You could be seeing things that aren’t there: Google Glass finds new home in old industries

google glass with manual
On the left is an assembly engine manual that GE’s mechanics used to consult. Now they use Glass Enterprise Edition on the right. Picture: Google X

About four years ago, when Google first showed off its Glass product – a pair of hi-tech spectacles capable of running augmented reality apps – it was met with some scepticism, incredulity even. 

Few people thought it would take off, as interesting as the idea was. Maybe people generally couldn’t see themselves walking around wearing glasses which could be seen as intrusive.

Theoretically, Google Glass could display images on pretty much everything and everyone you looked at while wearing them – and would people in your eyeline appreciate that?  Continue reading You could be seeing things that aren’t there: Google Glass finds new home in old industries

Robotic suitcases: Who needs them?

Whenever you have a good idea, you can be sure someone, somewhere has got the same idea, and has probably already built a prototype or even a business out of it. 

In the internet age, you’ve gotta move fast if you’re going to succeed in the making business. Or maybe try and think of an entirely original idea no one can steal.

So it was that we were thinking if we could find a robotic suitcase to take on our travels this year, to industry events and such. And sure enough there’s at least three we found on the market, and probably several others we don’t know about or haven’t got time to list.  Continue reading Robotic suitcases: Who needs them?

Will collaborative consumption change manufacturing?

Collaborative economy in manufacturing 600

Robert Holloway, head of order fulfilment at obsolete industrial automation parts supplier EU Automation explores the effects of collaborative consumption on the manufacturing industry

Everyone has at least one old piece of clothing that they can’t bear to throw away. Believe it or not, the situation is similar with spare industrial parts. Manufacturers often keep a huge amount of spares, despite rarely accessing these stocks.

Collaborative consumption is the seamless circulation of products and services among individuals through sharing, swapping, trading, renting, borrowing or giving.

Collaborative consumption, also called the sharing economy, is likely to grow over the next few years as digital media increase in reach and functionality.  Continue reading Will collaborative consumption change manufacturing?

Heidenhain makes industrial networking software available for download

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Heidenhain is now offering the current version of TNCremo software package for communication between PCs and Heidenhain controls or programming stations via direct online download. Past versions were only available on DVD.

The new TNCremo version is now available in a new variant. Users can find the downloads on the Heidenhain.

TNCremo is a free PC software package for communication between PCs and Heidenhain controls or programming stations. Data transfer is carried out over the network or the serial interface.  Continue reading Heidenhain makes industrial networking software available for download

Yaskawa Motoman reveals MotoSight 3D CanonVision, says it can sort out random parts

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Yaskawa Motoman has launched MotoSight 3D CanonVision which it says provides single-step recognition, picking of randomly placed parts. 

The robot-manufacturing giant says its MotoSight 3D CanonVision is an easy-to-use hardware-and-software solution that utilizes a single 3D machine vision head to quickly and easily recognize and pick parts that are randomly placed in bins.

Plus, 3D CAD matching provides simplified, accurate part registration, allowing even complicated parts to be identified.  Continue reading Yaskawa Motoman reveals MotoSight 3D CanonVision, says it can sort out random parts

Fugitive robot found holed up on comet. Scientists demand the truth

philae esa

An escaped space robot has been found holed up inside a cave on a comet after going on the run for more than a year. 

Philae, a tiny robotic spacecraft, was sent by the European Space Agency as part of the Rosetta mission.

Philae was designed to autonomously explore and send back data to the main Rosetta spacecraft, but it apparently ran off and scientists have not been able to find it until now.

Matt Taylor, ESA’s Rosetta project scientist, is quoted by CNN as saying: “This wonderful news means that we now have the missing ‘ground-truth’ information needed to put Philae’s three days of science into proper context, now that we know where that ground actually is.”

Full story on CNN

Husqvarna launches virtual reality game for lumberjacks

husqvarna limberjack

Husqvarna, which makes robotic lawn mowers and demolition robots among other things, has launched a virtual reality game for lumberjacks.

Probably intended to test the market for future products such as smart glasses featuring augmented reality, aimed perhaps at the forestry and logging industry, the game is called Limberjack and is available through Steam.

