July 2013

13 Aug


Robots Could Take Over Fast Food Jobs

AOL Jobs-by Dan Fastenberg-Jul 17, 2013

Robots are now cooking food at fast food restaurants. In recent months, some fast food workers have been staging walkouts, complaining of low pay and a lack 


China now largest market for robots

Posted 07/11/13 at 09:47 AM

… When counting robots made in China and adding them to robots made internationally and shipped into China, 2012 saw China deploy more robots than any other country.


18 Gorgeous Images of Job-Stealing Factory Robots

Robots have ruled industrial production for decades in many fields, from the auto industry to food processing and consumer electronics. The Singularity isn’t here yet—but in the world of manufacturing, it’s been knocking on the door for years.


New STEM Platform to Nurture Robotics in Schools

07/31/13 — A new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) robotics platform from Yaskawa Motoman will soon help students in secondary educational programs practice skills inadvanced manufacturing and robotics. The company announced it is available in a general-purpose platform and a welding education cell, two fast-rising employment areas.  The platform reportedly enables students to practice technologies typically encountered in manufacturing environments. This hands-on educational tool offers key training for employment, as well as a method for learning the skills required by the industry. Educators can purchase a complete package or customize a system to fit planned course work and classroom layouts. “We developed the STEM…


What do policy-makers need to do to keep pace with economic development in robotics?

Economic policy may not jump to mind as a hot topic for roboticists, but it is a fundamental and influential driver behind the failure or success of the robotics community as a whole. After all, economic policy is what’s behind how governments set their interest rates, determine their budgets, enforce their rules for the labour market and deal with questions of national ownership. This month we asked Robotics by Invitation panel members Rich Mahoney and Frank Tobe for their take on what policy-makers need to do to keep economic development apace with important developments in robotics. Here’s what they have to say …




Should every nuclear plant have snake robots?

News – Jul 09, 2013, 2:56 PM | By Tim Hornyak

A Carnegie Mellon test shows that modular crawling robots can get deep into pipes at a nuclear facility, something that could help with inspections.


Robosimian: NASA’s New Monkey Robot Designed for Search & Rescue

Researchers at Boston Dynamics have designed one of the most advanced humanoids ever to compete in DARPA’s upcoming Robotics Challenge. But NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is taking a decidedly different, and more primitive, approach. Like with the country’s first space explorers, NASA is once again turning to… Read…


Florida to Test Drones for Mosquito Search and Destroy

Is there anything worse than mosquitoes? Yes. Lots of things. But mosquitoes are pretty bad. Besides being buzzy and itchy and annoying, they can transmit nasty diseases including malaria and West Nile virus, even in civilized (mostly) places like Florida. The issue with mosquitoes is that they’re everywhere, and if you’ve ever tried to get rid of even one mosquito, you can imagine how hard mass eradication is. In Florida, they’re about to experiment with aerial drones to see if they can help.


Two small drones approved by FAA for civilian use in the US

Posted 07/27/13 at 02:26 PM

… Two small drones, Insitu‘s Scan Eagle X200 (left) and AeroVironment‘s PUMA (right), have become the first federally certified unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for civilian use in the US. One will operate off the Alaska coast to survey ice floats and wildlife; the other will conduct commercial environmental monitoring in the Arctic Circle, assist emergency response teams in oil spill monitoring and conduct wildlife observations. … Both drones have fixed wings, weigh less than 55 pounds each, and have wingspans of less than 10 feet.




Inside the Mesmerising Robotic Factory Where Teslas Are Born

It can’t be easy to build a car, but the factory where Teslas are born makes it looks like a piece of cake. The folks over at Wired took a look behind the scenes to watch rolls of aluminum transform into fully functional electric cars, and it’s a sight to behold. Read…


Robotic Material Handling Applications in Distribution and Fulfillment Centers

07/16/13 — For decades, robots have been a common sight in manufacturing plants across the globe. From upstream production and assembly applications, welding, fabrication and painting to downstream end-of-line tasks such as case packing and palletizing, robots are tried and true productivity solutions in manufacturing. The applications that they perform share a…


Robotics Californian Manufacturer RSS Manufacturing & Phylrich Outpaced the Competitors with Danish Robot UR5
Universal Robots, the Danish manufacturer of industrial robots, proudly claimed that RSS Manufacturing & Phylrich, one of its California-based clients in the manufacturing sector, has been able to dramatically reduce their production time by using th… – 07/17/2013


Automobile Industry Drives Demand for Industrial Robots in 2013
Robotics is in demand. This is mainly because of the developments in the robotics industry in the last few years and the realization by various industries about the benefits robots bring to the table. –


Collaborative robots offer advances in automation

Plastics News-Jul 22, 2013

WEST SPRINGFIELD, MASS. — The collaborative robot — a robot able to work freely around humans — is touted by its supporters as an attractive automation 


Robotic factory automation system reduces costs, increases …

Vision Systems Design-by James Carroll-Jul 24, 2013

By implementing an innovative customized factory automation system that utilizes seven robots, an Australian manufacturer of household products was able to 


Automated welding taking on added importance

Plant Engineering-Jul 23, 2013

At Lincoln Electric’s Automation Division, we meet with manufacturers daily. They come to our facility to see what automated welding is all about. In 2012 alone ..


UK’s appeal as a manufacturing destination grows

…accelerates, it may not create a large number of jobs because much of the work repatriated is likely to be taken up by robotics and automation. A study by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce suggested reshoring could create… By Brian Groom


US productivity growth, back to form

…provocative and thought we’d pass along. Related links: Productivity post-paradox – FT Alphaville When productivity normalises – FT Alphaville FTAV video: the robot employment threat – FT Alphaville Cardiff Garcia


Lithium-ion batteries: Sources of power

Jun 3rd 2013, 3:17 from Schumpeter

and by automated assembly. They found that automation




Lettuce Gaze Upon the Future of Agriculture

Florida has its oranges, Georgia has its peaches, and California has its lettuce. These leafy greens are the Golden State’s biggest vegetable crop, bringing in $1.6 billion annually. Problem is, they require a lot of attention to raise properly. Historically, California has relied of its abundant, affordable work… Read…


‘Lettuce Bot’ Illustrates Misconceptions About Hispanic Migrant Workers
A new machine called “Lettuce Bot” is rolling through lettuce fields in Salinas, Calif., picking out imperfect heads of lettuce to provide more resources for healthier plants. Lettuce Bot is actually controlled miles away in Silicon Valley, where ope… – 07/16/2013


14 High-Tech Farms Where Veggies Grow Indoors

In the 21st century, a significant change is underway in the food industry: farming is moving indoors. The perfect crop field could be inside a windowless building with controlled light, temperature, humidity, air quality and nutrition. It could be in the basement of a Tokyo high-rise, in an old warehouse in Illinois, … Read…


Mainstream Agriculture Robotics Still a Ways Off

07/10/13 — Several businesses and organizations are working on robotics to solve problems relating to growing and harvesting plants and crops. These solutions are in various stages of development, from experimental to production. While the technology behind them is impressive, the overriding question is: Will these solutions ever be produced and used…


Robotics to Fill Labor Void in Australian Agriculture
Australia’s agricultural industry currently faces unique challenges that may open up the possibility for using robots to perform many labor-intensive tasks. The country’s lack of labor and high minimum wage has driven research to automate farm work. – 07/22/2013


Will Robotics Become a Major Part of the Agriculture Industry?
Several businesses and organizations are working on robotics to solve problems relating to growing and harvesting plants and crops. These solutions are in various stages of development, from experimental to production. While the technology behind the… –


Three ag robot companies featured in AP story

Posted 07/19/13 at 07:37 AM

… In an Associated Press article by Gosia Wozniacka, using robots to sort, thin, harvest and handle fruits and vegetables was examined. … Blue River Technology and their Lettuce Bot; Vision Robotics and their lettuce thinner (and orange harvesting bots); and Spanish company AgroBot and their strawberry harvester were all reviewed. … Labor saving devices like these new robotic devices are seen as helping fight an inability to secure legal farm workers. “There aren’t enough workers to take the available jobs, so the robots can come and alleviate some of that problem,” said a farming operations manager.




Vampire robot vants to suck your blood

Robot phlebotomist uses infrared, ultrasound, and computer vision to target veins. If it floated, it could work on the Death Star.

News – Jul 29, 2013, 12:00 PM | By Tim Hornyak


WaterColorBot gives you a robotic brush-off

Jul 16, 2013, 11:56 AM | By Amanda Kooser

Automate your happy little clouds with the WaterColorBot, a Kickstarter kit that hands the brush off to a robot.


Asimo struggles on first day as science museum guide

News – Jul 05, 2013, 11:54 AM | By Tim Hornyak

Japan’s premiere robot can’t catch a break after its glitch-filled performance at a Tokyo science museum.


Seedbot Makes Your Lawn Lush Without a Lick of Gardening

In some neighborhoods a lush green lawn is as much a status symbol the house it’s in front of. It demonstrates the homeowner’s hard work and dedication to maintaining every last blade of grass. And that’s what makes the Seedbot even more awesome: It’s a simpler shortcut to all that praise and adoration from the…


Robot Uses UV Rays to Disinfect Hospital Rooms

07/24/13 — Hospitals are synonymous with cleanliness and now Loyola University Health System is the first academic medical center in Illinois to take disinfection to futuristic levels. Nicknamed “Ralph” by the housekeeping staff at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital and “little Joe” at Loyola University Medical Center, 3-foot upright cylindrical robots provide the finishing…


Robot Alleviates Child’s Distress During Medical Shot

07/16/13 — Health care workers have a new tool to ease needle anxiety in children: a talking robot. The robot, named MEDi, is programmed to greet a child with a high-five, collect toys from a tray and ask questions like “Do you like movies?” Children who engaged with the robot while receiving…


Robotic Ultrasound Probe Improves Surgical Precision and Control

07/10/13 — DETROIT – While the use of ultrasound to identify tumors during kidney cancer surgery is gaining acceptance, a research team at Henry Ford Hospital has successfully taken it a step further by showing an added benefit when the procedure is done robotically. Simply put, the kidney surgeon who performs the…


FluxCrawler Robot Detects Cable Damage Before It’s Too Late

07/10/13 — The FluxCrawl robot, developed and patented by scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Nondestructive Testing IZFP, is designed to scan surfaces of heavily loaded metal cables by performing a magnetic flux test. The metallic caterpillar-like robot climbs up the cable, revolving around, attached to the cable by a U-shaped magnet.…


Robo-stox™ 5½ year chart shows Service Robotics soaring

Posted 07/20/13 at 01:03 AM

… Robo-stox™ 5½ year chart shows service robotics fully recovered from the economic crash of 2008/9 and soaring so far this year.
… Intuitive Surgical’s drop in July will somewhat quell that rise but the chart is clear that service robotics are doing quite well and industrial robot stocks are almost fully recovered as well.


Social Media Automation: A Beginner’s Guide for Small Business

Search Engine Watch-Jul 15, 2013

social-connections Social media has been in the news for years as the newest marketing tool that will transform how businesses are promoted.


Marketing automation gains ground, but obstacles remain

BtoB Magazine-Jul 18, 2013

New York—Marketing automation is making deep inroads at many b2b companies, with 46% of marketers currently using marketing technologies in some form, 


Accounts Payable Automation Is Curing Inefficiencies in Healthcare …

Business Review USA-Jul 25, 2013

While healthcare is lagging behind other industries in the adoption of AP automation technology, healthcare organizations are implementing AP solutions like 


Automation support means Guild Wars 1 ‘could last forever’

Wired.co.uk-by Philippa Warr-Jul 17, 2013

The solution, according to lead content designer, Mike Zadorojny, is largely automating the operation and keeping a skeleton crew on hand to deal with issues 


The future of media will be automated

Business Spectator-Jul 21, 2013

The way online advertising is bought and sold has finally made the leap from manual to machine-learned automation. Welcome to the world of programmatic 


Baristas, Meet the Robot That Wants Your Job

Businessweek-Jul 31, 2013

Low-wage service jobs that can’t be shipped overseas were supposed to be safe. After all, your coffee shop isn’t moving to Shenzhen, and a robot can’t make 


Will Robot Nannies Save Japan’s Economy?

NPR (blog)-Jul 19, 2013

More than half of all Japanese women quit their jobs after giving birth to their first child. That’s more than double the rate in the U.S., and it’s a problem for Japan’s 


Your next tattoo artist could be a robot

Yahoo! News-Jul 16, 2013

It’s a serious question! Eventually, we’re told, many traditionally human occupations could be replaced by automation, and if the work of one Auburn student is 


Robots put Whittier Boulevard sign spinners out of work

The Eastsider LA-Jul 29, 2013

On Whittier Boulevard in East Los Angeles, resident and Eastsider contributor C.J. Salgado spotted an automated sign-spinning robot employed to promote an 


Video: How Will You Be Shopping in Ten Years?

Intel futurist Brian David Johnson joins digits to discuss how robots, holograms and 3-D printers will be changing retail…


Doubting The Robots: Momentum Slows For Surgical Droids

The maker of cutting-edge surgical robots is standing behind them, as some hospitals say they are reviewing their training…


A long-awaited delivery for Royal Mail

…this site to exist has made its contents rarer. Mail services increasingly depend on revenues from online shopping parcels. Automation has meant fewer manual sorting jobs. These trends have accelerated in the period since the sell-off was first mooted and… By John McDermott




Robots Podcast #135: Jonathon Roberts, autonomous systems

As Director of the Autonomous Systems Laboratory in CSIRO’s ICT Centre [Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Information and Communication Technologies], Dr. Roberts leads more than 45 scientists and engineers. Research in this laboratory spans robotics, computer vision and pervasive computing technologies such as sensor networks. Dr. Roberts’ particular research interest is in robot guidance systems so robots – including flying robots – can operate autonomously in unstructured and dynamic outdoor environments.” (From Dr. Roberts’ page on the ICT website) Dr. Roberts was interviewed by Ron Vanderkley.


Automation is the Key to Cloud Efficiency

Windows IT Pro-Jul 22, 2013

But how exactly is the cloud more than just virtualization? One of the key differences is automation. The management of virtualization is focused on single Vms.




As U.S. ponders automated autos, U.K. green-lights driverless car test

Jul 17, 2013, 12:13 PM | By Charles Cooper

England to see the first tests of automated vehicles later in the year while White House pledges to “get this right” from policy standpoint.


Google to profit from self-driving cars by decade’s end — analyst

Jul 09, 2013, 8:22 AM | By Lance Whitney

Self-driving cars represent a $200 billion opportunity, says analyst Gene Munster, and Google will be a major beneficiary.


With Neocortex Tech Robot Can Unload Any Box Without Prior Analysis

07/24/13 — Universal Robotics Inc.®, a leader in 3D flexible automation, introduces the first flexible intelligence software for unrestricted box handling in logistics operations. The Unlimited Depalletization Applicationautomates on-the-fly handling of all cartons of any size and shape without advance analysis. Benefits include faster unloading, increased safety and less than 24-month payback. Ground-Breaking…


Robot Can Teach Itself to Manipulate Different Shaped Objects

07/17/13 — Festo recently demonstrated the LearningGripper, a pneumatically actuated gripper that self learns the shape of an object and then specifically orients that object. The LearningGripper is a demonstration of a future generation of robots, machines, and processes that are more flexible than any of the production systems available today – ones that…


China’s Interest in Driverless Cars Extends Well Beyond Mobileye

Unnamed investors in China are part of an international group of institutions that have put $400 million of new money into…


Daddy, What Was a Truck Driver?

Over the next two decades, the machines themselves will take over the driving.





Robots Podcast #134: Mining Automation

In Robots Podcast #134, interviewer Priscila Soares speaks with Martin Adams, principal investigator at the industry funded Advanced Mining Technology Centre (AMTC) and Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Dept. of Electrical Engineering, University of Chile, about the development of robotic technologies for use in mining, and what motivates the mining industry to fund this research. He lists his research interests as robot navigation, SLAM, sensing, field robotics, and millimeter wave radar.


New report finds mining automation may lead to fewer jobs

Australian Mining-by Cole Latimer-Jul 22, 2013

A study by the University of Queensland has found increasing levels of automation and remote control in mining may lead to fewer jobs in mining communities.


