Japanese companies prepare to bring forward new generation of humanoid collaborative robots capable of a variety of industrial work

 

There was a time when Japanese electronics companies were the Apples and Googles of the world, with everyone buying their products and talking about them in the media.

Many of those same formerly pre-eminent names today play second fiddle to the Silicon Valley tech giants.

But while they may not be discussed as much as they were in the past – and their products not as ubiquitous in the consumer market – Japanese companies still loom large in the industrial sector.  Continue reading Japanese companies prepare to bring forward new generation of humanoid collaborative robots capable of a variety of industrial work

Kinova Robotics raises $25 million for expansion plans

 

Kinova Robotics, a designer and manufacturer of robotic solutions, has raised additional funds of $25 million for further expansion.

The money came from four major contributors, including lead investor Fonds Manufacturier Québécois; co-investors KTB Network, and Foxconn; and BDC Capital, the investment arm of BDC.

Kinova says 90 per cent of its business is exports, so establishing an office outside its native Canada is a priority.

Kinova CEO Charles Deguire says: “We want our users to achieve the extraordinary with our robots – creating more value for themselves and our society.  Continue reading Kinova Robotics raises $25 million for expansion plans

Yaskawa partners with CommScope on advanced manufacturing technology centre in Belgium

 

CommScope, a provider of infrastructure solutions for communications networks, has opened a new advanced manufacturing technology centre at its Kessel Lo, Belgium site.

The centre will showcase a newly formed partnership with Yaskawa, one of the world’s largest industrial robot suppliers, to determine the feasibility of adding robot technology and greater automation to manufacturing processes.

The new Advanced Manufacturing Technology centre enables CommScope to develop automated manufacturing competencies and technology in a laboratory setting through cross-functional collaboration and partnerships with universities, knowledge partners and suppliers.  Continue reading Yaskawa partners with CommScope on advanced manufacturing technology centre in Belgium

World Economic Forum warns of widespread disruption caused by robots

 

The World Economic Forum has warned of widespread disruption caused by robots, in its latest report about global competitiveness. 

In its Global Competitiveness Index 2017, WEF says the most competitive countries are:

  1. Switzerland
  2. United States
  3. Singapore
  4. Netherlands
  5. Germany

The organisation says sustained economic recovery remains at risk due to lack of increases in productivity.  Continue reading World Economic Forum warns of widespread disruption caused by robots

Toyota shows off its progress in robotics, autonomous cars and artificial intelligence

 

Toyota Research Institute has been demonstrating its progress in the development of automated driving technology and other project work to the investor community this week.

Dr Gill Pratt, CEO of TRI, says: “In the last few months, we have rapidly accelerated our pace in advancing Toyota’s automated driving capabilities with a vision of saving lives, expanding access to mobility, and making driving more fun and convenient.

“Our research teams have also been evolving machine intelligence that can support further development of robots for in-home support of people.” Continue reading Toyota shows off its progress in robotics, autonomous cars and artificial intelligence

Columbia University develops soft actuator three times stronger than human muscle to make robots more lifelike

 

Columbia University says it has developed a self-contained soft actuator that is three times stronger than natural muscle, without the need of externals.

The researchers say the development means robotic motion will be more lifelike, and that it signals a breakthrough in soft robotics.

The creation of untethered soft robots whose actions and movements can help mimic natural biological systems have been a long-standing issue, and the scientists at Columbia Engineering say they have solved it.  Continue reading Columbia University develops soft actuator three times stronger than human muscle to make robots more lifelike

Interview with Ubuntu boss: A rich ecosystem for robotics and automation systems

Exclusive interview with Mike Bell from Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu

There’s a lot of talk about the Robot Operating System. Understandably so. But the most widely used operating system in robotics and automation systems development is actually Ubuntu. 

In fact, ROS is not actually an operating system at all – it’s a set of software frameworks, or a software development kit, to be installed into an operating system like Ubuntu.

