Swiss robots planning to build houses using 3D printers

ETH Zürich, a university in Switzerland, has unveiled a plan to build a three-storey house – dubbed DFab House – using robots and 3D printing. 

Structural engineers and sustainability experts from ETH Zürich have teamed up with business partners on the project, which is designed to bring numerous building technologies from research labs into the real world.

The project is overseen by the National Centre of Competence in Research Digital Fabrication, and its architects, robotics specialists, and materials scientists.  Continue reading Swiss robots planning to build houses using 3D printers

Carnegie Mellon names one of its rooms after Leybold

leybold carnegie mellon

University marks inauguration of a Leybold Conference and Reception Room at Carnegie Mellon University Nanofabrication Facility

Being at the forefront of university research is very important for innovating next generation vacuum technology products.

As a local partner with Pittsburgh based Carnegie Mellon University, Leybold has been not only a supplier, but also a generous and benevolent sponsor for years.

As an acknowledgement for this close cooperation, the CMU community named one of the new conference center and reception rooms “Leybold” and celebrated this inauguration with a presentation and reception held at the CMU Nanofabrication Facility recently.  Continue reading Carnegie Mellon names one of its rooms after Leybold

Denso opens automotive research and development lab at Michigan university

university-of-michigan

Global auto supplier Denso has opened a new research and development lab at the University of Michigan, in the US. 

Denso, which used to be part of Toyota, says the new research facility will “accelerate development of new auto safety technologies and create new research opportunities for engineering students”.

The company says the Denso R&D Lab gives Denso an opportunity to more closely collaborate with the university and North American automotive manufacturers on key safety technologies like machine learning, advanced driver assistance systems, and automated drive.

As part of the lab, 12 university students have been selected to participate in research projects, which will begin this month and run throughout 2017.  Continue reading Denso opens automotive research and development lab at Michigan university

University of Pennsylvania’s Ghost Robotics launches Minitaur four-legged robot platform for autonomous vehicle applications

Ghost Robotics says Minitaur four-legged robot built for highly-precise force feedback applications and movement across unknown, rough and vertical terrains 

University of Pennsylvania startup company Ghost Robotics has launched its first patent-pending direct-drive legged robot platform, Ghost Minitaur. 

Ghost Robotics specialises in the research and development legged, direct-drive or gearless and proprioceptive robotics technologies.

Founded by University of Pennsylvania PhD candidates, Avik De and Gavin Kenneally, Ghost Robotics is researching and building next-generation legged robots that are superior to wheeled and tracked autonomous vehicles in many field applications.  Continue reading University of Pennsylvania’s Ghost Robotics launches Minitaur four-legged robot platform for autonomous vehicle applications

University receives $1 million grant to improve collaborative robotics

uc-san-diego-collaborative-robotics
The envisioned intelligent material delivery system: a robot will sense when skilled workers need materials, and deliver them in advance. This will help reduce worker frustration, stress, and talent loss, and save approximately $1.7 million dollars an hour by reducing work stoppage problems, according to UC San Diego.

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have been given $1 million to research how to improve the way robots interact with people in US factories

Laurel Riek, a roboticist at the UC San Diego, will lead a three-year, $1 million project funded by the National Science Foundation to help change the role of robots in factories and make it easier for machines to work alongside people.

The goal of the project is to design an intelligent material delivery system, which supports and closely integrates with skilled workers in factories.

The researchers will investigate innovative, multi-disciplinary approaches to dramatically advance the state of the art in smart manufacturing and human-centered robotics.  Continue reading University receives $1 million grant to improve collaborative robotics

Denso teams up with Carnegie Mellon to develop artificial intelligence knowledge

carnegie mellon

Industrial robot-making giant Denso to advance artificial intelligence knowledge, signs technical advisory contract with Carnegie Mellon University

In an effort to deepen and advance its knowledge in artificial intelligence, Denso has entered into a technical advisory contract with one of the world’s foremost researchers in computer vision, Carnegie Mellon University Professor Dr Takeo Kanade.