Growth Trend for Automation Continues in the Electric Power

ARC Advisory Group-Jul 31, 2013

After the economic crisis, which had a marginal effect on the power generation industry, the automation and software solutions market in the electric power 


Metro Water to automate water distribution

The New Indian Express-Jul 30, 2013

In a bid to cut down wastage and ensure supply of quality water to 67.27 lakh people in and around Chennai, Chennai Metro Water is planning total automation 




Association for Advancing Automation to Address Congressional Robotics Caucus on How Robots Save and Create Jobs

RIA, 07/22/2013 (Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA) – The Association for Advancing Automation (A3), the global advocate for the automation industry, announced today that A3’s President Jeff Burnstein has been selected to speak at the Congressional Robotics Caucus Briefing titled “Harnessing New Robotics Technologies for Job Creation.” The Caucus Advisory Committee is hosting the briefing in conjunction with Caucus Co-Chairs Congressman Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Congressman Phil Gingrey (R-GA) on July 25, 2013 in Washington, D.C. The briefing will present a first hand account of views, opinions and real-world experiences of experts and practitioners in the industry and academia, to demonstrate how robots are contributing to job growth and sustainability of U.S. industries. “The use of robots and other automation technologies saves and creates jobs in the United States,” said Burnstein. “There are countless examples of innovative American companies who are using automation to become stronger global competitors, saving and creating more jobs while producing higher quality and lower cost products, rather than closing up shop or sending jobs overseas. I’m looking forward to presenting these facts to the Caucus in order to help dispel the notion that these transformative technologies are eliminating jobs.”


A Strategy for Keeping the Robots at Bay

07/05/13 Automation is making inroads in every industry, but if you’re nimble, you can avoid being replaced by a machine.


No, Robotic Software Won’t Lead to a World Free of Offshoring
The ability to automatically detect, diagnose and address events and incidents in a quick and effective manner is an asset every company wants in their IT and customer support wings. And why not? It’d cut down on the need to offshore work while savin… – 07/23/2013


Will Robotics, Automation Lead to a 75 Percent Unemployment Rate?
Recent reports by The Associated Press suggest the combination of software automation and robotics will boost unemployment to anywhere between 50 and 75 percent. It’s a frightening picture of the future, but will it play out? – 07/18/2013


Field Robots and Unmanned Systems of Clearpath Robotics
Improvements in the robotics and unmanned systems industry in the past decade has created solutions for removing the human element on potentially dangerous jobs. New powerful computer chips able to process complex algorithms are making it possible to… – 07/10/2013


The Impact of Robots on Jobs
Industrial Robotics has improved the manufacturing process by applying automation in many different sectors. The automotive industry has been an early adopter of robotics for performing many different tasks in the assembly process of a vehicle. – 07/09/2013


Is the age of automation taking a toll on jobs?

The Japan Times-Jul 21, 2013

WASHINGTON – Just what explains today’s continuing high unemployment remains a central economic question of our time. In my last column, I largely 


Rethinking Jobs In The Automation Age

Supply Chain Digest-Jul 17, 2013

Most people understand that the economic health of an industrialized country depends on its ability to provide jobs for everyone that wants/needs a job.


7 fields where robots are taking charge

Chicago Tribune-Jul 31, 2013

Over the next decade, the number and variety of robots in the workplace will soar, taking over many jobs that are too dirty, too dull or too dangerous for people to 


Trend towards automation increases demand for industrial robots

Nanowerk-Jul 18, 2013

(Nanowerk News) According to Dr. Shinsuke Sakakibara, International Federation of Robotics (IFR) President, 2012 was quite satisfying for the global robot 




Under Pressure, Google May Slow Rollout of Driverless Car Technology

07/18/13 Google is under pressure from people inside and outside the company to crimp some features until society gets more used to…




North American Robotics Companies Set New Records for First Half of 2013

RIA 07/30/2013 (Ann Arbor, Michigan) – North American robotics companies have set new sales records through June of 2013, according to new statistics released from Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry’s trade group. A total of 10,854 robots valued at $679.3 million were ordered from North American robotics companies in the first six months of 2013, an increase of 1.9% in units over the same period in 2012 and 1.3% above the previous first-half record set in 2005. Shipments to North American customers through June totaled 11,308 robots valued at $715.1 million, breaking the previous first-half records set in 2012 by 11.0% in units and 10.4% in dollars. Overall, three out of the four orders and shipments categories tracked by RIA set new records. The activity was especially strong in non-automotive industries such as Semiconductors, Life Sciences, and Food & Consumer Goods, all of which posted double digit growth through June. In the auto industrysegment, traditionally highly cyclical, orders through June were up sharply to tier suppliers, down to OEMs, for an overall decline of five percent.


IFR: Trend Towards Automation Increases Demand for Industrial Robots

RIA, 07/08/2013

2012: Second highest number of robots sold in 2012
2013:  Again a high level of robot sales expected
Shanghai – “2012 was quite satisfying for the global robot industry and robot sales reached the second highest level ever.” stated Dr. Shinsuke Sakakibara, IFR President, on Monday, 1st July 2013 at the CIROS in Shanghai. Between 2008 and 2012 robot sales increased by 9% on average per year
“We are very pleased that in 2012 we have reached the second highest level of robot sales ever recorded in the history of industrial robots. More than 159,000 units were sold, almost on the same level as in 2011.” announced Dr. Andreas Bauer, Chairman of the IFR Industrial Robot Suppliers Group. “Between 2008 and 2012 robot sales have increased by 9% on average per year. The demand for industrial robots is increasing due to the accelerating trend towards automation all over the world. We estimate that robot installations will reach a similar level again in 2013.  In the last three years investments in robots have been strongly supported by the automotive industry. In other industries, the General Industry sales are increasing.”




Stainless steel robot arm far cooler than your arm

Jul 17, 2013, 7:53 AM | By Tim Hornyak

Kawasaki Heavy Industries’ MSR05 robot experiments with drugs and bathes in hydrogen peroxide gas.


Hyperloop: Why can’t we believe in the big ideas?

Aug 12, 2013, 4:13 PM | By Molly Wood

When most of the tech industry seems obsessed with finding each other at restaurants and ranking their own influence, it’s exciting to hear about tech that could change the world. So why are we all so skeptical about it?


Military robot deploys CO2 to lure ticks to their doom

Jul 19, 2013, 10:40 AM | By Tim Hornyak

This rover could patrol your yard, coaxing ticks onto fabric laced with insecticide. Early tests have shown it’s very effective.


The evolution of humanoid robots (pictures)

Slideshow – Jul 14, 2013, 4:00 AM | By James Martin

With advances in sensors and control systems, humanoid robots, like DARPA’s Atlas, are soon to be working side by side with us in everything from industry to entertainment.


Watch This Robot Hexapod Perform Parkour

The last time we saw RHex, he/she/it wasn’t quite as polished and coordinated as this latest video shows. A lot can and did happen in three months. Read…


This $200 Brute Force Bot Will Bust Your Phone’s Pin in Hours

Your Android phone is not safe. This 3D-printed robot systematically tries all of the possible lock screen PINs for your phone until it gets in. With your standard four-digit number, your phone is compromised in under a day. If only you’d had an iPhone! Read…


This Robotic Crab Will Scuttle the Sea for Historic Sunken Treasures

One problem with conventional ROVs is that while their propellers are plenty strong enough to kick up columns of silt from the sea floor, they typically lack the power to effectively navigate in strong currents, which limits where and how well they can survey a given area. But this new underwater explorer sidesteps… Read…


Oh Flexible Stainless Steel Robot, You Are So Bendy and Shiny

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the world’s first stainless steel robot with seven degrees of freedom. But before I explain what that means or why it matters, kindly take a moment to watch this Kawasaki Heavy Industries bot dance. Nice moves! Read…


This Robot Arm Is Den Mother To 30,000 Lab Mice

When experimenting with laboratory animals, it’s important to completely eliminate any outside factors that could influence the results. So to prevent infection from human handlers, Japan’s Nikkyo Technos and Yaskawa Electric have completely eliminated people from the equation with this robotic system that can… Read…


ATLAS: Probably the Most Advanced Humanoid Yet, Definitely Terrifying

As impressed by we all were by Petman, DARPA and Boston Dynamics’ remarkably agile and nimble humanoid, it’s about to get upstaged by the company’s latest and greatest robot creation: ATLAS. Designed to compete in DARPA’s upcoming Robotics Challenge, we actually already got a glimpse of ATLAS’ impressive skills back…


This Concrete-Recycling Robot Devours Entire Buildings

Demolishing a building is a big, messy pain in the neck. Dynamite is loud and dangerous. Wrecking balls are heavy and dangerous. Why not just get a robot to do the work? Read…

June 2013

1 Jul


Education technology: Catching on at last

New technology is poised to disrupt America’s schools, and then the world’s

The Economist, Jun 29th 2013

In a small school on the South Side of Chicago, 40 children between the ages of five and six sit quietly learning in a classroom. In front of each of them is a computer running software called Reading Eggs. Some are reading a short story, others building sentences with words they are learning. The least advanced are capturing all the upper- and lower-case Bs that fly past in the sky. As they complete each task they move through a cartoon map that shows how far they have progressed in reading and writing. Along the way they collect eggs which they can use to buy objects in the game, such as items to furnish their avatar’s apartment. Now and then a child will be taken aside for scheduled reading periods with one of the two monitoring teachers. The director of North Kenwood-Oakland school says this sort of teaching, blending software with human intervention, helps her pupils learn faster. It also allows teachers at this school—which, like other charter schools, is publicly funded but has some freedom to teach as it likes—to spend more time teaching and less time marking written work and leading pupils through dull drills of words and numbers. On top of that the school gains an accurate, continuous record of each child’s performance through the data its various programs collect and analyse.


Drones for Christ

by David Swanson | July 2013

How Jerry Falwell’s Liberty U.—the world’s largest Christian university—became an evangelist for drone warfare. LIBERTY UNIVERSITY in Lynchburg, Va., was founded by televangelist Jerry Falwell. Its publications carry the slogan “Training Champions for Christ since 1971.” Some of those champions are now being trained to pilot armed drones, and others to pilot more traditional aircraft, in U.S. wars. For Christ.


Industrial automation to grow this year

1 July, 2013 Kevin Gomez

The market for industrial automation equipment (IAE) is set to grow 6.2 percent this year to approximately US$170 billion, helped in part by the recovery of global manufacturing in the first quarter, according to a report entitled “The World Market for Industrial Automation Equipment” from IMS Research, now part of IHS. The more optimistic outlook for 2013 contrasts with the anemic market conditions of last year that had been aggravated by the interconnected nature of a globally linked space, said Jenalea Howell, research manager for the Industrial Automation service at IHS. “The interdependence of the world’s industrial markets came to the fore during 2012 and made its presence felt as weak demand in some regions hit the exports of others, causing revenue from industrial automation equipment (IAE) to grow only 3.7 percent,” noted Howell. In addition, overcapacity in several industrial markets, following two years of strong growth in China, led shipments to fall by more than two percent.


U.S. News: Companies Still Wary Despite Hefty Profits

Reddy, Sudeep. Wall Street Journal, Eastern edition [New York, N.Y] 27 June 2013

The U.S. economy has spent four years shaking off damage from a brutal recession. But American businesses still haven’t shed their caution. Despite stellar profits and lean payrolls, U.S. firms remain scarred by the deep downturn, surveys of businesses show. Their appetite for investing continues to be patchy and their hiring slow, a reflection of the global turbulence. As the U.S. recovery enters its fifth year, a new round of financial-market turmoil risks spurring another bout of anxiety across the business sector. Exports have already retrenched alongside rising uncertainty in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Recent signals that the Federal Reserve may start easing off the gas pedal threaten to raise more doubts about whether the economy is strong enough to accelerate on its own. The latest reading of the U.S. economy Wednesday underscored the choppy picture. Business investment rose at a scant 0.4% pace in the first quarter, one factor that kept growth in the overall economy at a relatively slow 1.8% annualized rate. Capital spending by business in the U.S. remains 4% below its prerecession level. Total output by manufacturers last month sat 5% below its 2007 average. A key measure of small-business sentiment trails its pre-2008 average, while a separate reading of confidence among big-company CEOs is hovering at middling levels as firms seek signs of stronger demand.


Honeywell’s System Sensor Plant Declares War on ‘Seven Deadly Wastes’

WSJ, June 30, 2013

The plant pumps out millions of devices a year, and its efficiency gains in recent years have been achieved with a workforce that has been cut in half over a decade–illustrating the shop-floor improvements that economists and academics have dubbed a U.S. manufacturing renaissance. System Sensor also highlights a decade of profit-margin improvements that have propelled Honeywell’s results above those of rivals, such as General Electric Co. Honeywell has doubled its profit since 2002 and increased sales 72%.


Trend towards Automation increases Demand for Industrial Robots

2012: Second Highest Number of Robots Sold / 2013: A High Level of Robot Sales Expected Again

Shanghai, 1st July 2013 – “2012 was quite satisfying for the global robot industry and robot sales reached the second highest level ever.” stated Dr. Shinsuke Sakakibara, IFR President, on Monday, 1st July 2013 at the CIROS in Shanghai.


First responder and military ground robots to grow at close to 20%

Posted 06/14/13 at 05:39 AM

… New $3,800 report by Wintergreen Research says that first responder and military ground robot marketplace will expand at close to 20% annually for the rest of the decade.
… Expected revenue in 2019 is $12 billion.
… Growth is based on the adoption of automated processes combining innovative software and robotic platforms in systems of engagement that have arms and sensors, tracks and wheels, motors, solid state batteries and leverage smart phones and mobile platforms.
… This report confirms Markets and Markets report which predicts a 17.4% CAGR over same period for service robotics.


Today in labor history: The term robot is first used

People’s World-Jun 25, 2013

On the June 25, 1921 premier, Czech author Karel Capek’s introduced the term robot in his science fiction play R.U.R. in which robots organize and rebel 




The Robots of War

06/25/13 — Here are just a few of the robots assigned to the U.S. Army’s last combat brigade in Afghanistan: Tractor-size robots that trawl ahead of foot patrols, probing for buried bombs. Smaller ‘bots that help blow up the uncovered incendiary devices. Unmanned aerial vehicles — from tiny, hand-thrown models to a high-endurance version the size of a Cessna. Silent robot sentries that watch over sleeping U.S. troops. The automaton warriors of the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, deployed to volatile Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan since December represent the highs and lows of more than a decade of military robot development. Highs because…


CIA invests in robot writers | Mashable

June 5, 2013 by Hallie Siegel

The CIA’s venture capital wing, In-Q-Tel, has invested an unknown amount in a company called Narrative Science, which codes software capable of turning massive data sets into easy-to-read written prose … The agency collects mounds of raw data, and its researchers would most likely appreciate an automated hand in turning all those figures into readable, actionable reports for agents and higher-ups.


Israel is top global exporter of UAS

Posted 06/03/13 at 11:40 AM

Frost & Sullivan, a research and consulting firm, reported that Israel’s UAS export revenue totaled $4.6 billion from 2005 to 2012. In terms of the number of systems sold, Israel is the world’s largest exporter of unmanned aircraft the study said.
… “UAS exports have accounted for nearly 10 percent of the country’s total defense export industry, and this is expected to increase” the report said. “Defense exports will increase steadily, as Israel continues aggressive marketing campaigns with countries in growing UAS markets, such as Africa, Asia/Pacific, and South America.”


Police Chief Wants Robot Drones To Patrol Over St. Louis

fox2now.com-Jun 24, 2013

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)– The science-fiction movie “Robocop” was set in 2029. But the St. Louis Police Department’s request for robot drones to patrol the skies 


India Commits to Robotic Soldiers

06/12/13 — NEW DELHI: With futuristic warfare in mind, India is working to develop robotic soldiers as part of efforts to boost unmanned fighting capabilities, joining a select group of countries in this endeavour. Under the project being undertaken by DRDO, robots would be developed with very high level of intelligence to enable them to differentiate between a threat and a friend. These can then be deployed in difficult warfare zones, like the Line of Control (LoC), a step that would help avert the loss of human lives. “We are going to work for robotic soldiers. We are going to look for…


Segway-like robot helps fight fires with 3D, thermal imaging

News – Jun 05, 2013, 4:34 PM | By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore

Engineers at UC San Diego are testing small, mobile robotic vehicles that create virtual reality maps with temperature data that first responders can use in real time.


Look out below: The next ‘wave’ of autonomous robots (pictures)

Slideshow – Jun 29, 2013, 4:00 AM | By James Martin

Airborne drones might be all the rage, but technologists are creating a new generation of ocean-going robots.


Don’t try shaking this robot ape off your car

News – Jun 24, 2013, 11:25 AM | By Tim Hornyak

This cyber-simian from Germany’s DFKI keeps its balance even on a wobbly surface. How long before it starts to walk upright?


The democratization of the drone

News – Jun 22, 2013, 12:00 AM | By Seth Rosenblatt and Donald Bell

Homegrown electronics manufacturer Parallax is empowering a wave of DIY robotics, from flying quadcopters to programmable robots.


