Opinion: How assistive robots will transform the workplace and elderly care

By Dr Antonio Espingardeiro, member of the IEEE

Robots can bring significant benefits to the workplace, positively impacting productivity, efficiency and quality.

There are challenges to realising these benefits – not least the complex subject of the degree and quality of human interaction that we want or need robots to deliver.

However, robotics offers tremendous scope for helping humanity, so the field will continue to develop the advanced technologies that make it possible.  Continue reading Opinion: How assistive robots will transform the workplace and elderly care

New $10,000 collaborative robot can build copies of itself

FRANKA EMIKA industrial robot
The Franka Emika industrial robot

The makers of a new, collaborative robot called Franka Emika say the machine could build copies of itself. 

In an article published in the IEEE magazine, the robot’s creator, Sami Haddadin, is quoted as saying “there will be Frankas building Frankas”.

The article also suggests that Franka’s price is around $10,000 – and reveals the prices of other collaborative robots:

  • Rethink’s Sawyer ~ $30,000; and
  • Universal Robots’ best-selling UR5 ~ $35,000.

The collaborative robots market is currently dominated by Universal Robots, which has sold so many robots, it’s made it on the list of industrial robot manufacturers with the largest install base, with approximately 10,000 sold worldwide so far.

Full article on IEEE Spectrum

IEEE experts ‘driven by unconventional inspiration’ to help humanity


The IEEE says its experts are “driven by unconventional inspiration” to advance technologies and help humanity

Members within the IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for humanity, are incorporating outside technologies and ideas to drive innovation in a range of robotic fields such as disaster response, medical and biomechanical engineering. 

In this article, the IEE provides some areas its innovators are looking into.  Continue reading IEEE experts ‘driven by unconventional inspiration’ to help humanity

Spaceflight will be as common in the future as air travel is today

Buying a ticket to outer space will be an everyday activity for millions of people in the future, as common as buying an airline ticket is today, according to an expert.

Paul Kostek, former president of the IEEE Aerospace and Electronics Systems Society, says the commercialisation of space is following the same trajectory as the air travel industry.

Virgin Galactic sub-orbital spaceship
Virgin Galactic sub-orbital spaceship

In an exclusive interview with Robotics and Automation News, Kostek says: “Just looking at the normal evolution of flight, it wasn’t until the 1930s that Boeing introduced the first pressurised planes that allowed them to fly higher… flying became safer.”

Kostek, who is the current principal of Air Direct Solutions, adds that it was approximately 40 or 50 years after the Wright Brothers’ first flight that commercial aircraft came along, with early air travellers being the equivalent of present-day adventurers who buy tickets for trips on Virgin Galactic’s sub-orbital flights.

An algorithm that makes music on the fly

Interview with Dr Kevin Curran, head of Ambient Intelligence, Ulster University

A computer science lecturer at Ulster University has invented a piece of software that composes music on the fly and is looking for someone to continue the work and eventually commercialise it. 

Dr Kevin Curran, who is also head of the Ambient Intelligence Group at Ulster and a senior member of the IEEE, has published more than 800 academic papers.

He says the paper about his algorithm which can create music dynamically is one if favourites.

The software was intended to fill any gaps in streaming media to mobile devices by actually generating a piece of music that actually fits in with the music.  Continue reading An algorithm that makes music on the fly