Through this contract, Denso is looking to advance its artificial intelligence technology and expand its engineering expertise in the areas of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), autonomous drive, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Dr Kanade, a UA and Helen Whitaker University Professor of Robotics and Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon, will provide technical guidance to Denso engineers on image recognition and machine learning, and will also speak at lectures and seminars organized by Denso for a variety of purposes, such as recruiting, relationship building, and so on. These activities will be held mostly in Japan.  Continue reading Denso teams up with Carnegie Mellon to develop artificial intelligence knowledge

Kuka robot constructs pavilion by sewing parts together

kuka quantec
Like an oversized sand dollar: the completed research pavilion at the University of Stuttgart. Photo: ICD/ITKE University of Stuttgart

Sewing may be one of the oldest technical activities of humankind but it’s not one that robots have yet fully mastered. 

The complexity of sewing, whether it’s sewing by hand or using a machine, is such that robots – or sophisticated sewing machines – can only perform some relatively simple stitches.

But those stitches that the robots or sewing machines can perform are actually very impressive and would be difficult – though not impossible for a human.

On the other hand, a lot of things a human can do – such as stitch together a sleeve and cuff or some other part of the garment, or even sew together the entire garment – is way beyond the realms of possibility for even the most sophisticated robots of today.

Nonetheless, the university in Stuttgart has used Kuka robots to perform a sewing job which can only be described as impressive. Perhaps weird as well, since they stitched together some wood – not a material usually associated with sewing.  Continue reading Kuka robot constructs pavilion by sewing parts together

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

Kuka wins competition to find the most obscure board game ever invented

Professor Dr Martin Weiss (left) and Markus Webert working with the Kuka small robot KR Agilus. Source: Kuka Robotics
Professor Dr Martin Weiss (left) and Markus Webert working with the Kuka small robot KR Agilus. Source: Kuka Robotics

Becoming one of the world’s largest industrial robot companies takes time and a lot of dedication. Work, work, work. No time for play. And having got to the top, the most annoying thing for a company, like Kuka, must be to see a startup company, like DeepMind, which has yet to deliver a single commercial product, make worldwide headlines for building an artificially intelligent computer that plays an ancient Chinese board game no one understands.

So what does Kuka do to make its own headlines? Of course: find another obscure board game no one understands and teach one of its robots how to play that, and get students at a local university to do all the programming.

The board game in question is Settlers of Catan. While at least spome people had heard of Go, Settlers of Catan sounds like an old cowboy movie that no one saw because it was terrible.  Continue reading Kuka wins competition to find the most obscure board game ever invented

Hong Kong University claims world’s first internally motorized minimally invasive surgical robotic system

Prof Law (left), Prof Yeung (middle) and Prof Yung (right), with their single incision or natural orifice (incision-less) robotic surgery system
Prof Law (left), Prof Yeung (middle) and Prof Yung (right), with their single incision or natural orifice (incision-less) robotic surgery system

A team in Hong Kong is claiming to have developed the world’s first internally motorized minimally invasive surgical robotic system for single incision or natural orifice (incision-less) robotic surgery. 

A statement by the the group, which comprises leading Hong Kong universities working with commercial partner companies, said the system can minimize surgical trauma and improve the safety of current robotic surgery.

The project is said to have developed a novel surgical robotic system (NSRS) with haptic (tactile) feedback and capable of single incision or natural orifice (incision-less) robotic surgery.

The development was initiated by Professor Yeung Chung-Kwong (Prof Yeung), honorary clinical professor at the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, University of Hong Kong (HKU).  Continue reading Hong Kong University claims world’s first internally motorized minimally invasive surgical robotic system

AI crossword-solving application could make machines better at understanding language

crossword
Image credit: Beth

A web-based machine language system solves crossword puzzles far better than commercially-available products, and may help machines better understand language.

Researchers at Cambridge University have designed a web-based platform which uses artificial neural networks to answer standard crossword clues better than existing commercial products specifically designed for the task.

The system, which is freely available online, could help machines understand language more effectively.  Continue reading AI crossword-solving application could make machines better at understanding language

Aston University wins funding to develop robotic stem cell factory

Aston University
Aston University

Aston University is playing a critical role in a €6 million EU project working to develop a robotic stem cell factory, which will reduce the cost of manufacturing adult stem cells and open up the opportunity to produce new therapies for a range of conditions.

The Autostem consortium, coordinated by NUI Galway in Ireland, has received funding through the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme to address the current challenges in manufacturing stem cells.

Dr Qasim Rafiq, academic lead for the project at Aston University and Lecturer in Bioprocess Engineering, explains: “Stem cell therapies have the potential to treat currently unmet patient needs and provide therapies for conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and Parkinson’s. Continue reading Aston University wins funding to develop robotic stem cell factory