RE2 delivers two-armed robot to US Army

resquared robotics

RE2 Robotics has delivered a two-arm Highly Dexterous Manipulation System (HDMS) to the US Army’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) under an Army Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II extension contract. 

Robotic systems for explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) typically include a single manipulator to perform critical tasks such as inspection, detection, and neutralization of explosive devices. These manipulators are often limited in their dexterity, reach and lifting capacity.  Continue reading RE2 delivers two-armed robot to US Army

IdeaHub launches robotics challenge with ABB

abb yumi

IdeaHub is recruiting robotics and software innovators worldwide to take on the challenge of improving the way humans work and interact with the next generation of industrial robots.

Working on behalf of ABB Robotics, IdeaHub will help successful applicants pitch their ideas and secure uniquely tailored support packages to maximise their venture’s commercial potential, including investment, mentoring and access to cutting edge hardware.

IdeaHub is a cross sector, open innovation platform that connects visionaries worldwide with funding and support from global corporations.  Continue reading IdeaHub launches robotics challenge with ABB

Logistics robots market set to grow more than 30 per cent in the next four years, says study

aethon logistics robot

The market for logistics robots is set to grow by more than 30 per cent by the end of this decade, according to a report by Big Market Research.

The analysts listed the prominent global logistics robots market players, business environment and industry scenario.

The most noteworthy factors assessed during the study includes market overview and top vendor offerings in the sector for 2016-2020.

“As the robotic sector experiences more competition than ever and new enterprises keep popping up worldwide, the report captures some key drivers, restraints as well as opportunities shaping the industry’s future,” the authors of the report.  Continue reading Logistics robots market set to grow more than 30 per cent in the next four years, says study

Kuka reports record sales for first quarter of 2016

kuka industrial robots

Industrial robot manufacturer Kuka says it has received a record number of orders during the first quarter of 2016. 

The company has reported its results at a time when its share price was fluctuating somewhat, and the positive financial statement could steady or increase the company’s market value.  Continue reading Kuka reports record sales for first quarter of 2016

Computer model of how bees view the world could be a breakthrough for robotics

sheffield uni Bee vision

Scientists at the University of Sheffield have created a computer model of how bees avoid hitting walls – which could lead to a breakthrough in the development of autonomous robots. 

Researchers from the Department of Computer Science built their computer model to look at how bees use vision to detect the movement of the world around them and avoid crashes.

Bees control their flight using the speed of motion – or optic flow – of the visual world around them, but it is not known how they do this. The only neural circuits so far found in the insect brain can tell the direction of motion, not the speed.

This study suggests how motion-direction detecting circuits could be wired together to also detect motion-speed, which is crucial for controlling bees’ flight.

“Honeybees are excellent navigators and explorers, using vision extensively in these tasks, despite having a brain of only one million neurons,” says Dr Alex Cope, lead researcher on the paper.  Continue reading Computer model of how bees view the world could be a breakthrough for robotics

Cisco Jasper publishes study on industrial internet of things

cisco jasper iiot study

Cisco Jasper has conducted a study based on usage data of more than 3,500 enterprise customers on its IoT service platform to determine the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of IoT both before and after implementing an IoT service platform.

The company has released the results of its TCO for Industrial IoT report, focused specifically on the data from industrial enterprises using its platform.

Cisco Jasper’s blog post on the results says: “You can’t truly calculate ROI until you understand the comprehensive cost of ownership of delivering an IIoT service.”

Most people don’t know what a smart city is, say engineers

future world
What the future might look like

IET calls for public engagement campaign around benefits of new technology

Only 18 per cent of the British public has heard of a “smart city”, according to research carried out by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). The research is reported in a new IET report, Smart Cities – Time to involve the people, which also reveals low interest in the technologies typically associated with smart cities. For example, only 8 per cent saw a value in being able to order driverless or electric transport from their smart phone.

Cities’ adoption of new technologies has traditionally involved little consultation with consumers. As a result, the report suggests that the public has yet to buy into the idea of smart cities – and be convinced of the value and benefits that technology, delivered on a city-scale, could bring to their daily lives.

New disruptive technologies and applications such as Uber (on-demand taxi services) and Airbnb (online accommodation service) may help to change hearts and minds, but the findings suggest there is still some way to go.  Continue reading Most people don’t know what a smart city is, say engineers

Audi opens research facility to study bees with a robot

audi smart hobos robot bee research
The robot arm in the Smart Hobos high-tech beehive is fitted with state-of-the-art camera systems: 3D sensors as well as infrared and heat-sensitive cameras record the bees and their activities

Audi is using robots to help bees from going extinct 

Bees pollinate about 80 percent of our agricultural plants and wild vegetation, so life without bees is almost impossible.