The company says the game is aimed at anyone who wants to test their chainsaw skills or, to be precise, “limbing” skills. Limbing is the process of removing branches from the stem of a fallen tree.  Continue reading Husqvarna launches virtual reality game for lumberjacks

Robotic lettuce harvester prototype wins farming award

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The UK’s first national agricultural technology business plan competition has been won by a lettuce-picking robot 

It is estimated that over 60 per cent of the production cost of a lettuce is in the manual harvesting. Automating this process would allow producers to be more competitive and respond faster to demand. 

SoftHarvest, working closely with G’s Growers, one of the UK’s largest vegetable producers, has developed a robotic handler with vision recognition that is set to revolutionise this £300 million market across the UK, France and Spain.

SoftHarvest was selected as the student winner of Grow, the UK’s first national agri-tech business plan competition.  Continue reading Robotic lettuce harvester prototype wins farming award

Protecting humans from robots in the workplace

fanuc industrial robot

In advance of the Next-Generation Collabrative Robots & Automation Technologies 2016 conference (August 17-18, Detroit MI), we spoke to Matt Epperson, compliance safety and health officer, Department of Labour, Occupational Safety and Health Administration

With the industry now witnessing an influx of next-generation collaborative robotics and automation technologies, how important is it for the automotive industry and technology providers to come together and share best practices for driving safer, faster and more profitable manufacturing and maintaining a solid life-cycle?

It is more important now since there are many unknown variables related to this new technology. It is very important for industry to share ideas and best practices when it comes to protecting their workforce from workplace injuries.  Continue reading Protecting humans from robots in the workplace

Detroit to host experts in automotive robotics trends

Tesla auto industrial robots

The US automotive manufacturing sector buys one in every two industrial robots, according to the International Federation of Robots. 

Therefore, being able to spot emerging the trends in the use of robots in the automotive industry is important to industrial robot manufacturers.

Robotics and Automation News is partnering with LBCG, a company which is organising a new automotive event, scheduled to take place in Detroit, mid-August.  Continue reading Detroit to host experts in automotive robotics trends

Developer uses neural networks to build sat-nav that takes the scenic route

Satellite navigation systems are designed to guide a vehicle driver to their destination via the shortest possible route. It’s a principle that will almost certainly be adopted for autonomous cars of the future. 

But what if you wanted to take the scenic route? If the autonomous car you find yourself in doesn’t know the meaning of scenic, which it won’t because they don’t understand “meaning”, you’re unlikely to leave the not-so-picturesque highways and byways of the urban jungle. And today’s sat-navs won’t have a clue what you’re talking about either.

Now, fret no more because a group of developers in Germany have utilised neural networks and Google Street View to create an app that can guide you or your autonomous vehicle to your destination via the most visually interesting routes available.  Continue reading Developer uses neural networks to build sat-nav that takes the scenic route

DeepMind boss developing special AI to solve all of humanity’s problems

Demis Hassabis. Photograph: David Ellis for Google
Demis Hassabis. Photograph: David Ellis for Google

The founder of one of the most interesting startups in recent years says he is working on a special kind of artificial intelligence that will potentially solve all of humanity’s problems, according to an interview on The Guardian website

Demis Hassabis, whose DeepMind company was bought by Google a couple of years ago for $625 million, refers to his version of AI as artificial general intelligence, or AGI.

He says AGI can potentially find solutions to “cancer, climate change, energy, genomics, macroeconomics, financial systems, physics”, and many of the systems which are getting too complex for humans to master.

Hassabis says: “There’s such an information overload that it’s becoming difficult for even the smartest humans to master it in their lifetimes. How do we sift through this deluge of data to find the right insights? One way of thinking of AGI is as a process that will automatically convert unstructured information into actionable knowledge. What we’re working on is potentially a meta-solution to any problem.”

DeepMind recently beat a grandmaster in the ancient Chinese game Go, a feat that was previously thought beyond the abilities of computers. Hassibis himself is a former chess master and video games designer.

Full story at The Guardian website