Does This Self-Burying Bot Mean We’re Close to Robo-Tremors?

Andrew Liszewski

We already have autonomous robots that can drive, fly, swim—even operate in space. And now, thanks to researchers at the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute, we’ll soon be dealing with bots that can tackle the final frontier here on earth—or should we say inside earth—with a self-burrowing robot that works…


Robo Sally: The Best Bomb Disposal Bot Is Also the Most Human

Andrew Tarantola 6/04/13

Of the 25,000 Explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) missions conducted by the US military in Iraq, only 30 have resulted in fatalities according to Army Col. K. Reinhard, commander of the joint EOD teams operating in the theater. That’s still 30 too many. And that’s why DARPA’s developed the most advanced EOD surrogate…


What Else Can We Do With Autonomous Military Vehicles?

Evan Ackerman | Posted 26 Jun 2013

Do you have a robot car yet? Me neither. The military, on the other hand, has a bunch of them. These UGVs (Unmanned Ground Vehicles) are mostly used for hauling gear, sort of like mules used to, back in the day. Lockheed Martin even had one called MULE. It was a nice idea, getting robots to do this, but it’s not simple and it’s not cheap, and the military has been cutting back. So, the companies involved have been trying to figure out what else they can do with their UGVs.




Behind the scenes at robotics maker Parallax (pictures)

Slideshow – Jun 22, 2013, 12:00 AM | By Seth Rosenblatt and Donald Bell

From flying drones that can lift 15 pounds to protoype cars with motion sensors: Join us on this tour of how robotics experts Parallax make their wonderful toys.


Ford Is Using Robots to Put Cars Through Its Toughest Tests

Ashley Feinberg 6/17/13

As much fun as test driving pre-production cars may seem, cruising around a course meant to see how hard a car can take a beating usually means a few hits to the human inside, as well. Not to mention the fact that human drivers are notoriously high maintenance—always wanting things like “food” and “sleep” and “legal…


Boeing’s Giant Robot Arms Are Spray-Painting Prodigies

Eric Limer 6/14/13

The Boeing 777 is a huge, hulking beast. And when you’re trying to churn out 100 of them every year, there’s only one way to pull it off: turn to the robots. These giant, spray-painting robot arms can coat one of the bird’s mammoth wings in mere minutes.


The End of Separation: Man and Robot as Collaborative Coworkers on the Factory Floor

by Tanya Anandan, Contributing Editor

Posted: 06/06/2013 A new realm of industrial robotics is upon us. Human-robot collaboration is here, on the manufacturing floor, viable and successful. …


Many U.S. Factories Make Do With Old Machinery

WSJ, 06/10/13 – Many manufacturers figure it makes more economic sense to refurbish old machinery at U.S. plants than to take a risk buying… “In manufacturing, people won’t spend money unless there’s a guaranteed return on investment,” says Craig Resnick, a vice president at ARC Advisory Group, a Dedham, Mass., consulting firm that specializes in industrial automation. Often, he says, it is difficult to know precisely how much will be gained by installing new equipment. And there is a nagging worry: What if the new stuff doesn’t work?




Let’s Hope All Bots Are as Gentle as This Tofu Handling Robot

Andrew Liszewski 6/20/13

Sci-fi movies and TV shows have given us a glimpse of the future where robots will eventually set their sights on eradicating humans. It’s just one possible outcome, though, and as this robot developed by Lands Work demonstrates, our inevitable artificial companions might actually be far gentler than we fear.


Flying Robots to Tend your Vineyard

11 Jun 2013

A recent UC Davis news release describes a remotely piloted helicopter (aka “drone”) that is being field tested in a Napa Valley vineyard. The researchers are using the Yamaha RMAX unmanned helicopter on the Oakville Experimental Vineyard. UC Davis worked with the FAA for five months in order to obtain a permit for the application of herbicide and pesticide sprays from a remotely piloted vehicle. The FAA requires 48 hour advance notice of each flight and the vehicle is limited to an altitude of 20 feet.

Teagasc Investigates Ireland’s Futuristic Cow Milking Systems

06/12/13 — With 10,000 commercial farms worldwide using automatic or robotic milking systems, these futuristic milking systems are set to grow exponentially in the coming years. In fact, it is estimated that up to 20 percent of cows in Europe will be milked automatically by 2020. With this is in mind, Teagasc…

Automation allowing mid-sized brewers to compete with industry

Calgary Herald-Jun 11, 2013

It was four years ago that management at Moosehead Breweries Ltd. decided to benchmark their performance with the rest of the industry. After visiting brewery operations throughout Europe and crunching some numbers, “We saw some significant gaps we needed to close,” says Wayne Arsenault, vice-president of operations. “One of the major ones was controls and automation.” Getting to an automated state is a matter of competitive survival for brewers of any size, Mr. Arsenault says. “Beer pricing is relatively stagnant, so clearly breweries need to do something to reduce costs. Larger competitors have already significantly reduced theirs. We had to react to keep up.” That reaction was a $21-million investment that would see Moosehead overhaul end-to-end production — from material handling and inspection to labelling and packing — at its Saint John, NB plant. Smaller organizations don’t have access to a ton of capital so we need to be very focused on high-value innovations that improve quality and reduce costs The productivity improvements have been substantial, Mr. Arsenault says. Consolidating two bottle lines to a single high-speed fully automated one, for example, reduced staff requirements by half, while generating the same output. The original seven labeling machines, which were individually manned, have been rolled into a single fully automated system with quality inspection capabilities that requires only a single person at the helm.  On the packing side, new boxboard and six-pack systems have led to a 70% reduction in assets without putting a dent in volumes.

Foxconn to speed up ‘robot army’ deployment; 20000 robots already

ITworld.com-by Michael Kan, June 26, 2013, 10:20 AM

Manufacturing giant Foxconn Technology Group is on track with its goal to a create a “million robot army”, and already has 20,000 robotic machines in its factories, said the company’s CEO Terry Gou on Wednesday. Workers’ wages in China are rising, and so the company’s research in robots and automation has to catch up, Gou said, while speaking at the company’s annual shareholder’s meeting in Taipei. “We have over 1 million workers. In the future we will add 1 million robotic workers,” he said. “Our [human] workers will then become technicians and engineers.” Foxconn is the world’s largest contract electronics maker and counts Apple, Microsoft and Sony as some of its clients. Many of its largest factories are in China, where the company employs 1.2 million people, but rising are threatening to reduce company profits. To offset labor costs and improve its manufacturing, Foxconn has already spent three years on developing robots, Gou said. These machines are specifically developed to assemble electronics such as mobile phones, but it will take some time for Foxconn to fully develop the technology, he added. “It’s a middle to long-term goal,” Gou said. But already 20,000 robot arms and robotic tools are in use at the company’s factories. Robotics have long been used to manufacture cars and large electronics. But currently, human workers are still the best choice to put together small consumer gadgets, many of which contain complicated wiring and small sockets that are best handled with human hands, according to experts. In addition, Foxconn’s CEO said the company is prepared to expand its manufacturing in the U.S., but the move will depend on “economic factors.” The company already has factories in Indianapolis and Houston, and employs thousands of workers in the country, according to Gou. Last December, Foxconn customer Apple said it would manufacture one of its Mac lines in the U.S. by the end of next year. Soon after, Foxconn said it was considering growing its existing manufacturing base in the country.

Dionysus’ robot to help winegrowers

13 June 2013

Farmers around the world will be able to improve their irrigation efficiency thanks to an autonomous vineyard robot developed at Harper Adams University. ‘Dionysus’ has been created to use thermal imaging sensors to detect moisture levels in grape vines. This data will then be used to inform farmers as to whether irrigation is required.”

Agricultural Drone Investing

By Jason Stutman, Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Although farms used to be small enough in size for human and ground-based surveillance, consolidation has led to massive fields that cannot be traversed by land in a timely manner. Instead, farmers now need to view their land from the sky. This point of view can be obtained with satellite imaging, planes, or helicopters. However, these methods provide low resolution images and are very expensive. Autonomous imaging drones offer a better service at a cheaper price, which is exactly why the AUVSI expects precision agriculture to see substantial growth in the next two decades.




iRobot Makes It Easier To Show Up To Work While At Home In Your PJs

Andrew Liszewski 6/10/13

Email, the internet, and a host of other advancements in office technology have finally made the dream of working from home a reality. But sometimes you just need to be in the office, and thanks to a collaboration between iRobot and Cisco, you still don’t need to change out of your pajamas to get chewed out by your…

This Trash-Sorting Robot Could Revolutionize Recycling

Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan 6/07/13

We’ve seen a lot of frivolous applications for robotic arms: Artisanal cocktail making. Slow pit stops. Whatever’s going on here. Meanwhile, in Finland, a precociously-named company called ZenRobotics has figured out how use them to solve one of the biggest problems with recycling: automatic sorting.

Eldercare Robot Rolls into More Real Homes

06/12/13 — A safer and healthier old age – that is the aim of GiraffPlus, an international project led by researchers at Örebro University, Sweden. With a focus of developing sophisticated aids for the elderly in close collaboration with the intended users, the project is now about to test the new technology…

Clean Sweep: ZenRobotics’ Recycler Literally Takes Out the Trash

06/25/13 — When Jufo Peltomaa and Tuomas Lukka were figuring out what to do next after selling Hybrid Graphics to Nvidia seven years ago, they knew it had to involve one thing. Robots. “Our business plan was — let’s do something cool with robots!” Peltomaa said. The pair, plus their third co-founder Harri Volpola, are one of the most interesting entrepreneurial teams out of Finland today. Lukka is the country’s youngest ever Ph.D. after getting his degree in quantum chemistry at the age of 20 and Peltomaa is an early 1990s pop star from one of the country’s first rap groups, a past career he kind of wants to…

Hopefully Nobody Will ‘Fuhgeddaboudit’ the Gowanus: New Robot Unveiled to Clean Up Pollution

Jamie Epstein, June 06, 2013

The Gowanus canal, located within the greatest borough within New York city known as Brooklyn and bordering Red Hook and South Brooklyn on the west and Park Slope to the east, is only 1.8 miles long but it is highlighted for being one of the most polluted bodies of water in the entire country. As someone who lives close by this body of water, it is truly disgusting to see the amount of items that will float by you within a few minutes, not to mention that it is filled with lead, mercury and sewage. Needless to say, it has long been obvious to Brooklynites that something needs to be done to clean up this mess. And that is exactly the thought process behind a new remote-controlled robot that NYU Polytechnic has unleashed to collect key data in discover what is actually in the water besides the contaminants we already know about. You can’t fully cleanse something if you don’t exactly what lies beneath the surface, right? Coined the Brooklyn Atlantis, this robotic innovation can store important information in relation to temperature, salinity, oxygen, and even pH levels. Also, it powers multiple cameras that are located both above and below the water in order for help residents learn what is going on underwater.


Robot band performs with Japanese pop group in Tokyo

Telegraph.co.uk-Jun 24, 2013

Guitarist Mach, drummer Ashura, and keyboardist Cosmo are creations by Zima, a Japanese alcoholic beverage brand, as a part of a new advertising campaign.




Windward Announces Record Number of Automation Projects Since

PR Web (press release)-Jun 27, 2013

Windward IT Solutions’ solidified its proven cloud management expertise by announcing a record number of IT service automation projects year over year since 

The Future of Data Centers Lies on Automation

CloudTimes-Jun 17, 2013

ict strategy enterprise cloud 300×142 The Future of Data Centers Lies on Automation Cloud computing is the evolution and divergence of many seemingly 

Companies Step Up Automation of IT Operations

GlobeNewswire (press release)-Jun 25, 2013

NEW YORK, June 25, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Neebula Systems announced four recent customer implementations as more companies are investing in 




The automation of Texas Instruments’ distribution center in

Dallas Morning News (blog)-by Sheryl Jean-Jun 17, 2013

Earlier this month, I wrote about Dallas-based Texas Instruments Inc.’s shift to an automated inventory management system at its product distribution center in 

Automation merger

Port Strategy-Jun 20, 2013

Two market leaders in optical character recognition (OCR) have merged their port automation solution businesses together to form a new company called 




Automation technology helping water conservation, efficiency efforts

Water World-Jun 20, 2013

LIBERTY LAKE, WA, and NEW DELHI, INDIA, June 20, 2013 — Water conservation and efficiency efforts in India are being addressed by advanced automation 


Automation Helps Optimize Enhanced Oil Recovery for Mature Fields

ARC Advisory Group-Jun 20, 2013

Most of the presentations highlighted the benefits and challenges of investing in automation and technology to increase productivity of new wells and develop 


Remotely controlled robot to be used in Kazakh Kashagan field

Trend.az, Kazakhstan, Astana, July 1 / Trend D. Mukhtarov /

SensaBot, the remotely controlled robot will be used at the Kashagan field in Kazakhstan, the North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC) international consortium developing the field, said today. ‘Taking into account the high pressure in the field, as well as the toxic nature of Kashagan fluids, the consortium is developing a SensaBot, designed under a special order at the National Robotics Centre in Pittsburgh (USA) in collaboration with Shell Global Solutions’, a statement said. At present, NCOC has concluded a contract with Nazarbayev University to lay the wireless network for the project’s implementation. According to the report, the development of a SensaBot, the first its kind in oil projects, took two and a half years. SensaBot has been designed for operations on the islands of the Kashagan project, with no permanent service and operational personnel. It ensures a more rapid and effective response to any emergency situations, as well as regular monitoring over the production activity, a statement said.




Productivity growth: the crucial link between investment and return

…headcount reduction, and doesn’t only come from new business models. Management mainstays to increase productivity- automation of routine work, controlled, hierarchical, decision making, reliance on “lean methods”, optimising function performance… By Paul Blase and John Sviokla, June 25, 2013


UK onshoring ‘minimal and restricted to smaller companies’

By Mark Wembridge and Andrew Bounds, June 2, 2013

When the main distributor of the $35 Raspberry Pi computer recently shifted its production back from China to Wales, proponents of Britain’s beleaguered manufacturers touted the move as a further step in the rebooting of the UK economy. The decision to shift production of the credit-card-sized microcomputer to Sony’s factory in the Welsh town of Pencoed was the latest British example of onshoring: whereby changing economic pressures encourage manufacturers to return their production facilities home.The trend of onshoring – also known as reshoring – has been especially pronounced in North America, where the shale gas revolution has driven down energy prices, while ballooning labour costs in Asia have made US manufacturing more cost effective. But amid hopes that the UK can replicate such a trend, examples such as the Raspberry Pi appear to be relatively scarce and economically meagre, which has led to questions being raised over the likely strength of any onshoring effect on Britain’s gross domestic product and jobs market. “Reshoring is real, but minimal in impact and meaningful more for small companies whose limited buying power makes China sourcing especially risky, or for large companies looking to diversify supply sources,” says a recent study by SCM World, the supply chain think-tank.




China Is Investing in Velodyne Automated Car Sensor Technology

06/24/13 – The head of Velodyne, which pioneered the use of high-definition laser sensors in driverless cars, says China is developing…


$201 million in venture funding in 2012; up from $194 in 2011

Posted 06/12/13 at 01:00 AM

… Roboticist and entrepreneur Travis Deyle keeps tract of venture funding during the year and has provided not just a list, but a profile of the companies receiving the money.
… Report doesn’t include big-buck acquisitions of Kiva for $775 million, Evolution Robotics for $74 million, Aldebaran for $100 million, and smaller than a million fundings.
2012 funding list.
2011 funding list.


Brainpower alone cannot save India’s growth model

June 12, 2013

For Infosys, a pioneer of India’s outsourcing revolution, the world used to be flat. Now it is looking more pear-shaped. It was Nandan Nilekani, a co-founder of Infosys, who first put the idea in Thomas Friedman’s head that the world was flattening. Mr Friedman, who was wowed by the oasis of calm and sophistication he found at the company’s shiny Bangalore campus, recalls Mr Nilekani telling him: “Tom, the playing field is being levelled.” Third, much existing work is being commoditised and automated. Rather than paying Indian engineers to watch lights blinking on and off and apply off-the-rack software patches, it is becoming cheaper to develop networks capable of fixing themselves. “Automation is a big threat to India’s model,” says Siddharth Pai of research group ISG.




Can Robots and Humans Be Friends?

WSJ 06/27/13 – Japan prides itself on robots with a human touch that people might look to as something more than just machines.