As Mike Bell, executive vice president of internet of things and devices at Canonical, explains in an exclusive interview: “It’s a bit confusing because it’s called Robot Operating System, but the reason is because if you’re developing robot applications, you don’t need to worry about the fact that it’s running on Ubuntu.

“You just write your application to interface into a ROS SDK and then deploy on Ubuntu.”  Continue reading Interview with Ubuntu boss: A rich ecosystem for robotics and automation systems

Siemens to establish global robotics research and development centre in China

Engineering giant Siemens is establishing a robotics research and development centre in China. 

The company says the facility will be a global research centre in autonomous robotics, and is part of its innovation strategy to “master technology fields that are critical for future success”.

Worldwide, Siemens is planning to spend $6 billion this year on R&D, and China is likely to represent a significant portion of that budget.

Siemens says the global research community in its China R&D centre will comprise experienced experts from around the world will focus on:

  • the research and development of new mechatronics systems,
  • human-robot collaboration; and
  • the application of artificial intelligence in robotic controllers.

Continue reading Siemens to establish global robotics research and development centre in China

Siasun becomes first Chinese company to join leading US robotics association

Siasun Robot & Automation has become the first Chinese company to join the US Robotic Industries Association

Siasun is said to be China’s largest robot supplier and integrator. By joining RIA, the company will gain greater access to the association’s members, partners and personnel.

It may also learn about new technologies and more support for any plans expansion in America.  Continue reading Siasun becomes first Chinese company to join leading US robotics association

Investing in robotics with a $100 million fund and a humanitarian perspective

Investing in robotics is something many people are interested in. 

Not surprising, since funds which have invested in robotics and related technologies on the stock markets have returned significantly more profits than funds in other business sectors.

Rewired is a new fund which is starting out with $100 million to invest in what it says will be “the next generation of robotics”. Continue reading Investing in robotics with a $100 million fund and a humanitarian perspective

Clearpath Robotics’ partners with Cepton 3D on lidar solutions for autonomous robots

Cepton Technologies, a provider of 3D sensing solutions for automotive, industrial and mapping applications, is partnering with Clearpath Robotics, a global provider of mobile robots for research and development.

The partnership extends the availability of Cepton’s HR80 Series lidar – light detection and radar – sensors to Clearpath Robotics’ online store.

Availability on the Clearpath online store provides professionals and researchers a means to augment their unmanned robotic vehicle purchases with 3D sensing capabilities. High-volume orders are available directly through Cepton.  Continue reading Clearpath Robotics’ partners with Cepton 3D on lidar solutions for autonomous robots

Tennplasco invests in Rethink Robotics’ Sawyer Robot and sees return in under four months

Tennplasco, a plastic injection molding company, says it solved its labor shortage and met its return on investment just three and a half months after integrating Rethink Robotics’ Sawyer into its Lafayette, Tennessee facility. 

The company says it has increased its productivity and efficiency, giving it a competitive advantage in the injection molding market.  Continue reading Tennplasco invests in Rethink Robotics’ Sawyer Robot and sees return in under four months

Minimum wage increases lead to more robotics and automation, says new report

Minimum wage increases lead to more investment in robotics and automation systems, according to a new study.

The report, People Versus Machines: The Impact of Minimum Wages on Automatable Jobs, analysed the US Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey data from 1980 to 2015.

The paper was published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, and authored by Grace Lordan and David Neumark.  Continue reading Minimum wage increases lead to more robotics and automation, says new report

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

Opinion: Materials handling automation and robotics requires IIoT monitoring

By John Hayes, Vecna Robotics

There is a frequent complaint of Industry 4.0, Big Data, and the Industrial Internet of Things. Too much data, little of which can be accessed and used effectively.

From tuggers, automated guided carts, and automated guided vehicles, there is a real need to include IIoT monitoring which defines the next phase of automation and robotics in materials handling.

Without IIoT monitoring, plant managers, operations managers, logistics coordinators throughout manufacturing and distribution sectors lack the data collected which offers real-time continuous status and health information.  Continue reading Opinion: Materials handling automation and robotics requires IIoT monitoring