iRobot denies it will sell map data about customers’ rooms and houses

iRobot says it will “never” sell the data its little robotic vacuum cleaners collect while mapping and navigating people’s rooms and homes. 

In a statement provided to ZDNet, Colin Angle, CEO of iRobot, reassured customers by saying: “iRobot will never sell your data.”

The statement follows comments Angle gave to Reuters suggesting that the company might consider selling maps iRobot’s Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner generates of users’ homes.  Continue reading iRobot denies it will sell map data about customers’ rooms and houses

Honeybee Robotics acquired by Ensign-Bickford Industries

Specialist robotic spacecraft developer will maintain its course through the galaxy, say new owners

Honeybee Robotics has been acquired by Ensign-Bickford Industries, a 181-year-old privately held corporation with headquarters in Simsbury, Connecticut. 

Honeybee builds robotic spacecraft for Nasa and has delivered systems for the past three Mars landers, and is developing a mining robot which could extract precious resources from asteroids.

Following the acquisition, Honeybee Robotics will be a stand-alone, wholly-owned subsidiary of EBI and will complement EBI’s current aerospace and defense subsidiary, Eba-d.

Honeybee will continue to operate from its current facilities in Brooklyn, New York, Longmont, Colorado, and Pasadena, California.  Continue reading Honeybee Robotics acquired by Ensign-Bickford Industries

Asus prepares global launch of its Zenbo home assistance robot

Asus is a company that came to prominence is a many people’s minds through its success in what was at the time a new category of computers: the netbook.

Asus did rather well selling netbook computers, which are basically just really small laptops, barely larger than a large smartphone.

But that was back when smartphones didn’t exist in large numbers. When the iPhone came along, and other smartphones, the idea of owning a tiny computer took on a new meaning.  Continue reading Asus prepares global launch of its Zenbo home assistance robot

CaliBurger’s ‘Flippy’ robot gets $3 million to flip burgers

A burger-flipping robot developed by Cali Group and Miso Robotics has received $3.1 million in financing from strategic investors including Acacia Research and Match Robotics. 

Miso was co-founded and funded by Cali Group, which owns the Caliburger chain of fast food restaurants across the US. The company is currently specialising in automation for the catering industry.

The burger-flipping robot has been named “Flippy”, appropriately enough, and was the first robotic product developed by Miso, and the company has since developed numerous automation applications for the robot, including preparation, grilling, frying, and so on.  Continue reading CaliBurger’s ‘Flippy’ robot gets $3 million to flip burgers

Sita Lab launches mobile robotic kiosk for airports

Sita Lab, a provider of air travel technology, has launched Kate, a mobile robot which the company says is an intelligent check-in kiosk that will autonomously move to busy or congested areas in the airport as needed. 

Using various data sources – including flight and passenger flow information – Kate can identify where additional check-in kiosks are required to reduce passenger queue times at check-in.

Kate, which was developed in partnership with BlueBotics, uses existing Sita data systems such as Day of Operations Business Intelligence and FlightInfo API.  Continue reading Sita Lab launches mobile robotic kiosk for airports

Interview: Fast-moving robotics and automation market prompts updates to forecasts

apple homepod
The new Apple HomePod, the home automation device which mostly acts like a speaker and plays music

The global market for robotics and automation systems is growing so fast that it’s causing seasoned industry analysts to revise their forecasts. 

For example, the Boston Consulting Group released a report into the robotics which it has now updated with new numbers.

The causes of the reviews include the relatively new interest in personal robotics technology for the home, and the burgeoning market in collaborative robots for industry.

Another key development is the launch of the Apple HomePod, which, along with Amazon Alexa and Google Home, looks set to automate a huge number of homes to levels never seen before.

Continue reading Interview: Fast-moving robotics and automation market prompts updates to forecasts

Innovative sensors are empowering the smart factory robot, says AMS

ams Industrial-Robotics

By Mark Donovan

The next industrial revolution is arriving on a shore near you. It’s called Industry 4.0, and like its three predecessors, it’s about to bring sweeping changes to manufacturing that will globally affect everyone.

Industry 4.0, and the resulting manufacturing changes that are coming with it, have spawned a new type of production plant called the smart factory.

Central to the smart factory is the prolific use of autonomous and collaborative robots that work symbiotically with each other and alongside human beings to yield a more productive and efficient manufacturing plant.  Continue reading Innovative sensors are empowering the smart factory robot, says AMS

Robots taking over from humans in numerous laboratory tasks

lab automation pic

Robotic lab automation is making progress and removing some of the labor in laboratories, but rarely is it replacing all functions, according to Kalorama Information. 