Global Future 2045 Conference Takes A Hard Look At Today

Posted 06/22/13 at 10:09 PM

… GF2045 host Dmitry Itskov said “We are really at the time when technology can affect human evolution. I want us to shape the future, bring it up for public discussion, and avoid any scenario that could damage it.”
… Ray Kurzweil said that 2045 would be a time when computers surpassed the human brain and that, with biotech and other prosthetics, our human bodies would be open to analysis, simulation and reprogramming and would defy death.
… James Martin said that serious crunches were coming, particularly in long-term thinking to ward off survival-of-the-fittest type changes. China and corporations have the discipline but the US and EU do not (and corporations have a different set of ethics).
… Other speakers included philosophers, ethicists, brain interface developers, AI theorists, and a very colorful panel of global interfaith/spirituality leaders, all discussing the progress of, and implications and consequences of brain mapping, avatars and other technological changes.


Robohub focus on frontier robotics: High risks, high rewards

by Hallie Siegel   |   June 27, 2013
Researchers and entrepreneurs are used to weighing the potential risks and rewards of any project they are thinking of putting time and money into. Potential financial investors — be they government policy advisors, members of grant committees, venture capitalists or angel investors — are no different. But in terms of viability, some projects, visionary and game-changing as they may be, are far from certain. Even if overwhelming technical hurdles are navigated successfully, there always remains the risk that the market will not be ready …


The race to build the first 3D-printed building

04 June 13 by Ian Steadman

Would you live in a house that came out of a printer? Would you prefer concrete, or plastic? Biodegradable, or weather resistant? Canal house or futuristic spider’s nest? These are the questions facing us as 3D printing colonises yet another field — architecture.

May 2013

2 Jun


It’s time to talk about the burgeoning robot middle class | MIT Technology Review

May 14, 2013 by Hallie Siegel

The elephant in the room is how robotics will play out for human employment in the long term. New robots will take on advanced manufacturing, tutoring, scheduling, and customer relations. They operate equipment, manage construction, operate backhoes, and yes, even drive tomorrow’s cars. It is time for not just economists but roboticists, like me, to ask, “How will robotic advances transform society in potentially dystopian ways?” My concern is that without serious discourse and explicit policy changes, the current path will lead to an ever more polarized economic world, with robotic technologies replacing the middle class and further distancing our society from authentic opportunity and economic justice. – Illah Nourbakhsh


Inequality In The Robot Future

Forbes-May 13, 2013

Kevin Drum has a new column that echoes most of my thoughts on the robot future. It is likely to come within the next few decades and be more transformative


Symbolic’ reshoring will not lead to jobs boom, survey suggests

By Andrew Bounds in Manchester, Financial Times, May 10, 2013

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Manufacturers are increasingly bringing production back to developed economies but this reshoring is merely “symbolic” and will not lead to a jobs boom, according to a survey of businesses. “Our data and interviews with more than two dozen executives show that reshoring is symbolic. It does not represent the rebirth of American or European manufacturing,” said Kevin O’Marah, of SCM, who co-authored with Hau Lee, of Stanford University, a study of 330 business leaders’ future plans. Mr O’Marah said a combination of increasing automation and growing demand in emerging markets relative to developed…move to cheaper locations, many industries were investing in automation, with 62 per cent expecting to increase capital spending in…


German rail network to fight graffiti with drones

News – May 27, 2013, 1:53 PM | By Tim Hornyak

Deutsche Bahn wants to deploy silent drones to thwart vandalism to its trains and property, which cost the operator nearly $10 million last year.


iRobot military bots to patrol 2014 World Cup in Brazil

News – May 15, 2013, 10:36 AM | By Tim Hornyak

The battle-tested PackBot 510 will join soldiers, police, and drones to keep the World Cup safe from threats. Will these 30 bots kick a ball around too?


UN expert demands freeze on robot weapons | Bangkok Post: news

Bangkok Post-May 30, 2013

The international community must impose a moratorium on robot weapons which can make their own decision to kill, a UN expert told the world body’s top


Drone Adventures in Haiti

by Adam Klaptocz
May 29, 2013

Hello drones lovers! Here is the video of our first humanitarian mission with Drone Adventures. We went to Haiti to explore the potential uses of drones to map encampments, riverbeds and entire villages.


New Robotics and new opportunities

by Alan Winfield
May 28, 2013

Here are the slides of my talk at the BARA Academic Forum for Robotics meeting Robotics: from innovation to service, on Monday 20 May 2013…


What is the single biggest obstacle preventing robotics from going mainstream?

by RBI Editors, May 15, 2013

It has been said that we are on the edge of a ‘robotic tipping point’ … but where, exactly, is this edge? And what’s holding us back?  This month we asked our panelists to weigh in on what’s keeping robots from going mainstream. Here’s what they have to say …


Swords to plowshares: Experts see farming as next big use for drones | Cronkite News

May 27, 2013 by John Payne

WASHINGTON – Drones numbering in the tens of thousands will be in the skies by 2030, the Federal Aviation Administration predicts. But where some may fear precision weapons or flying spy cameras, Steve Markofski sees flying tractors.


The man behind the Google Brain: Andrew Ng and the new AI | WIRED UK

May 8, 2013 by Hallie Siegel

In tandem with other researchers at Google, Ng is building one of the most ambitious artificial-intelligence systems to date, the so-called Google Brain. Ng leads a new field of computer science research known as Deep Learning, which is based on a theory that human intelligence stems from a single algorithm, and which seeks to build machines that can process data in much the same way the brain does.


Bernanke weighs in on robot wars; brings Keynes for backup

Kate Mackenzie, Financial Times, May 20, 2013

Many factors affect the development of the economy, notably among them a nation’s economic and political institutions, but over long periods probably the most important factor is the pace of scientific and technological progress.”

That’s Ben Bernanke addressing a graduating class at Bard College at Simon’s Rock, Massachusetts, on Saturday. He goes on to say that not everyone believes this advancement is going to continue at such a great pace. Yes, he is talking about Robert Gordon and Tyler Cowen, and their arguments that much of the low-hanging fruit has been plucked and we face a lower-growth future, as evidenced by the incremental advancements of recent years.




Hacking the Drone War’s Secret History

A 28-year-old grad student has created the key to hacking drone-strike data.


New Drone Strike Undercuts Obama’s Promises on Robot War

Obama seemed to say last week that U.S. drones are out of the business of killing militants who aren’t senior al-Qaida leaders. Then he killed a Pakistani Taliban leader this morning.


Holder: We’ve Droned 4 Americans, 3 by Accident. Oops.

For the first time, the Obama administration has acknowledged killing four Americans in drone strikes — three of whom were killed accidentally.


Navy’s High-Flying Spy Drone Completes Its First Flight

This is the Navy’s MQ-4C Triton, its next-generation surveillance drone. It just flew its first flight test out in California. And it wants to scan 2,000 miles of ocean at once.


International Arms Manufacturers Tap into Growing Drone Market

05/30/13 — On a sprawling complex just outside Pretoria, South Africa, a government-owned arms manufacturer is preparing to test an armed drone that it hopes to begin selling soon to governments around the world. The company, Denel Dynamics, says the armed version of the Seeker 400, which will carry two laser-guided missiles, will enable so-called opportunistic targeting at a range of up to about 155 miles. These are not combat systems, they are foremost reconnaissance systems,” Sello Ntsihlele, executive manager of UAV systems for Denel, told NBC News. He added: “(But if) you speak to any general, show him the capability, he…


Brazilian Government Places $7.2M Order for Security Robots

05/23/13 — The Brazilian government says some of the security robots bought to improve public safety during the 2014 World Cup will be ready for the Confederations Cup in June. The company iRobot says the 30 robots would be delivered by the end of the year, along with spares and other support gear. The government confirmed Thursday that some will already be in action in the six cities hosting Confederations Cup matches. The company said Brazil signed a $7.2 million contract, which included the small unmanned ground vehicles which can provide surveillance, bomb removal and other law-enforcement missions. The Confederations Cup is…


The Real Impact of Robotics on the Defense Budget

05/09/13 — Given the tremendous advancements taking place in the field of robotics right now, the increased use of robot soldiers by the Pentagon seems all but inevitable — drastically altering the way the United States wages war. But the rise of robots will have an even broader impact on the way the…


This Week’s Military News:

The Robot Report, Posted 05/15/13 at 06:00 AM

… The Northrop Grumman X-47B unmanned aircraft made its first aircraft carrier launch this week. Two days later they spent the whole day doing touch-and-go take-offs and landings.
… The US Navy’s Naval Research Lab (NRL) flew a UAV for 48 hours, breaking a fuel-cell-for-flight record. The UAV was powered by a liquid hydrogen fuel in a cryogenic fuel storage tank and delivery system.
… In the UK, two pilots didn’t have anything to do as their BAE Systems passenger aircraft flew a unmanned flight from Lancashire to Inverness, Scotland which was controlled by a pilot in Warton using advanced sensors and on-board robotic systems.
… iRobot’s SUGV’s will be getting a new “batwing” fix which adds a collapsable hook that affixes to a telescoping pole to better examine IEDs.
… In Saskatoon, Canada, RC Mounties launched a Draganflyer UAS equipped with FLIR forward-looking infrared, to find and save the life of a disoriented man in a field on a cold night.


The increasingly autonomous robots of war (pictures)

May 31, 2013, 1:48 PM | By James Martin

Robots used for military missions are becoming increasingly autonomous — and many of these autonomous machines will soon be armed.




Machine Vision Sales Continue to Climb

05/30/13 — Total machine vision sales in North America grew ten percent year-over-year for the first quarter of 2013, according to new statistics from AIA, the industry’s trade group.Sales of machine vision systems, the largest category, rose 11 percent year-over-year while sales of machine vision components saw an increase of four percent.The increase in machine vision system sales resulted primarily from the resurgence of Application Specific Machine Vision (ASMV) systems, which grew 12 percent over last year. Smart Cameras sales, which are included in machine vision systems, grew four percent.The increase in sales of machine vision components resulted primarily from sales of…


Why Foxconn’s automation hasn’t been smooth

MarketWatch-May 15, 2013

However, Liu Kun, a spokesperson for Foxonn, said it would continue with automation. “Nowadays, young workers are picky about their workplaces, and it’s


The future of manufacturing highlighted at The Automation

Vision Systems Design-May 27, 2013

The Automation Conference, designed for automation professionals in the manufacturing, processing and packaging industries, attracted 230 attendees from


Rust belt states of Midwest lead US manufacturing revival

By Neil Munshi in Chicago, Financial Times, May 9, 2013

The bulk of US manufacturing jobs gained since the labour market troughed three years ago have been concentrated in a handful of rust belt states, a positive sign for a region that has long seen employers flee for far-flung markets with lower labour costs. Fuelled by a resurgent car industry, states such as Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, along with Tennessee and Kentucky, account for more than half of the more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs the US gained between March 2010 and March 2013, labour department statistics show.


Hyundai develops small welding robot to tackle big jobs

Gizmag-by Jason Falconer-May 13, 2013

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), which lays claim to being the largest shipbuilding company in the world, says it has developed a miniature welding robot that


MIT designs autonomous robot that assembles IKEA furniture

Digital Trends-by Drew Prindle-May 10, 2013

We’ve already got robots for some of life’s most tedious tasks – there’s the Roomba for vacuuming, the Looj for cleaning the gutters, and Siri for writing our texts




Banana patch robots within ten years | FreshPlaza

May 27, 2013 by John Payne

Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at the University of Sydney, Salah Sukkarieh, is a keynote speaker at the Banana Industry Congress and will tell growers there is significant untapped potential for the use of robots that work outdoors to provide information and support to banana farmers.”


Australia eyes high-tech farm help to grow food | Reuters

May 27, 2013 by John Payne

SYDNEY (Reuters) – “Moving carefully along a row of appletrees, two of Australia’s newest agricultural workers check if the fruit is ripe or the soil needs water or fertilizer. Meet “Mantis” and “Shrimp”, agricultural robots being tested to do these tasks and more in a bid to cut costs and …”


Robot tractors in Australia within five years

ABC Online-May 28, 2013

Driverless tractors could be making their way onto Australian farms within five years, according one of the country’s key grain research bodies. The Grains




Drinks-On With the World’s Biggest, Baddest Bartending Robot

At the Google I/O after party the other night, there was one bartender in particular that stood out. It wasn’t the drink he made, or the friendly chatter. It was more than he weighed several tons and could break you with the flick of the wrist. Meet the Makr Shakr. Read…


Researchers Build Robots to Traverse Patients’ Internal Abdominal Walls

05/23/13 — Researchers at the University of Leeds are using the feet of tree frogs as a model for a tiny robot designed to crawl inside patients’ bodies during keyhole surgery. The tiny device is one of a growing stable of bio-inspired robots being built in the University’s School of Mechanical Engineering. It is designed to move across the internal abdominal wall of a patient, allowing surgeons to see what they are doing on a real-time video feed. The tree frog’s feet provide a solution to the critical problem of getting the device to hold onto wet, slippery tissue when it is…


Robots Fight Hospital Superbugs

05/13/13 — They kill at least 100,000 people every single year, and the collective medical costs associated with treating people who contract them tops $30 billion a year, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics. But hospital “superbugs” have a new contender in the fight for people’s lives that involves…


New Study Finds Little Resistance to Robots Among Personal Caregivers

05/02/13 — As technology continues its steady march onward to the future, the question isn’t always “can” it be done, but rather “should” it be done. And this isn’t always asked from the ethical perspective. We humans often have to come to an understanding of just what we will and will not…


A Hospital Stay Will Soon Come with More Robots, Say Investors
05/16/2013 – Right now, the idea of a hospital stay is shockingly short on robots, according to John Simon, a partner with Boston investment firm Sigma Prime Ventures. Simon likens the idea to “the first inning of a nine-inning exercise,” saying that most patient… –


High Volume of Prostatectomies Proves to be More of a Risk Factor than Robot Involvement
05/08/2013 – Robotic surgeries have the potential to change modern medicine, but it is important to make sure that the procedures are safe before they begin being implemented. Although studies had previously been conducted on the safety and effectiveness of robot… –


Automation for the elderly: Difference Engine: The caring robot

May 14th 2013, 9:13 from Babbage

WITH many of his friends and family getting on in years, Babbage has had perforce the chance to compare how the elderly are cared for professionally in America, Britain and Japan. In all three, the private facilities he has visited have been broadly similar and their costs much the same. But one thing stands out about the places the old and infirm are cared for in Japan. Whether they be nursing homes, geriatric hospitals or hospices, all seem to suffer a dire shortage of nursing staff. Being an inventive people, though, the Japanese have come up with some nifty solutions. The rest of the ageing world would do well to take note. … This comes as no surprise. … robots could certainly reduce the work load … robotic help with hygiene, eating meals …


Why Teaching a Robot to Fetch a Cup of Coffee Matters

IEEE Spectrum-May 9, 2013

Lots of robots rely on 2D maps to get around, and generally, researchers avoid having their mobile robots navigate multiple floors (because they’re bad at it).


DOT Deploys Bridge Inspection Robot

Occupational Health and Safety-May 27, 2013

On the same day last week when the nation’s news media were riveted by the collapse of an I-5 highway bridge in Washington state and what that might tell us




This Robo-Nose Can Smell Better Than You

The human olfactory organ is the result of millions of years of evolution and biological refinement. But, in spite of your face, it can’t tell the difference between an apple and a pear nearly as well as this mechanical sniffer. Read…


IT trends shape future corporate strategies

By Paul Taylor, May 23, 2013

…of anything as a service,” they say. “The creeping automation of knowledge work, which affects the fastest…and interfaces that “understand” humans are moving the automation frontier rapidly toward the world’s more than 200m knowledge…


Exploring automation for cloud service providers

CloudTech (blog)-May 31, 2013

Automation across the board encompassing servers, networks, databases and applications can help cloud service providers take out costs across their data




This 4,000-ton Goliath Crane Has Laser Vision and a Robot Brain

Ships today—even the massive likes of the Emma Maersk and Marco Polo—just aren’t big enough to handle the demands of globalized trade. So to quickly and safely build the next generation of super-sized LNG tankers and container vessels, China’s Dalian shipyard relies on GE’s staggeringly-huge, laser-guided Goliath… Read…


Amazon ethos challenged by unions in Europe

By James Wilson and Barney Jopson, The Economist

The small, central German town of Bad Hersfeld was Amazon’s choice for a pioneering distribution centre more than a decade ago, powering the US retailer’s march into European commerce. But Bad Hersfeld, where Amazon built a further warehouse the size of 17 football pitches, last week became the site of another, unwelcome first for the company – a union-led strike in its biggest European market. … High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. Mr Kaphan says difficult labour relations will probably prompt Amazon to step up the pace of warehouse automation. “But I don’t see them changing their stripes in a fundamental way,” he says. “They are irrevocably positioned as a low-price commodity retailer and that forces them to squeeze all the costs they can out of their operations.”