Too little pollination would have severe consequences – both environmental and economic. With the worldwide unique “Smart Hobos” (HoneyBee Online Studies) project, the Audi Stiftung für Umwelt (Audi Environmental Foundation) and the Julius Maximilians University of Würzburg are working to protect these vital and fascinating insects.

Audi today opened a research station at its production site in Münchsmünster. The first bees will soon move into their new home. Continue reading Audi opens research facility to study bees with a robot

Call centre jobs threatened by smart devices and machine learning, says Xerox

call centres
Call centres are under pressure from smart devices and machine learning

Customer care – from the traditional call center to webchat to social media options – is being transformed almost daily by machine learning and smarter technology, according to a survey of 6,000 consumers by Xerox. 

In its report, The State of Customer Service, Xerox concludes that customer care is getting more personal but the leading trends emerging in 2016 indicate that smart machines may be key in driving the pursuit of individualized service.

“It’s clear that the relationships between consumers and brands will change radically over the next five years,” said Tim Joyce, chief innovation officer, Xerox Customer Care. “Customers expect a high quality of service and technology is maturing to the point where brands can efficiently meet those needs.”

Solving the PLC problem: Copa-Data provides automation expert with independent software solution

port of singapore

Case study: COPA-DATA and DBIS

Historically, manufacturing was a predominantly manual industry, but today, industrial automation has transformed the way manufacturers operate.

As of 2015, the booming industrial automation industry is worth more than $200 billion globally.

Enabling organisations to mass produce commodities and complete tasks with increased speed and quality, industrial automation has become an unbeatable ally in manufacturing environments. Although automation may reign supreme when it comes to choosing machinery, identifying the right automation software can cause headaches.

Based in the United Kingdom, DBIS provides cargo, asset, automation and resource control to enhance performance and profitability for bulk and break bulk terminals. Serving the automation, rail, marine and conveyor industries, DBIS, a leading terminal operating system (TOS) provider, has perfected a solution for smoother integration of SCADA software for all of its models of programmable logic controllers (PLCs).   Continue reading Solving the PLC problem: Copa-Data provides automation expert with independent software solution

SquareTrade uses ‘killer robots’ to test new smartphones

SquareTrade Labs says it used ‘killer robots’ to test some of the latest smartphones on the market, namely the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, and the iPhone 6s.

The gadget protection specialist says its tests show the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge were water-resistant, but that the Apple iPhone 6s is “still sturdier when it comes to drops and tumbles”.

SquareTrade says its latest tests had the new generation of Samsung Galaxy phones square up against the company’s “arsenal of bots, including the new Deep Water Dunkbot and Tumblebot”. SquareTrade calls them “breakability tests”. Continue reading SquareTrade uses ‘killer robots’ to test new smartphones

IFR survey: 1.3 million industrial robots to enter service by 2018

IFR survey industrial robots
Figure 1: Global robot density above average – European Union (Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Finland, France, Austria, Netherlands, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, United Kingdom), Asia (Republic of Korea, Japan, Taiwan), America (USA, Canada)

The automation of the fourth industrial revolution is accelerating: By 2018, around 1.3 million industrial robots will be entering service in factories around the world. 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. So says the 2015 World Robot Statistics, issued by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).

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 IFR survey: 1.3 million industrial robots to enter service by 2018

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

World Economic Forum warns of ‘widespread disruption’ to business by robots

US Secretary of State John Kerry, delivering the keynote speech at the World Economic Forum
US Secretary of State John Kerry, delivering the keynote speech at the World Economic Forum

You know we’re in a lot of trouble when the World Economic Forum sees fit to issue a dire warning about the future of global employment, forecasting that more than 5 million people will lose their jobs across 15 developed economies by 2020 as a direct result of robotics and automation technology.

It’s difficult to say whether WEF is being conservative in its estimate, but since it is considered the mouthpiece of the leaders of the world economy, it’s in its interests to try and calm people’s anxieties over the issue.

In its report, The Future of Jobs, WEF says: “The Fourth Industrial Revolution, which includes developments in previously disjointed fields such as artificial intelligence and machine-learning, robotics, nanotechnology, 3-D printing, and genetics and biotechnology, will cause widespread disruption not only to business models but also to labour markets over the next five years, with enormous change predicted in the skill sets needed to thrive in the new landscape.”  Continue reading World Economic Forum warns of ‘widespread disruption’ to business by robots