From the biggest to the smallest: Hitachi takes first nimble steps in robotics market

 

Exclusive interview with Dong Li, research engineer at Hitachi R&D Europe, about the company’s new humanoid robot, Emiew

At street level, the Barbican area of London, England has the strange quality of looking like a small underground city. But it’s actually not.

True, it has an Underground railway station, but the rest of the commercial and cultural district – with its museums and office blocks – is mostly above ground.

It may be because the buildings are so imposing that they overshadow the often narrow streets and block out the sun in some places. The bridges overhead connecting one set of buildings to another, or one side of the road to the other, and the tunnels that go underneath the building complexes themselves, exacerbate the feeling of being underground.  Continue reading From the biggest to the smallest: Hitachi takes first nimble steps in robotics market

Paris city hall gives jobs to Pepper and Nao robots

Pepper and Nao now busy working at the city hall of the fifteenth district of Paris

Paris has become the first city in France, and one of the few cities in the world, to have employed humanoid robots in its city hall. 

The city hall of the fifteenth district of Paris has just received two robots created by SoftBank Robotics, namely the Pepper and Nao robots.

The two small robots also integrate applications powered by the Hoomano company.  Continue reading Paris city hall gives jobs to Pepper and Nao robots

Mouser Electronics to distribute Robotis components

Mouser Electronics has reached a global agreement with Robotis to distribute the company’s components, which include a range of controllers, servo motors, industrial actuators, and open-source development boards. 

The Robotis portfolio is now available from Mouser Electronics, although it’s not clear whether complete versions of the company’s humanoid robots and its TurtleBot will be sold through Mouser.

Robotis’ OpenCM9.04 open-source controllers run on an STMicroelectronics STM32 F1 microcontroller with a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M3 core.  Continue reading Mouser Electronics to distribute Robotis components

SoftBank has sold 10,000 Nao robots. Now the tiny humanoid wants to ‘conquer new markets’ with Zora

SoftBank Robotics and Zora Bots have signed what they describe as “a major partnership” aimed at reaching a wider audience for the humanoid robot Nao.

Zora Bots, which has already deployed its software designed for robots in the health sector, is now the world’s leading distributor of Nao and is poised to expand its solution in many areas including retail, hospitality, education and personal services.

This strategic rapprochement in the international arena will bring humanoid robotics into a new dimension and make Nao available to a wider audience.  Continue reading SoftBank has sold 10,000 Nao robots. Now the tiny humanoid wants to ‘conquer new markets’ with Zora

Robots at CES: They’re coming in too fast

Honda’s Asimo robot
Honda’s Asimo robot, at CES a couple of years ago

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show is all set to be the biggest one yet for robotics. 

With recent advances in artificial intelligence, combined with newly affordable sensors and other materials required to make the machines, robots are no longer going to be a rarity at any tech event.

In the past, if they’ve been seen at events, robots usually appear at specially designed shows for their kind. But now, they’re everywhere and they’re threatening a total takeover.  Continue reading Robots at CES: They’re coming in too fast

Hitachi puts robots on trial at Japan airport

hitachi emiew haneda airport japan

Hitachi, and its subsidiary Hitachi Building Systems, have begun a trial of their “Emiew 3” humanoid robot at Haneda Airport, in Japan. 

The robot, developed by Hitachi, looks a little bit like the Nao robot, in its red colouring and dimensions.

The tests will be conducted at Haneda Airport Passenger Terminal 2 (Domestic Flights) in collaboration with Japan Airport Terminal.  Continue reading Hitachi puts robots on trial at Japan airport

Pepper lands a job on luxury cruise liner

costa cruises pepper robot

Costa Cruises is bringing five of the latest generation of Pepper robots on board the flagship of the fleet, to entertain guests during their vacations

Costa Diadema, flagship of the Costa Cruises fleet, has introduced Pepper, the first robot in the world able to recognize main human emotions and proactively interact with the surrounding environment.

Five Pepper robots will be operative on all seven-day cruises of the Costa’s flagship in the Western Mediterranean: their task will be to entertain cruise passengers, making their on board experience even more unique and unforgettable.

This innovation, unique in the cruise industry, is the result of an agreement signed between the Italian cruise company and SoftBank Robotics (formerly Aldebaran), part of SoftBank Group, announced late last year.  Continue reading Pepper lands a job on luxury cruise liner

HIT Robot Group actively looking for partners for China market opportunities

HRG displaying its catering robot, Xiao Zhi, at its booth at Automatica 2016 (Foto/HIT Robot Group)
HRG displaying its catering robot, Xiao Zhi, at its booth at Automatica 2016 (PRNewsFoto/HIT Robot Group)

HIT Robot Group (HRG), which claims to be one of China’s top robot producers, says it’s “going global” as it seeks foreign partners to work with in the Chinese market.

The attended Automatica 2016, an international exhibition for automation and robotics in Munich, Germany, in the search for partners.

During the four-day fair, HRG displayed its latest technologies and products, hoping to strike a chord with foreign companies keen on exploring the Chinese market.  Continue reading HIT Robot Group actively looking for partners for China market opportunities

Robots being employed as receptionists and office managers

betty robot strands project
Some robot to watch over the workers

Japanese people may have become somewhat accustomed to the sight of a robot greeting them when they enter a store or some such place since robots have been employed as receptionists in Japan for some time now. 

However, Europe is catching up, with new reports of two separate instances of robots being employed as receptionists.

In one report, the Guardian highlights the employment of Pepper, the SoftBank robot, now greeting visitors and patients at hospitals in Liege and Ostend, in Belgium.

In another report, the Telegraph showcases Betty the robot, who is employed managing an office in Milton Keynes, UK. Developed by the Strands Project, Betty may not be as aesthetically pleasing as Pepper, but she has more responsibilities, such as checking to see if staff are working late and if doors are closed and so on.

SoftBank absorbs Aldebaran and adds robotics to its name

softbank robotics

Japanese communications giant SoftBank is looking to build on its increasing brand awareness outside Asia with a change of name for Europe. 

SoftBank is the company behind the Pepper robot and the Aldebaran Robotics company, which developed Pepper and a number of other robotic systems and technologies including Nao (picture).

Now, SoftBank Group has decided to rename Aldebaran as SoftBank Robotics Europe and has changed the website accordingly.

In a statement, SoftBank said the change of the Aldebaran brand name to SoftBank Robotics was “in view of increased global brand awareness and business scale in the future”.  Continue reading SoftBank absorbs Aldebaran and adds robotics to its name

Accenture and SoftBank Robotics combine to offer insight into future of customer relations

Accenture’s Peter Lacy with Pepper the robot
Accenture’s Peter Lacy with Pepper the robot

In the future, all customer relations could be managed by robots. That’s what science fiction films have been telling us for decades. And now, perhaps more than ever, that vision is becoming more real than ever. 

As part of a newly announced collaboration with SoftBank Robotics to reimagine the future of digital customer interactions, Accenture Interactive demonstrated a new prototype based on the Pepper robot in Paris at Pepper Partners Europe event during InnoRobo (May 24-26), one of the world’s largest robotics events.

Pepper is the ground-breaking humanoid robot with the ability to read emotions that was developed by Softbank Robotics (previously Aldebaran Robotics) and first introduced in Japan in 2014.

The enhanced Pepper-based platform blends human and artificial intelligence, provided by Accenture Interactive, to deliver omni-channel customer service and commerce capabilities – including social media, mobile and in-store applications.  Continue reading Accenture and SoftBank Robotics combine to offer insight into future of customer relations