New reports offer the lowdown on lift truck automation

DC Velocity-May 25, 2013

Our May 2012 article on forklift automation [“Leave the (forklift) driving to us”] noted that a number of equipment vendors have developed lift trucks that can


Warehouse automation specialists transform operations for top UK …

Materials Handling World Magazine-Jun 1, 2013

Warehouse automation specialists Keymas Ltd have confirmed completion of one of their biggest projects yet, helping a leading UK distributor to make massive




Magnum Hunter Takes Delivery of Robotic Drilling Rig

05/09/13 — Magnum Hunter Resources’ subsidiary Alpha Resources has just taken possession of a “robotic drilling rig” that it plans to use to drill Utica Shale wells for the next three years. The robotic rig can, by itself, lift the entire drilling rig six inches off the ground and rotate it and…


UAVs Help Locate Oil Deposits in Norway

05/23/13 — Like an army, science needs the high ground. This is true when it comes to oil exploration and especially so in the rugged landscape of Norway. The Virtual Outcrop Geology (VOG) group at the Norwegian Centre for integrated petroleum research (CIPR) is working to capture this vantage point in a distinctly 21st century way, by using UAVs to seek out oil by helping geologists build 3D models of the terrain. We tend to think of oil exploration as taking place on desert plains or out in the ocean, but finding oil deposits depends on having a comprehensive understanding of local…


Power utilities claim ‘daily’ and ‘constant’ cyberattacks, says report

News – May 21, 2013, 8:14 PM | By Dara Kerr

A report out of Congress outlines the increased hacks on power grid computer systems, noting that one utility faces 10,000 attempted cyberattacks per month.


Bisol’s upgraded automated manufacturing facility at full capacity

Solar Power Portal-May 29, 2013

The company said it invested around €2 million to further automation of its module manufacturing operations that would ensure 100% traceability from the input




It’s time to talk about the burgeoning robot middle class | MIT Technology Review

May 14, 2013 by Hallie Siegel

The elephant in the room is how robotics will play out for human employment in the long term. New robots will take on advanced manufacturing, tutoring, scheduling, and customer relations. They operate equipment, manage construction, operate backhoes, and yes, even drive tomorrow’s cars. It is time for not just economists but roboticists, like me, to ask, “How will robotic advances transform society in potentially dystopian ways?” My concern is that without serious discourse and explicit policy changes, the current path will lead to an ever more polarized economic world, with robotic technologies replacing the middle class and further distancing our society from authentic opportunity and economic justice. – Illah Nourbakhsh


Welcome, Robot Overlords. Please don’t fire us? | Mother Jones

May 13, 2013 by Hallie Siegel

Smart machines probably won’t kill us all—but they’ll definitely take our jobs, and sooner than you think.


A brief history of awesome robots | Mother Jones

May 13, 2013 by Hallie Siegel

From futuristic cities to a 1980s Chinese restaurant, a peek back at the real and fictional robot icons of the last century.


Lakewood slowly moving toward recycling automation

Plain Dealer-May 10, 2013

LAKEWOOD–Residents in some parts of the city could see automated recycling carts rolled out by September as a $1.5 million program gets under way.


Solutions needed to automation and race to the bottom

Independent Online-May 23, 2013

In recent columns I have mentioned the frightening statistic from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) that, on a global level, more than 120 million men and women are now without work – and will probably never work again.


Boeing unions say they’re not worried about robot painters (Video)

Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle)-May 31, 2013

Boeing is using robots to paint 777 wings as the company moves to increase the automation of airplane production. The twin painting machines shown here


Supply chain automation supports cost reduction, quality improvement

TechTarget-by Ed Burns-May 23, 2013

Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle focused on automation in an effort to become more efficient. Milrose Mercado, Virginia Mason’s administrative director




Intuitive Surgical Beats Claims of Negligent Training Practices

05/30/13 — Intuitive Surgical’s stock shot up 5 percent last Friday after a Washington State jury found that the company did not fail to properly train a doctor who used its robotic surgery system, handing the company a victory in the first of more than two dozen similar lawsuits to go to trial. Jurors deliberated for a day and a half before voting 10-2 that Intuitive Surgical was not liable in a $8 million lawsuit brought by the estate of Fred Taylor, lawyers for the parties said. Taylor was 67 years old when he underwent prostate surgery involving a da Vinci surgical system,…


Roadmap for Self-Driving Cars: Five Highlights

WSJ, 05/30/13

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Thursday came out with a road map for navigating the future of self…




Rodney Brooks, CTO, Chairman and Founder of Rethink Robotics, Guest Speaker at Eunited Robotics Members Assembly

EUnited Robotics was pleased to have Rodney Brooks, CTO, chairman and founder of the U.S. company “Rethink Robotics” as the guest speaker of its members assembly which took place on 7 May 2013 in Karlsruhe, Germany. Rodney Brooks who is the creator of “Baxter”, sparked a lively debate among the participants concerning the future of industrial robots.  “Baxter” is a new dual-arm robot assistant that is redefining the way robots can be used in manufacturing environments.  It was introduced in 2012 and is available on the market as of January 2013.  It is designed to be cost-efficient, flexible, adaptable and easy-to-use to be attractive for SMEs in the United States hence keeping jobs and manufacturing from migrating abroad.  The robot is not yet sold in Europe, but has received an impressive reception in the US market.  Rodney Brooks, a Professor at MIT, was also the co-founder of iRobot in 1990 and the creator of Roomba, the widely popular vacuum bot.


New Robot Safety Standard

Posted: 05/29/2013 Developed by Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the ANSI/RIA R15.06-2012 standard has been updated for the first time since 1999 and … Click to read more.


Joint CRIA-IFR CEO Round Table at CIROS Show in Shanghai on 1st July

Topic: “The Future of Robotics in China”

The CRIA-IFR CEO Round Table is organized in co-operation with the Chinese Machinery Industry Federation (CMIF) and the Chinese Robot Industry Alliance (CRIA) who are sponsoring the event.  Topic of discussion will be: “The Future of Robotics in China”!


Why the Robot Pet Population May Explode with Romo

Peter B. Counter – 05/31/2013

We all have robot brains in our pockets. I know it sounds creepy, but it;s a fact that might actually bring robots in to your home in the cutest way possible. Romotive, a robotics company that in an April CNN interview called this decade the perfect time for robots, has put its money where its mouth…


Is the commercialization of UASs passing the U.S. by?

Posted 05/20/13 at 06:24 AM

… Forget the debate about the military use of drones (but if you must know, here’s a comprehensive FAQ and a United Nations Report on the issue).
… There’s money to be made using those very same unmanned aerial vehicles and systems for commercial purposes. And money is being made by UAS makers and the ancillary businesses that support them in Europe and Australia—but not in the U.S. which will have to play catch-up beginning in late 2015 when the FAA issues rules governing UAS flight in civilian airspace.
… Agriculture, forestry, mining, infrastructure and general surveying, topographical modeling and first responders are just some of the groups that will all benefit from the use of UAS.




Freaky Light-Controlled Gels Could Be the Real Future of Robotics

There’s a branch of robotics research that doesn’t necessarily believe that future automatons have to be filled with pistons, gears, and motors. Working to closely emulate Mother Nature’s more squishy creations, these robots would be made entirely from soft materials, like UC Berkeley’s new hydrogel that reacts and… Read…


Disney Teaches Its Animatronics Not to Be Classless Brutes

In an effort to make how robots move and interact with humans feel less awkward and uncomfortable, Disney Research, working with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, are developing a more natural approach to the problem by thoroughly studying how humans interact. Read…


Printable Self-Assembling Bots Will One Day Be Our Affordable Minions

There seem to be two major camps when it comes to robotic research these days: those working to create the most capable and human-like robots with no concern over cost, and those looking to build useful robots but on the cheap. And the researchers at Harvard and MIT behind this printable inchworm, obviously fall into… Read…


We’ve Figured Out How To Make Robot Birds Fly, Up Next: Humans?

Mankind is decades away from taking to the skies in an Iron Man-like suit, but now that researchers at the University of Maryland have cracked the secret to building robot birds that can dive and swoop like the real thing, maybe those crazy human wing designs of yesteryear are worth trying again? Read…


Robotic Insect Eyes Destined for Next-Gen Micro Drones

By Evan Ackerman | Posted 20 May 2013

Just a few weeks ago, IEEE Spectrum wrote about an artificial compound insect eye that was developed by a group of researchers based in the United States. Not to be outdone, a group from EPFL in Switzerland has announced their own artificial compound insect eye, and we got a hands-on a few weeks ago in Lausanne.


Robots Fight Hospital Superbugs

05/13/13 — They kill at least 100,000 people every single year, and the collective medical costs associated with treating people who contract them tops $30 billion a year, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics. But hospital “superbugs” have a new contender in the fight for people’s lives that involves…


Robots Enabling Paraplegics to Lead More Normal Lives
05/09/2013 – If you have a disability, no matter if it’s physical or mental, there are tasks that many of us may take for granted on a daily basis that can be extremely hard to complete for people who fall into this category. Looking at a specific example of some…


Tibion Bionic Leg Wins IERA Award

The Robot Report, Posted 05/25/13 at 01:19 AM

… The Tibion Bionic Leg won the 2013 IERA (Invention and Entrepreneurship Award in Robotics and Automation) Prize at the recent ICRA Conference in Karlsruhe, Germany.
… The device is not a prosthesis (artificial limb), or a device a patient wears indefinitely. It is a robotic aid worn during therapy sessions over weeks or months, until the patient recovers their gait so they can walk without it.


April 2013

4 May


Automation is the way forward’

The New Indian Express-Apr 28, 2013

While addressing the gathering Dr R S Shivakumara Aradhya said, “Automation is a tool which should be extensively adopted in the industry. Quality of goods


Colombia Leads Latin America in Automation, Experts Say

Fox News Latino-Apr 12, 2013

Carlos Hugo Pedreros, director in Colombia of the International Society of Automation, one of the organizers of this specialized trade show, said Thursday that


Northeast China to build robot industrial base – Nanowerk

Nanowerk LLC-May 2, 2013

(Nanowerk News) A robot industrial base with an estimated annual output of 50 billion yuan (8billion U.S. dollars) will be established in northeast China’s




Autonomous military robots should be banned, group says (video)

Apr 26, 2013, 5:47 AM | By Luke Westaway

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots tells CNET why lethal machines must remain under human control, for humanity’s sake.


DARPA robot hand picks up keys, 50-pound weights

May 01, 2013, 2:34 PM | By Tim Hornyak

The robotic hand is durable enough to survive being hit with a baseball bat and, at $3,000 apiece, is relatively cheap.


For the First Time, Brits Launch Drone Strike From Home

By Robert Beckhusen, 05.02.13

There was a time when all the world’s military drone strikes were directed from a small base in Nevada. No more. In a first, the United Kingdom has carried out a strike in Afghanistan by pilots controlling the drone from within Britain. The nature of the strike is unclear. The Ministry of Defence said it “does not discuss details of specific missions for operational security reasons,” according to a statement obtained by Flight, which reported the strike was carried out Tuesday by an armed Royal Air Force MQ-9 Reaper — most likely launched from Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan. The ministry merely confirmed that one of its Reaper drones, controlled by pilots from the Royal Air Force’s 13 Squadron at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire fired a weapon “supporting U.K. forces on the ground in Afghanistan.”


Welcome to the Age of Big Drone Data

By Spencer Ackerman, 04.25.13

Lt. Gen. Larry D. James has about all the drone designs he needs. James is the Air Force’s deputy chief for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, giving him the flying service’s drone portfolio. During a rare public talk yesterday in Washington, James let on that “sustainment” of the drone fleet is his next big task. That means focusing less on designing new robots, as the Air Force’s new budget indicates, and more on the human problem of managing the absolutely enormous amount of data that its Predators, Reapers, Global Hawks and Sentinels generate. “The future is going to be taking all sources of information and developing knowledge and intelligence from that,” James said. He’s working on some software fixes for that, as well as some data-storage farms. Welcome to the age of Big Drone Data.


DARPA Reveals Shark Sub-Hunting Robot

Posted 5 Apr 2013

DARPA issued a news release today with some photos of the Phase II prototypes for the SHARK (Submarine Hold At RisK) UUV ( (unmanned underwater vehicle). The robot is designed for Distributed Agile Submarine Hunting (DASH), which is DOD acronym-speak for a distributed active sonar system which can track hard to detect silent submarines. The SHARK is built from commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) parts to help reduce the cost. SHARK works with another platform known as TRAPS (Transformational Reliable Acoustic Path System), which is a passive sonar detector platform that will be stationed at a fixed location. When a submarine triggers the TRAPS system, a SHARK is dispatched to locate and track the submarine. From the news release: “The goal is not only to show we can address the most challenging problem in ASW [anti-submarine warfare], but that we can do so with systems that are scalable and affordable,” said Andy Coon, DARPA program manager. “A single deep sea node provides a field of view with significant coverage allowing for a limited number of nodes to scale to large areas. Within the trade space of deep ocean sonar, we need to get creative to achieve affordable hardware and operations. We purposely have avoided increasing the size and complexity of arrays to achieve our aims. This is a gamble, but we believe the potential payoff will be high.”


Northrop Grumman Launches CUTLASS, Next Generation Unmanned Ground Vehicle

04/23/13 — LONDON, April 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has launched CUTLASS, its latest generation unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), expanding its range of industry-leading capabilities in unmanned systems for the remote handling and surveillance of hazardous threats. CUTLASS has been designed, developed and manufactured by Northrop Grumman in the U.K., and includes significant advances in technology and performance and a range of features that provides state-of-the-art capabilities for national security and resilience applications. “Our CUTLASS vehicle is setting new standards in the UGV market and significantly enhancing the ability of users to handle hazardous threats safely. It is more dexterous, cost effective and, as a…




FANUC Aims to Close America’s Skills Gap

05/02/13 — FANUC Robotics America Inc. unveiled details Tuesday of a new training program it will offer in partnership with the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing at its Charleston location. FANUC showcased industrial robots that manufacturers use, which workers across West Virginia and the region will be trained to…




UAVs for Agricultural Weed Control

Posted 3 Apr 2013

Precision Agriculture is a hot topic these days as researchers look for ways to reduce the massive amounts of chemicals that are currently sprayed on food crops. A new research paper describes one of the ways robots may help in Early Season Site-Specific Weed Management (ESSWM). In the study, a UAV equipped with a multispectral camera collected images of sunflower field infested with naturally occurring weeds. Similar imaging techniques using traditional satellite and aerial methods to adjust herbicide distribution have yielded up to 50% reduction in the total amounts of herbicides used. The researchers hope to replicate this process using the less expensive flying robot. From the paper: Weeds are distributed in patches within crops and this spatial structure allows mapping infested-uninfested areas and herbicide treatments can be developed according to weed presence. The main objectives of this research were to deploy an UAV equipped with either, RBG or multispectral cameras, and to analyze the technical specifications and configuration of the UAV to generate images at different altitudes with the high spectral resolution required for the detection and location of weed seedlings in a sunflower field for further applications of ESSWM. Due to its flexibility and low flight altitude, the UAV showed ability to take ultra-high spatial resolution imagery and to operate on demand according to the flight mission planned.

Automation – Replacing muscle power

Horticulture Week-4 hours ago

Automation and robotics are revolutionising horticultural production. Investment in automation and robotics, while initially expensive, is ultimately more

Chinese Restaurant Owner Says Robot Noodle Maker Doing “A

Singularity Hub-by Peter Murray-Apr 19, 2013

The repetitive action that goes into preparing certain foods such as noodles makes automation an obvious choice. In Japan robots are already being used to


Robot Nurses? Healthcare Providers Welcome Robotic Assistance

Medical Daily-Apr 29, 2013

A 2012 movie, Robot & Frank, explored the developing relationship between an elderly thief and a gift from his son: a robot programmed to attend to his health

9 percent would have sex with a robot

Apr 10, 2013, 3:33 PM | By Chris Matyszczyk

Robots are coming. The question is what do people want to do with them? Well, almost 1 in 10 humans would go all the way with them. So says a survey.


Germ-fighting robot cleans hospital rooms – USA Today

USA TODAY-May 2, 2013

Hospitals are full of germs. A new robot can kill almost all of them. RD-D2 uses UV light to kill 99% of organisms lurking around rooms at Cone Health in

‘Pop idol’ robot converses with customers at Osaka store

The Japan Times-May 1, 2013

OSAKA – A robot modeled after a female pop idol and equipped with the ability to recognize words and converse returned Wednesday to a department store in



Man invents ingenious robot to steal soda from vending machines

msnNOW-Apr 29, 2013

Watch him insert a robot into the vending machine at 1:19, and see the magic follow. We won’t ruin it for you, but there are LEDs and even a gamepad involved.