The healthcare market researcher said the most common use of robots is partial, but that the number of labs using them is on the rise.

Lacking robotics and other types of automation, laboratories may not be able to keep up with the pace of testing, the complexities of new tests, such as those involving molecular diagnostics, and the loss of experienced technicians and technologists.  Continue reading Robots taking over from humans in numerous laboratory tasks

Chinese robotic spacecraft completes second refuelling test, as Russia launches robotic cargo ship to International Space Station

Progress_M-52
The Progress spacecraft

China and Russia have both launched robotic spacecraft on cargo missions recently, according to reports in the media. 

Chinese state news agency Xinhua says the Tiangong-2 space lab and Tianzhou-1 completed a second refuelling test which “cemented technical results from the first refuelling”.

According to Space.com, the refuelling procedure requires 29 steps to complete and lasts for several days.  Continue reading Chinese robotic spacecraft completes second refuelling test, as Russia launches robotic cargo ship to International Space Station

Kuka to build personal assistance robot business with Midea

Midea-products
Some of the products Midea manufactures

Kuka, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of industrial robotic arms, is planning to expand into the area of personal assistance robotics. 

This is according to an article on FT.com, which quotes Kuka chief executive Till Reuter.

Reuter told the FT that he sees potential for using Midea’s reach into the household appliances market to develop more complex, intelligent machines which can help with household tasks.  Continue reading Kuka to build personal assistance robot business with Midea

Collaborative robotic system makes ‘monotonous and physically demanding tasks’ at BMW easier

bmw dingolfing kuka robot
A worker at BMW Dingolfing, with the Kuka collaborative robot

The employees at BMW Group’s Dingolfing Plant have a new, highly responsive assistant: an LBR iiwa lightweight robot from Kuka, which they say takes over “monotonous and physically demanding tasks”. 

Previously, BMW employees had to lift a differential case which weighed up to 5.5 kg, and had to manoeuvre it with millimeter-precision, in the assembly of the front axle.

Now the robot is taking over this “ergonomically demanding work”.  Continue reading Collaborative robotic system makes ‘monotonous and physically demanding tasks’ at BMW easier

Robotic Vision Technologies and Universal Robots introduce 3D cobot packaging application

robotic vision technologies

Robotic Vision Technologies will be a co-exhibitor at EastPack 2017, on June 13-15, 2017 with the world’s largest collaborative robot maker Universal Robots.

RVT will be demonstrating its new collaborative 3D vision guidance software on a Universal Robot UR5. The 3D cobot packaging solution can be seen at EastPack ATX 2017 in East Booth 2529 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

RVT, a leader in vision software for industrial applications, has been integrated into Universal Robots’ cobot arms to demonstrate precise pick-and-place items off a conveyor in 2.5D and onto a movable tray in 3D.  Continue reading Robotic Vision Technologies and Universal Robots introduce 3D cobot packaging application

Nidec says demand for robot parts has grown by seven times

Nidec factory
Nidec will add equipment to increase production of speed reducers. Picture: Nikkei

Nidec, a Japanese electric motor manufacturer, says demand for its speed reducers has grown seven-fold. 

The increase in orders has led the company to invest an additional $36 million in new equipment at its factory – operated by subsidiary Nidec-Shimpo – to produce more of the component.

Speed reducers are a core part in robots, and are used to control robotic limbs and give them power.  Continue reading Nidec says demand for robot parts has grown by seven times

Robots now ‘essential’ to clinical diagnostic labs, says new report

fl smith lab automation
Picture courtesy FL Automation

There is an $8.8 billion market for robotic laboratory automation systems, according to Kalorama Information.

The healthcare research firm just completed a report on lab robots, and notes the imbalance between the high demand for diagnostics and the lack of supply of qualified technicians.

Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama, says: “More than two-thirds of clinical decisions are based on laboratory test results, and new tests are developed constantly.

“But a shrinking field of qualified laboratory personnel, while demand grows requires something to handle the tasks created.”  Continue reading Robots now ‘essential’ to clinical diagnostic labs, says new report

ATI Industrial Automation to hold technology fair in Michigan

ati industrial automation

ATI Industrial Automation will hold its Annual Technology Fair on August 10, 2017 at its Orion Township, Michigan facility.

The one-day educational event will focus on “Applications Advancing Automation”, providing attendees the opportunity to learn more about ATI’s products and hear from the industry-leading experts that use them every day.

The event will feature educational seminars hosted by ATI’s distinguished customers, as well as live robotic demonstrations of ATI’s tool changers, multi-axis force/torque sensors, robotic collision sensors and robotic deburring tools.  Continue reading ATI Industrial Automation to hold technology fair in Michigan