and offers various industrial robots under its robotics business unit.  Continue reading Technavio survey lists ‘world’s top four’ robot companies

Industrial robots can now do their work uninterrupted thanks to the cloud and offline programming

fanuc industrial robot

Industrial robots are increasingly being connected to the cloud, where they can be managed centrally in some sort of control room, which means that a small number of human staff could theoretically manage hundreds, if not thousands, of machines.

Previously they were almost always operated in isolated circumstances within factories, inside a work cell, fenced off from human workers because of safety concerns. They were programmed individually, using a teach pendant, which is like a 20-years-out-of-date oversized mobile phone.

The teach pendant is still used for refinements and modifications after the machine goes online, into work, but nowadays most industrial robots are prepared for a life of work using offline programming. Continue reading Industrial robots can now do their work uninterrupted thanks to the cloud and offline programming

Norway’s railroad network replaces 40-year-old technology with new automation software

norway national rail system, copa-data
Norway has integrated an automation solution from COPA-DATA into the national rail network

The rail travel network in Norway has taken its very own “great leap forward” in technological terms with the introduction of new automation software.

The Norwegian National Rail Administration (NNRA, also known as Jernbaneverket) decided to perform a major upgrade to its infrastructure in order to modernize rail service delivery and optimize maintenance and performance.

The technology for controlling the power transformer stations throughout its nationwide operations was more than forty years old in some areas, so a modern solution for controlling and monitoring these stations was required. The decision was made in favor of zenon, the HMI/SCADA software from COPA-DATA. Continue reading Norway’s railroad network replaces 40-year-old technology with new automation software

Tata to launch first Indian-made robot Brabo

tata brabo robot
Tata shows off its Brabo robot

In what is described as a major push for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious Make In India campaign, Tal Manufacturing Solutions, a Tata Group company, is all set to launch first India-made robot Tata Brabo in the next two months.

To be showcased for the first time at the ongoing Make in India Week in Mumbai, Tata Brabo has been developed in-house by a team of six engineers. On its official website, the company has also invited one and all to “join the robolution”.

Anil Bhingurde, chief operating officer of Tal Manufacturing Solutions led the group of six engineers whose average age is 24 years. In May last year, Bhingurde had made a presentation on the company’s robotic venture to Ravikant, the chairman, and to the board of the company. Continue reading Tata to launch first Indian-made robot Brabo

Stanford engineers test autonomous car algorithms in quest for safer driving

Stanford University’s autonomous car
Stanford University’s autonomous car

When Stanford’s autonomous car Shelley nears speeds of 120 mph as it tears around a racetrack without a driver, observers’ natural inclinations are to exchange high-fives or simply mouth, “wow”.

Chris Gerdes and his students, however, flip open laptops and begin dissecting the car’s performance. How many g-forces did Shelley pull through turns 14 and 15? How did it navigate the twisty chicane? What did the braking forces look like through the tight turn 5?

For the past several years, Gerdes and his students have been testing their autonomous driving algorithms with Shelley, a custom-rigged Audi TTS, on the 3-mile track at Thunderhill Raceway in Willows, California. Although the speedometer needle sometimes flies past 110 mph, the car spends a good deal of the course maneuvering at speeds of 50 to 75 mph.  Continue reading Stanford engineers test autonomous car algorithms in quest for safer driving

The future of small and cooperative robotics, according to Mathias Wiklund of Comau

Mathias Wiklund, chief operating officer, Comau
Mathias Wiklund, chief operating officer, Comau

An interview with Mathias Wiklund, chief operating officer, Comau Robotics. ‘Bringing intelligent robotics to the market means combining ease of use with advanced performance.’

When did you join Comau?

I joined Comau in 2011 as the managing director for Comau Germany, and became the COO of the Robotics Business Unit in 2013. I’m also a member of the Comau Executive Committee.

Having spent most of my career living and working around the world, including Germany, Italy, Sweden, Thailand and the USA, I now enjoy splitting my time between Germany and Italy.  Continue reading The future of small and cooperative robotics, according to Mathias Wiklund of Comau

DJI unveils new Phantom 4 drone with ‘highly advanced’ computer vision and sensing technology

dji phantom 4
The new DJI Phantom 4

DJI has launched the Phantom 4, which it says is the first consumer quadcopter camera – or drone – to use “highly advanced” computer vision and sensing technology.

The Phantom 4 expands on previous generations of DJI’s iconic Phantom line by adding new on-board intelligence that makes piloting and shooting great shots simple through features like its Obstacle Sensing System, ActiveTrack and TapFly functionality.

“With the Phantom 4, we are entering an era where even beginners can fly with confidence,” said DJI CEO Frank Wang. “People have dreamed about one day having a drone collaborate creatively with them. That day has arrived.” Continue reading DJI unveils new Phantom 4 drone with ‘highly advanced’ computer vision and sensing technology