Automation through negotiation, say unions

Port Strategy-May 1, 2013

About 160 representatives of 11 maritime unions from ten countries were this week told that future automation in the global port scene would come through


The HR-MP20: Helical’s Wireless Climbing Robot

By Frank Griffin, TMCnet Contributing Writer, April 18, 2013

Eventually, robotics will provide reliable and effective solutions to many of the problems we face that require man-hours and safety concerns for the people usually assigned to performing these tasks. One of these unenviable jobs is maintaining wind turbines that produce alternative energy. Wind turbines can have pole heights of more than 300 feet, with an additional 200 feet for the blades. Maintenance crews use binoculars to inspect the turbines for any visible damage and make the necessary repairs. As the size of the units keeps getting bigger, it is becoming increasingly difficult to make thorough inspections from the ground.


Miners slowly jumping on the automation band wagon

Australian Mining-May 1, 2013

Former US-based military officer Tyler Berens spent a year travelling around the world to talk to, and listen to, miners speak about automation. Views on mine




Robots make the cover of Time Magazine—again!

Posted 04/26/13 at 10:08 AM

… The cover of the April 22 issue of Time Magazine shows robots chiseling out the words “Made in the USA” and the story is “Manufacturing is back—but where are the jobs?


An insider’s warning for the tech industry

Ravi Mattu, April 22, 2013

Ten minutes into our conversation, Jaron Lanier has a problem. In the echoey restaurant where we are meeting, the sound of the one other diner is unnerving this pioneer of the internet world. “This space might not work . . . .” he says. “Sometimes I have trouble talking when it’s this loud.” The second problem is that the model leads businesses to rely too heavily on having the fastest computers, able to analyse data more quickly than anyone else. He says this will lead to two long-term challenges…. Computation deludes managers into thinking that risk can be pushed away from the business on to the shoulders of consumers who are actually unable to bear it when a crisis hits. It will also necessitate increased automation of processes, leading to a loss of meaningful, well-paid jobs. In other words, the business model is eradicating the very high-value consumers on whom it depends for its valuable data.


Youth unemployment: Generation jobless

The Economist, Apr 27th 2013

Around the world almost 300m 15- to 24-year-olds are not working. What has caused this epidemic of joblessness? And what can abate it?… HELDER PEREIRA is a young man with no work and few prospects: a 21-year-old who failed to graduate from high school and lost his job on a building site four months ago. With his savings about to run out, he has come to his local employment centre in the Paris suburb of Sevran to sign on for benefits and to get help finding something to do. He’ll get the cash. Work is another matter. Youth unemployment in Sevran is over 40%. A continent away in Athlone, a gritty Cape Town suburb, Nokhona, a young South African mother of two, lacks a “matric” or high-school qualification, and has been out of work since October 2010, when her contract as a cleaner in a coffee shop expired. She hopes for a job as a maid, and has sought help from DreamWorker, a charity that tries to place young jobseekers in work. A counsellor helps Nokhona brush up her interview skills. But the jobless rate among young black South Africans is probably around 55%. Official figures assembled by the International Labour Organisation say that 75m young people are unemployed, or 6% of all 15- to 24-year-olds. But going by youth inactivity, which includes all those who are neither in work nor education, things look even worse. The OECD, an intergovernmental think-tank, counts 26m young people in the rich world as “NEETS”: not in employment, education or training. A World Bank database compiled from households shows more than 260m young people in developing economies are similarly “inactive”. The Economist calculates that, all told, almost 290m are neither working nor studying: almost a quarter of the planet’s youth (see chart one).


Robots, China and demographics

Izabella Kaminska, April 10, 2013

…China has. That may very well be true, especially for the US, but it’s clear the biggest trend in China is now its own automation advance. The International Federation of Robotics’ latest survey on the impact of industrial robots on employment for example…


End of the US nursery rhyme economy

Christopher Caldwell, April 5, 2013

Even as western economies globalise, it can be a shock to discover how little resemblance the working world bears to the folkloric economy of children’s books and politicians’ rhetoric. These are not economies of butchers, bakers and candlestick-makers. The US has more graphic designers (191,000) than bakers (157,000), according to data released this week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. I was taken aback to discover, during the 2008 presidential campaign, that the country also has more choreographers than metal casters. National politicians, though, almost always campaign as if “the economy” is something found only in factories and on farms. A president with a real interest in the economy would also visit some of the nation’s 202,000 sports coaches or its 80,000 substance-abuse counsellors. The centre of the US economy has moved from shop floor to shopfront, then to shopping online. Many endeavours considered “employment” in the past couple of centuries have proved vulnerable to automation and computerisation. This year’s BLS data show that, since 2007, the US has gained 387,000 managerial positions and lost about 2m clerical ones. Perhaps the occupants of the former were consulted on how to fire the latter. It was once assumed that the skills-biased technological change that decimated factory work would never threaten jobs that required a human touch. How wrong that was. Automatic teller machines replaced bank staff years back.


UK trails in march of the robots

April 21, 2013

…established itself as world-leader in automation, and today has the highest operational…Buxton, chief executive of the British Automation and Robot Association. David Willetts…funding, but the problems holding back automation in the UK are deep rooted, says Mr Buxton. Part… By Andrew Bowman


Big data and hiring: Robot recruiters

The Economist, Apr 6th 2013

THE problem with human-resource managers is that they are human. They have biases; they make mistakes. But with better tools, they can make better hiring decisions, say advocates of “big data”. Software that crunches piles of information can spot things that may not be apparent to the naked eye. In the case of hiring American workers who toil by the hour, number-crunching has uncovered some surprising correlations.




Robo-cars face a new threat: Lawyers

Apr 09, 2013, 10:01 AM | By Declan McCullagh

Robot enthusiasts debate ways to protect self-driving cars and other autonomous machines from the looming existential threat of class action lawsuits.


Robots: Ethical, social and legal issues

by Robots Podcast, April 19, 2013

In this episode, Per talks to Pericle Salvini from Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna about his work with social, ethical and legal issues in robotics. He tells us about the Robolaw project that will provide advice to the European Union when it creates laws concerning robotics. Finally, we discuss how you can contribute to this important work. Link to audio file (33:23)

Canadian ‘space robot‘ banknote puts UK to shame

Wired.co.uk-May 1, 2013

Canada’s new $5 note features an astronaut, a view of Earth from space, and, yes, space robots. The UK’s new £5 note will feature… Sir Winston Churchill.




Hoverfly Founds Aerial Robotics Industry Association

04/11/13 — It’s official: Hoverfly Technologies Inc., which makes flight control systems for drone aircraft equipped with video cameras for military, engineering and inspection applications, has formed the Aerial Robotics Industry Association, the company announced April 4.  The company also plans to create a certification for pilots using the unmanned aircraft for filming. ARIA’s goal…


Online job postings for robotic positions up 10% compared to the same 90-day period in 2012

Posted 05/01/13 at 04:01 PM

… More than 14,000 jobs were advertised online requiring knowledge or use of robotics in the U.S., according to WANTED Analytics™, a source of real-time business intelligence.
… The most commonly advertised job titles requiring use or knowledge of robotics: Maintenance Technician, Controls Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, Manufacturing Engineer, Senior Mechanical Engineer, Physician Urology, Registered Nurse, Electrical Engineer, Software Engineer and Urologist.




Japanese turning to robotic crypts, virtual grave visits

Apr 10, 2013, 10:07 AM | By Tim Hornyak

Some are finding their final resting place in mechanized crypts, while one Buddhist temple has virtual memorials for sale.


KUKA Robot Builds Ikea Furniture Via Kinesthetic Teaching

04/23/13 — Researchers from the Department of Advanced Robotics at the Italian Institute of Technology and the Institute of Robotics and IndustrialInformatics (News – Alert) at the Spanish National Research Council/Polytechnical University of Catalonia have developed a robot capable of learning by imitation, and have demonstrated this capability by teaching it to help build an IKEA table. In a video released by Leonel Rozo and Sylvian Calinon, two users are shown demonstrating an assembly skill requiring different levels of compliance (in this case, building IKEA furniture). Each piece has unique construction characteristics that need to be translated to the robot. Rather than manually programming the robot for each one, the…


NASA Robots Invade Greenland

NASA has unveiled its newest rover being tested from May 3 to June 8. The robot, named GROVER (Greenland Rover and Goddard Remotely Operated Vehicle for Exploration and Research) will deploy ground-penetrating radar to study how snow accumulates on an ice sheet over time.


Robot Used to Locate Three Burial Chambers Lost for Centuries Under Aztec Temple

The Tlaloc II-TC robot has proven its value after it was used to find historic burial chambers hidden under an ancient Aztec temple in Mexico.The robot helped archeologists locate three burial chambers that had been lost for many centuries at Teotihuacan.


17 robotic innovations among 2013 Edison Award winners

by Hallie Siegel, May 1, 2013

Last Thursday in Chicago at a ceremony attended by 400 international business leaders and innovators, the Edison Awards – which honours game-changing new products and services – announced its 2013 winners. While the innovations featured at the event crossed a broad spectrum of industries and applications, seventeen of 130+ award-winners came from the fields of robotics, automation or sensing.


ShanghAI Lectures 2012: Lecture 9 “Ontogenetic development”

by Nathan Labhart, April 25, 2013

In the 9th part of the ShanghAI Lecture series, we look at ontogenetic development as Rolf Pfeifer talks about the path from locomotion to cognition. This is followed by two guest lectures: The first one by Ning Lan (Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China) on cortico-muscular communication in the nervous system, the second by Roland Siegwart (ETH Zurich) on the design and navigation of robots with various moving abilities.

March 2013

4 May


Robots Aren’t the Problem: It’s Us

By Richard Florida, March 25, 2013, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Automation will engender neither utopia nor dystopia. Humans alone are responsible for our society’s economic future. … Everyone has an opinion about technology. Depending on whom you ask, it will either: a) Liberate us from the drudgery of everyday life, rescue us from disease and hardship, and enable the unimagined flourishing of human civilization; or b) Take away our jobs, leave us broke, purposeless, and miserable, and cause civilization as we know it to collapse.


Updated Robotics Roadmap Presented to US Congress

Posted 03/23/13 at 08:25 AM

… The Roadmap’s pdf is a must-read, full of real information, and can be downloaded here.
… Six sectors were reviewed: (1) Manufacturing, (2) Medical Robots, (3) Healthcare Robotics, (4) Service Robots (both professional and domestic), (5) Space and (6) Defense were all discussed.
… Congress was asked to invest in core science challenges stimulating development and solutions across all six sectors – challenges like robust 3D perception, planning and navigation, dexterous manipulation, intuitive HRI, and safe robot behavior.


The Leading Manufacturers of Military Robots at-a-Glance

03/20/13 — This is an overview of leading manufacturers of military robots compiled in March 2013 by the Global Robotics Brain. The Global Robotics Brain is a product that business intelligence consultant, Wolfgang Heller, started to keep track of the robotsphere. Inspired by Google’s PageRank, Heller asked himself: Could he use a similar approach to draw a map of interactions between the different robotics players and identify who is doing the most relevant work? What trends are emerging? In 2005, after a visit to the World Robotics Exhibition in Aichi, Japan, he started to systematically feed his database with anything related to robotics he…


Prepare Yourself: National Robotics Week Is Next Week!

Evan Ackerman  /  Wed, April 03, 2013

Hey! You there! What are your plans for National Robotics Week? It’s an officially nationally recognized event in the United States, which I’m reasonably sure means that if you don’t celebrate it, you get arrested or made fun of or something. To make sure this doesn’t happen, there are a huge number of events all over the country, and you should find one near you to go check out.


Top 5 reasons for self-driving cars

Video Featuring Brian Cooley – Mar 25, 2013, 10:02 AM Length: 3:51

Self-driving cars are coming, here are some good reasons to welcome one in your driveway.


Can You Handle the Manufacturing Resurgence?

Automation World-Mar 26, 2013

Spirits are high in the U.S. manufacturing sector as clear evidence of business resurgence and re-shoring become more tangible across the industry. But some


$21000 robot Nao is newest teacher at Kansas high school

New York Daily News-Mar 31, 2013

Steve Stacey, an instructor at Hutchinson, Kan., High School, watches the new robot Nao go through a pre-programmed dance at the school’s Career and


Brookings Report Praises Robot ‘Teaching Assistants’ Among Other …

EdSurge (blog)-Mar 26, 2013

A recently issued report from the Brookings Institution highlights five edtech “successes” which have “demonstrated the ability to improve efficiency and


Robot-Delivered Speech and Physical Therapy a Success

Science Daily (press release)-Mar 20, 2013

Mar. 20, 2013 — In one of the earliest experiments using a humanoid robot to deliver speech and physical therapy to a stroke patient, researchers at the


QBotix robot juices solar yield at Dublin jail

San Francisco Business Times (blog)-by Lindsay Riddell-Mar 19, 2013

QBotix, which makes robots that adjust solar panels to absorb maximum sunlight, unveiled today its first commercial solar installation at the Alameda County




Active military robots around the world

by Ioannis K. Erripis, March 15, 2013

This is a brief presentation of some of the most widely used robots (or remotely controlled, semi-autonomous systems) from militaries around the world. There are numerous other projects that are currently under development and others that are either abandoned or replaced but here only systems that are currently under use are mentioned.


How will robots shape the future of warfare?

by RBI Editors , March 15, 2013

Updated March 17, 2013 | This month we’ve asked our experts to weigh in on the future of robotics in warfare, and the broadness of this topic has prompted some of our panelists to push back and request that the question be rephrased in narrower terms. Certainly there are many sides to this question, and we plan to tease them out in future RBIs. However, we think it’s important to begin with broad strokes, and so we leave it to our panelists to weigh in, each from their own perspective.


Navy robot jellyfish is as big as a person

Apr 02, 2013, 11:45 AM | By Amanda Kooser

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, the Navy and Virginia Tech unveil a robotic jellyfish that looks like it could swallow a seal.


Small drone spotted dangerously close to jet over NYC

Mar 05, 2013, 3:07 PM | By Eric Mack

Jet pilot reports the small, unmanned craft came within 200 feet as the Alitalia flight made its approach into JFK airport.


CMU Snake Robots Can Now Strangle Things on Contact

Evan Ackerman  /  Thu, March 21, 2013

See this little guy smirking at you? Want to know how he got up there? A word of advice: as of right now, do not stand anywhere near a snake robot while looking like a tree, because these things will now fly right at you and go for your throat.


One of These ‘Bots Will Be the Navy’s Next Killer Drone

David Axe, 03.27.13

The Navy’s future robotic air wing is taking shape. On Tuesday, the sailing branch announced that it will pay four companies to hand over the technical specs for their various designs for the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike system (UCLASS), a stealthy, jet-powered killer drone meant to operate off an aircraft carrier and fly alongside the latest manned fighters. The move clears the way for the Navy to pick one of the four designs to form the backbone of one of the most ambitious drone efforts ever.


Video: Robo-Chopper Dives and Grabs Objects Like a Bird of Prey

Robert Beckhusen, 03.19.13

Swooping down like a mechanized bird of prey comes the latest nightmare fuel from the robotics researchers at the University of Pennsylvania: a motorized claw attached to a drone that can grab objects and carry them away. In a recent video, the university’s GRASP team — for General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception — show an AscTec Hummingbird quadrotor drone diving onto a cylinder and snatching it with a gripper claw before flying away. Taking a cue from how eagles work, the researchers believe that diving drones can make for drones that weigh less and use less power, using acceleration velocity gained from diving to quickly regain altitude. It may even be possible to build drones that perch. The drone is certainly lightweight enough: the quadrotor and the gripper-claw combined weigh less than a pound and a half.


Russian Engineers Focused on Robots for Combat Surveillance

03/27/13 — Russian engineers, based at the Central Research Institute of Robotics and Technical Cybernetics (RTC) in St. Petersburg, are developing an integrated control system for a group of combat robots.  It includes various robotic platforms for transportation and surveillance purposes — for example, carrying weapons or monitoring levels of contamination. According to a leading expert at the RTC, this is not just “a dumb, radio-controlled robot able to carry out behavioral algorithms independently.” But it is not real artificial intelligence (AI), either. Rather, it is an algorithm that helps the operator to control the device, the expert emphasizes. Particular attention is…


The future of drones in America: Law enforcement and privacy considerations

by CIS Blog , March 25, 2013

Last week the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary heard from witnesses Benjamin Miller, Amie Stepanovich, Michael Tosocano and Prof. Ryan Calo on “The Future of Drones in America: Law Enforcement and Privacy Considerations.”




