Quality control of rubber seals on the basis of height measurements

poscon hm

The measurement of object height is an important aspect in quality control applications. With the PosCon HM light-section sensor, Baumer says it offers a unique, compact measuring device for this kind of task.

The smart, pre-configured profile sensor offers five measurement modes for different measurement tasks. An exact positioning of the measured objects is not required.

The PosCon HM provides reliable measurements even on shiny and very dark surfaces. In conjunction with its high measuring accuracy of up to 2 μm, it is suitable for a large number of applications in at-line, off-line and in-line control.  Continue reading Quality control of rubber seals on the basis of height measurements

Beyond Moore’s Law: Human-plus-machine computing

d-wave processor

By Adam Devine, vice president of marketing, WorkFusion

How do we move forward in a world where Moore’s Law no longer holds true? For five decades, Gordon Moore’s famous prediction about processing power doubling about every two years held firm.

It was a reliable sort of constant as innovators continued to increase the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits.

But all good things must come to an end, and Moore’s Law has been confounded by another, more immutable law: physics.  Continue reading Beyond Moore’s Law: Human-plus-machine computing

Audi smart factory ushers in new era of manufacturing

Audi has opened what it calls a “smart factory”, in Mexico, the first such plant opened by a leading automaker in that country.

Professor Rupert Stadler, chairman of Audi, says: “The plant in Mexico is a milestone in the history of our company and an important step in our internationalization.

“It is one of the most modern factories on the American continent. With this facility, we have established an important site for the export of our automobiles to customers all over the world.”  Continue reading Audi smart factory ushers in new era of manufacturing

Elsevier publishes new academic books about robotics

library books

Elsevier, which is known for publishing weighty academic tomes, has released two new books on the subject of robotics. Both books are available in digital formats as well as print.  Continue reading Elsevier publishes new academic books about robotics

It’s not just factory jobs the robots are after – it’s your intellectual jobs too

industrial revolution

Automation technologies such as the Jacquard loom were ubiquitous in the 1800s during the first industrial revolution. Such machines eliminated some of the most tedious and time-consuming jobs from factories, and raised production to record levels. 

Then, in the mid-1900s, the robotic arm was invented. Like the loom, that too is a machine ubiquitous in the contemporary industrial landscape. And with the advent of computing, robotics and automation systems have been increasingly integrated into self-contained production systems, controlled through what might now be considered rudimentary forms of artificial intelligence.

That integration process is still ongoing, but meanwhile a number of new technologies have emerged – particularly in computing and networking – which are combining to form trends that are themselves coalescing. Experts are now encapsulating all these technologies, trends and developments into a relatively new catch-all term – Industry 4.0.

One of the key features of Industry 4.0 is, arguably, the gradual encroachment of AI into what used to be considered jobs that only humans could do – the robots were supposedly not clever enough. The common misconception was that computer-controlled robotics and automation systems can only perform simple manual labour tasks.

While this may be true to a large extent, Moravec’s paradox shows that this is not the whole story, and that, in fact, computers are more suited to high-level intellectual jobs. Which seems obvious when you think about it, or get your robot to think about it. However, neither the hardware nor the software has been available to demonstrate the implications of the paradox on a large scale, until now.

Alexander Khaytin, chief operating officer, Yandex Data Factory
Alexander Khaytin, chief operating officer, Yandex Data Factory

At least some of these views are shared by Alexander Khaytin, chief operating officer at the Yandex Data Factory. According to Khaytin, the gradual move to Industry 4.0 requires rethinking of the full implications of new, artificial intelligence-based technologies.

In exclusive comments to Robotics and Automation News, Khaytin makes the observation that many intellectual tasks are already undertaken by AI systems.

“When we talk about automation, it is often associated with robots performing manual tasks, replacing humans on the assembly line and so on,” says Khaytin.  Continue reading It’s not just factory jobs the robots are after – it’s your intellectual jobs too

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

Sensors: ASI says advances bringing greater opportunities in autonomous vehicles

Raw point cloud data generated by ASI's Forcast lidar and analyzed by Vantage perception software
Raw point cloud data generated by ASI’s Forcast lidar and analyzed by Vantage perception software

Autonomous Solutions Inc (ASI) says advances in sensor technology is creating more opportunities in the autonomous vehicles sector, adding that the sensors are getting cheaper.

Each autonomous vehicle system employs a set of sensors that provide environmental feedback for safety, navigation, and other essential vehicle functions.

Up until this point, sensors with high levels of accuracy have been too expensive for most users to afford, but that is rapidly changing. Continue reading Sensors: ASI says advances bringing greater opportunities in autonomous vehicles