Foxconn Foxbot Update – The Robot Report

Posted 03/07/13 at 01:27 PM

… Ilian Bonev, a robotics prof at the ÉTS in Quebec, blogged “The truth about Foxconns Foxbot industrial robots,” and included a 2008 Foxbot brochure which shows the specs for their entire robotics product line. Also included is a video showing a row of Foxbots handling, grinding and sanding what appears to be iPad back covers. … Click to see the Foxbot brochure. … Prof. Bonev thinks that with their present line-up of Foxbots, Foxconn won’t be able to meet Chairman Gou’s timetable to deploy 1 million robots by 2015 and in fact were only able to produce and install 15-30,000 Foxbots in 2012. … The WSJ also reported on Foxconn’s lack of robot deployment progress in an article entitled: “Hon Hai Hits Obstacles in Push to Use Robots”. … But, according to Liu Kun, a spokesman for Foxconn, “We have canceled hiring entry level workers, a decision that is partly associated with our efforts in production automation.” This is what Foxconn Chairman Gou said would happen when he began the massive robot deployment program in Foxconn factories.


Emerging Economies & Globalization Drive Growth of Automation Expenditures in the Automotive Industry

ARC Advisory Group-Mar 29, 2013

A recent global market research study from ARC Advisory Group finds automation expenditures for manufacturing processes in the automotive industry had


Freed From Its Cage, the Gentler Robot

New York Times-Mar 30, 2013

FACTORY robots are usually caged off from humans on the assembly line lest the machines’ powerful steel arms deliver an accidental, bone-crunching right


Danish Robot Arms Reach Across North America

03/27/13 — Since Universal Robots launched in North America half a year ago, the user-friendly, lightweight robot arms from Denmark have been met with overwhelming interest from both distributors and end customers. The Universal Robots are a result of many years of intensive research in robotics. They can easily be implemented in all sorts and sizes of industry; from a small CNC lathe production to large automobile assembly lines. The Danish company has located their U.S. headquarters in New York and is busy creating a rapidly expanding distributor network. National sales manager, Ed Mullen, says that potential distributors have basically been lining…


Gadget makers drive US manufacture return

March 27, 2013

Silicon Valley is rediscovering silicon. Although electronics pioneers such as Hewlett-Packard and Fairchild Semiconductor gave the region of Northern California around San Jose its nickname, their influence has waned since the 1990s thanks to the rise of the internet and online start-ups such as Facebook and Google. Now, thanks partly to the renewed influence of Apple and its famously integrated hardware and software, physical gadgets are making a comeback. Google is manufacturing Glass, its ambitious attempt to create a new kind of wearable computer, not in China but in Santa Clara, just minutes from its Mountain View headquarters. … The costly part, however, remains mass production of the finished device. For now, start-ups and veterans alike are still almost entirely reliant on Asian manufacturers to produce their products at scale, meaning regular flights to Shenzhen and other industrial centres. Yet Foxconn, one of the largest such suppliers, now makes Google Glass in California, sources say, and is considering scaling up in the US. In response to comments made last year by Tim Cook, Apple chief executive, that it would expand Mac manufacturing in the US, Foxconn said it is “exploring the opportunity to expand its existing manufacturing operations in the US” in response to customer demand, but has not yet announced the acquisition or construction of factories there. Taipei-based Foxconn has operated in the US for about a decade, with many of its factories there used for final assembly or customisation of PCs and servers for groups such as Hewlett-Packard. Its largest US facilities are in Texas, notably Houston, with other factories in Indiana and California. Like similar factories it has in eastern Europe, these mostly produce high-value products and rely more on automation than its Chinese facilities, according to former and current employees. For now, the scale of Foxconn’s factories outside China remains minuscule compared with those on the mainland, where it employs more than 1m workers.


Manufacturing towns: The last of the metal-bashers: In odd corners of the country British industry clings on

Mar 30th 2013 | The Economist

TO WALK into Devonshire Dock Hall, in Barrow-in-Furness, a town of 70,000 in England’s north-west, is to walk into the heart of a community. Some 260 metres long, this cathedral of industry houses three part-built grey and black nuclear submarines. Workers in blue overalls and hard hats are busy assembling the vast machines. Among them are “fourth- or even fifth-generation shipbuilders”, says Alan Dunn, the operations director at the plant. “When people here go to the pub, they talk about submarines. The yard dominates everything we do.” In most parts of Britain, manufacturing has all but disappeared in the past half-century. In 1997 about 4.4m people worked making things; now, just 2.8m do. North of Birmingham the urban landscape is characterised by redundant factories and the glitzy regeneration schemes intended to replace them. And yet in a few places, such as Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, or Pendle in Lancashire by the Yorkshire Dales, manufacturing and engineering continue to thrive. If there ever is a new “march of the makers”, as George Osborne, the chancellor of the exchequer, hopes, these places will be where they head for. …Without manufacturing, these places might well have little work at all. Barrow-in-Furness and Pendle in particular are too far from big cities to support the service-sector businesses that Britain does so well. None of the three has a university to attract and retain high-flying professionals. Small-town life does not appeal to many young people—even though in Pendle newly-qualified technicians can buy pretty Victorian terraced houses at the age of 21 and spend their weekends hiking and cycling in the mountains. Secure jobs support local pubs and shops, and entrepreneurs live in the homes of the old mill-owners. More could be done to boost growth. As he shows off his machines, Ian Weatherill, the co-owner of Hope Technology, a bicycle-parts firm in Pendle, says that he has repeatedly been told to transfer production overseas to cut costs (he has ignored this advice). Barrow-in-Furness will be lost if demand for submarines ever dries up—and yet it lacks basic infrastructure improvements that might attract new businesses. Of the three, Corby’s jobs are probably the most sustainable, but they are also the worst paid and least enjoyable, and increasingly done by immigrants. It may be too much to hope for a manufacturing renaissance. In Mr Weatherill’s converted old mill, where once hundreds of workers would have sat at their looms, tens of robot lathes now hum under the watchful eyes of barely a dozen supervisors. Most manufacturing has become too mechanised and competitive to employ large numbers of people. But in the past two decades valuable skills were lost through heedlessness: the government let apprenticeship programmes fade into nothingness while companies often pursued short-term profits at the expense of long-term capability. If a little of the damage could be undone, it would at least secure the future of the last industrialised corners of Britain.



Coriolis: millions wasted on badly planned automation

FoodProductionDaily.com-by Rod Addy-Mar 7, 2013

While full automation made sense for the large scale production of standardised products, it was too often seen as the panacea for all food production, rather


Japan’s Robot Renaissance (Fukushima’s Silver Lining)

All of Japan took a few moments Monday to pay respect to the losses suffered in the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster of March 11, 2011. As human beings we move forward, and we work to find the good even in terrible situations. In that spirit, this piece is not a memorial, but hopefully a brief insight into how a terrible natural disaster has invigorated Japan’s robotics industry and brought to light a problem affecting all industrialized societies. In the first hours and days, when it became clear that a severe nuclear disaster was not only possible at Fukushima, but probably inevitable, response teams and all related oversight bodies desperately needed to know just how bad things were. With lethal levels of radiation building and collecting in the plant, it obviously had to be robots, and surely they’d be sent in right away. As soon as possible, right? Well, about a week after the initial disaster, Boston, Massachusetts-based iRobot sent four robots and a team of six specialists to assist with orientation and training at Fukushima. iRobot is well-known for the Roomba cleaning robot, but they also make the battle-tested PackBot and Warrior, the first robots to enter and inspect the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster site… John Payne‘s insight: “Another way in which Japanese robotics is benefitting from the aftermath of the disaster is that some of the land in the radioactive exclusion zone has been made available for the development of agricultural robots.”




Solar panel robot doesn’t need water to clean

Apr 02, 2013, 6:30 AM | By Tim Hornyak

Cleaning solar panels is tough work, but Miraikikai’s duster bot apparently can get to all the nooks and crannies with its swiveling brush.


Hitachi’s Ropits mobility robot drives itself

Mar 12, 2013, 6:59 PM | By Leslie Katz

The Robot for Personal Intelligent Transport System is a single-person autonomous vehicle meant to travel on sidewalks. Just punch in your destination and it takes you there.


Aurora library offers new automation system

Aurora Beacon News-Mar 22, 2013

AURORA — On April 11, Aurora Public Library will go live with Polaris, its new library automation system. To train staff on the new system, all library locations


Mass. cautions hospitals about robotic surgery

Bostonglobe-Mar 26, 2013

Reports of complications from robot-assisted surgery are rising, according to Massachusetts health officials who sent hospitals an “advisory” letter last week


Manufacturer faces lawsuits after surgery robot arm breaks off in

Raw Story-Mar 27, 2013

Surgeons in Aalst, Belgium were startled when part of the robot arm of a da Vinci surgery robot broke off inside a patient who was undergoing prostate surgery in


Robot Surgery Isn’t Most Cost-Efficient Hysterectomy

Bloomberg-Mar 14, 2013

Robotic surgery for hysterectomies doesn’t improve outcomes and shouldn’t be the first choice for most women, a doctors’ group said, sending Intuitive Surgical


Robotics Revolutionizes Hair Restoration Procedures

Robotics technologies have revolutionized several industry segments including healthcare. Robots-assisted surgeries are being adopted in all fields of medicines. Thanks to the support of robots, surgeons are relieved from performing several complex and painstaking procedures during surgery. The precision with which robots handle the procedure makes robotics popular in several healthcare applications. Hair restoration is one of the emerging areas of surgeries where robotics is being adopted on a vast scale. Thanks to the complexity associated with the hair restoration procedures, surgeons are turning to robots. The advent of robotics in hair restoration has increased the popularity of advanced hair transplant procedures like Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) that yield more natural results to patients suffering from alopecia.


See Hope College’s robot snowplow and other novelties engineered

Mlive Kalamazoo-Mar 18, 2013

HOLLAND, MI — A robot snowplow has been rolling around Hope College campus this past winter, clearing off the snow. The robot doesn’t belong to campus


Human Pilots Are a Problem, and Robot Controlled Planes May Be

The Atlantic Wire-Mar 22, 2013

In Philadelphia, a man impersonating a pilot made it into a US Airways cockpit. The era of robot pilots can’t get here fast enough. After a day of pilot-related news


Barista Bot Paints Your Portrait On Your Latte

March 12, 2013 – Starbucks baristas will write your name on the side of your coffee cup, but that’s no where near the level of personalization the Barista Bot is capable of.


Robotic Ocean Cleanup Arrays

Posted 25 Mar 2013 at 20:35 UTC by steve

Boyan Slat has launched the Ocean Cleanup Foundation to develop safe methods of cleaning the billions of tons of plastic that humans have dumped into the world’s oceans, where they are poisoning the food chain. His solution involves arrays of booms that would direct small plastic particles into robotic collection platforms. The arrays would be anchored along the radius of the ocean gyres where the massive plastic garbage patches form. The arrays are powered by ocean currents and the booms allow sea life to safely avoiding being trapped. Even better, researchers estimate the system could collect as much 7.2 billion kg of plastic (around a third of what’s out there) in a form that could be profitably recycled.



Keep Calm And Rape A Lot” T-Shirts Show Automation Growing

Singularity Hub-by David Hill-Mar 20, 2013

The automation revolution is well underway around the world and with it, some rather public and unfortunate growing pains. While some fear the surge in drones


Data Scientist Scarcity: Automation Is the Answer

Smart Data Collective-Mar 17, 2013

Just as tractors symbolized the dawn of a revolution in farming and signaled that the old way of farm life was coming to an end, automated data analysis will


Cloud Robotics Engine Goes Live with Rapyuta Service

Evan Ackerman  /  Tue, March 12, 2013

The team behind RoboEarth yesterday announced the launch of Rapyuta, a cloud computing platform for robots. Rapyuta is designed to be a combination of a remote processor powerhouse and a giant database storing all robotic knowledge: robots will be able to offload complex tasks to Rapyuta, and they’ll also be able to ask Rapyuta for help if they get stuck trying to recognize an object or complete a task (above, a simplified overview of the Rapyuta framework). Here’s how it’ll eventually all come together…




Grizzly robot EV shrugs off difficult terrain, laughs at heavy loads

Engadget-by Terrence O’Brien-Mar 29, 2013

Like its namesake, Clearpath Robotic’s Grizzly is most comfortable in the wild. Sure, this unmanned ATV is perfectly capable of handling paved streets. But the




How Automation Could Have Saved Fukushima, Part 1

Sustainable Plant-Mar 27, 2013

In previous articles of this series, I described how automation could have prevented the Three-Mile Island and Chernobyl accidents. Now I will do the same for


Emerson wins contract to upgrade automation on Statoil platform in …

Automation World-Mar 19, 2013

Statoil has awarded Emerson Process Management, a business of Emerson, a $33 million contract to upgrade safety and automation systems on the Visund oil


From copper mines to handbags

March 15, 2013 Digitisation and change go hand-in-hand. Take mining. Traditionally characterized by physical labour, it is now an industry that focuses relentlessly on the pursuit of knowledge and new technology. Codelco is the largest copper producer in the world. Owned by the Chilean State, and employing 18,000 people, Codelco faced a number of transformation challenges at the turn of the century, from driving new productivity in an intensely competitive market to meeting tough sustainability targets. An important goal of this new future was automation, moving from a physical-intensive model to a knowledge – and technology-intensive one. For Codelco it was a necessary shift, but how could it realise the benefits of digitisation while also safeguarding the well-being of its employees? Codelco took a hard strategic look at what the future of mining might be. To turn that vision into reality, the company created Codelco Digital. The new business unit had both operational and strategic objectives: to drive initiatives in mining-automation and also to support the company in developing, evolving and communicating a digital vision. For Codelco, digital maturity represented a shift from a reliance on manual labour towards a knowledge-based model. This was about much more than technology. It involved a new culture, employee engagement, and new skills. To overcome internal resistance, the organisation used innovation awards to encourage both ideas and engagement. Marco Antonio Orellana Silva , Codelco’s chief information officer, explains: “our company is very conservative, so changing the culture is a key challenge. We created internal innovation awards to promote new ideas and encourage our workers to innovate.” Today, four mines in Chile are operated automatically: trucks drive themselves, operations are controlled remotely, and information is shared in real-time. And the vision for the future is equally transformative: an intelligent mining model relying on integrated information networks and fully-automated processes. Digital transformation is harder than it looks, but more rewarding than many chief executives might expect. A joint report by the MIT Center for Digital Business and Capgemini Consulting shows that those companies who are using technology to deliver a fundamental transformation of their business are in the minority, but these so-called “Digerati” are on average much more profitable, outperforming their peers by 26 per cent.




What If Automation Overwhelms The Need For Employees?

Forbes-Mar 25, 2013

The theory that automation is bad for workers overall is almost always faulty. Sure, specific groups of workers can take it in the shorts when an improvement in a


Commentary: Labor shortages, rising wages in China push notebook component firms toward automation

Digitimes-Mar 31, 2013

However, some other firms have noted that automation is difficult to achieve because The firm has been aggressive in increasing the percentage of automated


Barclays CEO Said to See 28% Staff Drop in Decade on Automation

Bloomberg-Mar 7, 2013

Barclays today named Shaygan Kheradpir as its chief operations and technology officer, responsible for helping the lender automate more systems to cut costs.


The Robot Reality: Service Jobs Are Next to Go

CNBC.com-Mar 26, 2013

President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sample matza bread offered to them by small robots during a tour of a technology


Could This Robot Save Your Job?

NPR (blog)-Mar 9, 2013

The man who invented Roomba, the robotic vacuum, is back — this time, with Baxter. Rodney Brooks, roboticist and entrepreneur, brought Baxter, his latest


As Wages Rise, Firms Consider Replacing Workers With Devices


Some small-business owners say they now see a possible solution to the problem of rising wages: replacing workers with new…


The Robot Will See You Now

03/27/13 — IBM’s Watson—the same machine that beat Ken Jennings at Jeopardy—is now churning through case histories at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, learning to make diagnoses and treatment recommendations. This is one in a series of developments suggesting that technology may be about to disrupt health care in the same way it has disrupted so many other industries. Are doctors necessary? Just how far might the automation of medicine go? Information technology that helps doctors and patients make decisions has been around for a long time. Crude online tools like WebMD get millions of visitors a day. But Watson is a different beast. According to…


Robotic Tour Guides Catch on in Australia

03/21/13 — They look like giant chess pieces – one black pawn, another white, slowly making their way around the museum with dozens of online visitors. The CSIRO-built robots come packed with high definition technology, visiting a selection of exhibits. The tours are accessed by schools and libraries around Australia that are already connected to the National Broadband Network. Online visitors select what they want to see, from which the robot guides create a tour for many online users at once. The animatronic guides give their guests extra information, which can be accessed by clicking a mouse over items in the live vision. Developer Ian Opperman…


Labour markets: Real robot talk

The Economist, Mar 1st 2013, 20:22 by R.A. | WASHINGTON

HAVING discussed some possible refuges for humans looking to keep working in a robot-dominated world, let’s get to some real talk. It is certainly possible that technological progress will soon switch to augmenting the productivity and wages of less-skilled workers. But it’s also possible, and maybe more probable, that it will not. And while there are many different kinds of “skill” out there, it seems reasonable to argue that workers in the top quartile or top half for educational attainment are also likely to be in the top half for other, non-cognitive skills that might be favoured in the future. So what might happen to workers in the bottom half of the skill spectrum?




Man Shoots Robot, Gets Charged with Vandalism

Evan Ackerman  /  Wed, March 06, 2013

The robotic victim was an Avatar from Robotex Robots aren’t people. This is why we get them to do all kinds of stuff that we’d rather not do, whether it’s dull, dirty, dangerous, or other sinister words that start with “d.” Robots don’t have parents, they don’t have feelings, they don’t experience pain, and they don’t hold it against you if you shoot them. So how much trouble can you get in for shooting them? Apparently, not much. At least in Ohio.


Bad laws would hurt good drones | CNN

By Ryan Calo, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Ryan Calo is a law professor at the University of Washington School of Law and an affiliate scholar at the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society. You can follow him on Twitter @rcalo.

(CNN)An Alitalia passenger jet pilot said he saw a drone over Brooklyn on Monday. Whether it’s true or not — the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating — we are going to be hearing more and more about drones in American skies. I predicted two things about drones in an online essay for Stanford Law Review in December 2011. Those predictions turned out to be true. But there was something I didn’t see coming.




IFR President´s Report

Robots improve manufacturing success and create jobs!

Robots improve manufacturing success and create jobs! This was the result of the update of the IFR research study titled “Positive Impact of Industrial Robots on employment”. Two robot users from the United States, Drew Greenblatt, Marlin Steel and Matt Tyler, Vickers Engineering confirmed this during the IFR CEO Round Table discussion at the Automate show in Chicago.


ABB Reaps Benefit of North American Investments

Automation World-by David Greenfield-Mar 28, 2013

The trend of positive growth news from industrial automation suppliers continued this week with significant growth reported by ABB at its annual Automation


Frost & Sullivan: Technological Advancement and Increasing in End-user Industries Boosts Automation Market in Japan

PR Newswire (press release)-Mar 24, 2013

SINGAPORE, March 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Along with the economy, the automation and controls market in Japan is steadily recovering after the massive setbacks caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. Strong support from the government in terms of investment in the ever-growing electronics and semiconductors, metals and mining, pharmaceuticals, and automotive industries as well as the continuing demand for Japanese products from other Asian countries is fuelling the use of automation products. New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (http://www.industrialautomation.frost.com), Analysis of the Automation and Controls Market and Growth Opportunity in Japan, finds that the market earned revenues of over $2911.1 million in 2011 and estimates to reach $4800.2 million in 2017. The study covers the following product segments: programmable logic controllers (PLC), distributed control systems (DCS), supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), human machine interface (HMI), and manufacturing execution systems (MES).


Rockwell Automation hosts Middle East technology seminars

AME Info (press release)-Mar 21, 2013

Rockwell Automation, the world’s largest company dedicated to Industrial Automation, plans to host a series of Technology Seminar’s in the Middle East to showcase its latest developments in Process Automation Technologies, and reinforce their presence in the region.


Robot Futures: A New Book on the Adolescence of Robotics

Huffington Post-Mar 27, 2013

One deceptively simple implementation of robotic technology has already started to redefine the concept of warfighting altogether: robotic drones change the


Year-to-date Robo-Stox™ Results

Posted 03/30/13 at 12:18 PM

… The robotics industry as a whole appears to have fully recovered from the stock market crash in 2008 and, in most cases, has returned to or surpassed their highs of 2007. … Some of the country-by-country results are slightly skewed because of dramatic stock increases by a few performers in volatile sectors: Mazor Surgical (MZOR:IL), MDA (MDA:TSO) and the 3D printer manufacturers 3D Systems (DDD:NYSE) and Stratasys (SSYS:NASDAQ) are cases in point. … Although the industrial robotics sector is still down from 2007/2008, the big four are doing quite well—click here to see the chart.


Liquid Robotics Gets $45 Million To Continue Double-Digit Growth

Posted 03/19/13 at 09:35 AM

Liquid Robotics today is a far cry from it’s initial goal of recording whale songs. Today that function and those recordings are the domain of the Jupiter Foundation and Liquid is focusing on making wave gliders for industry, government and science. … Liquid Robotics just received a $45 million “E” round of funding and adds Riverwood Capital (of GoPro fame) to their stable of VCs. Total funding since 2005 is $85 million. … 200+ Liquid Robotics Wave Gliders are at work on the seas in one of three areas of oceanography: (1) monitoring oil and gas operations, (2) assisting naval ops with classified activities, and (3) providing scientific, weather and other oceanographic data for commercial and scientific purposes. … Liquid plans to expand their marketing and sales staff and to double their fleet by the end of 2013, hence the need for the additional capital. “Approximately half of the fleet is involved with the Schlumberger oil and gas joint venture,” said Steven Springsteel, Liquid’s new COO/CFO. Springsteel also said that the vast majority of Liquid’s activities are profit-making and profitable. … Springsteel commented that the new funds will be used to grow the business to a sustainable profitability without having to go public.


Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Robotic Start-ups and Engadget Expand

Posted 03/24/13 at 10:55 AM

… At a weekend Engadget Expand event at Fort Mason in San Francisco, Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler spoke about Kickstarter’s success: 17 projects raised $1 million+ in 2012, a 43.66% success rate, with much of the money going to film & video projects, games, design and music. … Also at the Engadget event were a group of Indiegogo projects and some feisty Indiegogo sales people who emphasized that Indiegogo is the largest global crowdfunding platform and campaigners can launch campaigns from every country in the world. Also, that they are more flexible about funding options, unlike Kickstarter which applies an “all or nothing” rule meaning the campaign must reach a minimum pledge level or none are collected. … Notable robotics-related projects from these two crowdfunders include Oculus Rift, Form 1 hi-res 3D printers, DiveBot and Dragonfly, the GA Tech robotic insect spin-off which raised over $1 million.


Robots to spur economy, improve quality of life, keep responders safe | GTech

March 20, 2013 by John Payne

Robots are being used more widely than expected in a variety of sectors, and the trend is likely to continue with robotics becoming as ubiquitous as computer technology over the next 15 years.  That is the message Henrik Christensen, Georgia Tech’s KUKA Chair of Robotics in the College of Computing, will bring to the Congressional Robotics Caucus on March 20 as he presents “A Roadmap for U.S. Robotics: From Internet to Robotics – 2013 Edition.” The report, which outlines the progress of robots in multiple industries over the last five years and identifies goals for the coming decade, highlights robotics as a key economic enabler with the potential to transform U.S. society.


Major funding boost announced for French robotics sector | Wired UK

March 20, 2013 by Hallie Siegel

At the European Robotics Forum in Lyon, France’s minister for industrial renewal Arnaud Montebourg announced new fund for the French robotics sector that will help make up for “lost competitiveness” and would see the nation become an industry leader by 2020. Two hundred and fifty French robotics companies will receive a total of €100 million (£85 million) in funding.




Emerging Robotic Technology Overcomes Previous Limitations

Automation World-Mar 12, 2013

In the mobile solutions space, robots are gaining traction against traditional automated-guided-vehicle (AGV) and fixed-conveyor solutions. Along the spectrum


Flying Rescue Robot Could Be the Lifeguard of the Future

Geekosystem-Mar 27, 2013

A research lab in Iran is hard at work building a new robotic lifeguard that could respond instantly to passengers and crew who fall from ships by flying to their


Iranian robotics lab works on ocean rescue drone

Wired.co.uk-Mar 27, 2013

A team of Iranian roboticists at the RTS Lab in Tehran is developing an aerial robot designed to save people drowning near coastlines. Pars is a quadcopter that


Startup Spotlight: SynTouch Seeks to Enable Robots With ‘Machine Touch’

Matt Borzage  /  Thu, March 28, 2013

This is the fourth post in our Startup Spotlight series featuring new robotics companies from around the world. We’re inviting representatives from the companies to describe their technologies and how they see the marketplace. The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not represent positions of IEEE Spectrum or the IEEE.

Read More…


Japan to Send Humanoid to Space

03/06/13 — Dentsu Inc. has announced the names “Kirobo” and “Mirata” for two humanoid communication robots being developed under the KIBO ROBOT PROJECT, a joint research project being carried out in collaboration with the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, the University of Tokyo, ROBO GARAGE Co., Ltd., and Toyota Motor…


A visual history of robotic Mars probes | Wired UK

March 11, 2013 by Hallie Siegel

The 60s space race to the Moon was a mere sprint compared to the decathlon to Mars. Using Nasa’s archived data of both US and international missions, Paul Butt‘s graphic illustrates the history of Mars exploration by robotic probes, and the many successes and failures along the way. “For each launch, I read through the mission planning and execution to interpret what the mission hoped to achieve, and what it actually did,” explains Ipswich-based Butt.

February 2013

4 May


Robot Surgeries Linked to Injuries, Deaths

Newsmax Health-Mar 5, 2013

After Michelle Zarick complained of excessive vaginal bleeding, her doctor found growths in her uterus that needed to be removed. One option: robot surgery,


Law firms seek victims of ‘bad robot surgery’

Mar 01, 2013, 11:51 AM | By Tim Hornyak

Did your robot doctor mess up your insides? This lawsuit in the making sounds like a joke, but it’s real.


Spy-camera robot penguins infiltrate bird colonies

Feb 12, 2013, 10:04 AM | By Amanda Kooser

A BBC documentary team unleashed 50 spycams into penguin colonies, including cameras that served as eyes for robotic penguins, to capture stunning close-up footage of the unusual birds.


Robot Shakespeare Company Releases “The Tragedy of Macbeth”

PR Newswire (press release)-Mar 5, 2013

PHILADELPHIA, March 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — The Robot Shakespeare Company produces animated Shakespeare plays with sci-fi robots playing all the


Japan robot suit gets global safety certificate

AFP-Feb 27, 2013

TOKYO — A robot suit that can help the elderly or disabled get around was given its global safety certificate in Japan on Wednesday, paving the way for its


DHS built domestic surveillance tech into Predator drones

Mar 02, 2013, 11:30 AM | By Declan McCullagh

Homeland Security’s specifications say drones must be able to detect whether a civilian is armed. Also specified: “signals interception” and “direction finding” for electronic surveillance.


Teeny Tiny Microcopter Deploys to Afghanistan With British Troops

POSTED BY: Evan Ackerman  /  Tue, February 05, 2013

It’s hard to tell how tiny this helicopter is from the above pic. But it’s damn tiny. It’s only four inches long (about 10 centimeters), and weighs just 16 grams, but will happily carry a pan-and-tilt camera that streams video back to a base station. It’s called the Black Hornet, and it’s . . . adorable.

Texas Declares War on Robots

Posted 28 Feb 2013

There’s growing privacy concern over flying robots, or “drones”. Organizations like the EFF and ACLU have been raising the alarm over increased government surveillance of US citizens. Legislators haven’t been quick to respond to concerns of government spying on citizens. But Texas legislators are apparently quite concerned that private citizens operating hobby drones might spot environmental violations by businesses. You may recall the story from 2012 in which a hobbyist operating a small UAV over public land in Dallas, TX accidentally photographed a Dallas meat-packing plant illegally dumping pig blood into the Trinity river, resulting in an EPA indictment. Representative Lance Gooden has introduced HB912 to solve this “problem”. But the badly worded bill could also outlaw most outdoor hobby and STEM robotics activities, stop university robotics research programs, endanger commercial robotics R&D, and end many common commercial uses of robots such as commercial aerial photography. What exactly does the bill outlaw?

DIY Drone-Proofing: Militants Use Carpet, Grass Mats, Mud to Hide From Robots

Spencer Ackerman, 02.21.13

What’s the simplest way to evade a $4.5 million armed, flying robot? Get some grass mats. Or smear your car with mud. After hundreds of strikes over four drone-intensive years, al-Qaida is starting to pass around notes on cheap countermeasures militants can take to evade detection by the robots’ sensors. The longer the militants can delay the CIA or the U.S. military from obtaining a positive identification, the thinking goes, the less likely a strike becomes. Step one: Disguise your car. The advice comes from a xeroxed printout found in Timbuktu by the Associated Press shortly after Islamist militants fighting the French in Mali vacated the area. Taken from jihadi forums online and adapted, one recommendation for simple drone-proofing was to drape a car carrying militants with carpets so the cameras on a drone, thousands of feet up in the sky, might be fooled.


Domestic-Drone Industry Prepares for Big Battle With Regulators

Spencer Ackerman, 02.13.13

For a day, a sandy-haired Virginian named Jeremy Novara was the hero of the nascent domestic drone industry. Novara went to the microphone at a ballroom in a Ritz-Carlton outside Washington, D.C. on Wednesday and did something many in his business want to do: tenaciously challenge the drone regulators at the Federal Aviation Administration to loosen restrictions on unmanned planes over the United States. Judging from the reaction he received, and from the stated intentions of the drone advocates who convened the forum, the domestic-drone industry expects to do a lot more of that in the coming months. There’s been a lot of hype around unmanned drones becoming a fixture over U.S. airspace, both for law enforcement use and for operations by businesses as varied as farmers and filmmakers. All have big implications for traditional conceptions of privacy, as unmanned planes can loiter over people’s backyards and snap pictures for far longer than piloted aircraft. The government is anticipating that drone makers could generate a windfall of cash as drones move from a military to a civilian role: Jim Williams of the Federal Aviation Administration told the Wednesday conclave of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) that the potential market for government and commercial drones could generate “nearly $90 billion in economic activity” over the next decade. $90 billion.


5 Homeland Security ‘Bots Coming to Spy on You (If They Aren’t Already)

Robert Beckhusen, 02.08.13

It’s been 10 years since the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) started up operations. During that decade, DHS has moved to the forefront of funding and deploying the robots and drones that could be coming soon to a neighborhood near you. DHS funds research and development for surveillance robots. It provides grant money by the hundreds of thousands to police agencies to buy their own. And sometimes it’s bought and deployed robots — for their skies, the ground and the waters — of its own, usually concentrated along the border. It’s not clear how many of those robots police operate, and law enforcement isn’t by any means the only domestic market for the ‘bots. But the trend lines point toward more robotic spy tools for law enforcement in more places — with more DHS cash. But it’s not going to be simple. The Federal Aviation Administration is cautious about opening the skies to unmanned vehicles — so much so that Congress and the Obama administration ordered it to ease up on restrictions by 2015. But not all spy robots fly. DHS is also developing robots that resemble fish, and deploys tunnel-bots deep into drug-smuggling tunnels along the border.

U.S. Navy Wants Robots that Respond to Pheromones

02/07/13 — Aircraft carrier crews are likely to get rather pungent as they perform the hard tasks of assembling, loading and hauling the massive weaponry that gives the U.S. Navy its edge. To make their lives easier, the Navy’s exploring the idea of developing a “robotic semiautonomous swarm on a ship” that…

Attack of the Drones: The Worrying Automation of Warfare

Washington College Elm-Mar 1, 2013

Troubling as the use of drones is, I believe it to be indicative of a larger trend that shows no signs of abating anytime soon: the automation of warfare.



Foxconn Freezes Hiring in China


Foxconn Technology Group has frozen the overall hiring of factory workers in China as the assembler of gadgets for Apple…

Spanish Pallet Manufacturer Relies on Automation and Robotics to

Pallet Enterprise-Feb 28, 2013

AGLOLAK: Spanish pallet manufacturer pleases demanding customers through automation including robotics and proper lumber sourcing from certified sources


The Automation Element Of Re-Shoring

Manufacturing.net-Feb 20, 2013

Automation GT, an automation design-and-manufacturing firm based out of Escondido, Calif., is at the forefront of the “re-shoring” trend that has been sweeping


Drone Boosters Say Farmers, Not Cops, Are the Biggest U.S. Robot Market

Spencer Ackerman, 02.05.13

When the flying robots that loiter in Afghanistan’s and Yemen’s airspace come home, they won’t just be headed for the local police station. They might prefer a pastoral existence of spraying crops, scanning soil patterns and other features of America’s farms. No, Predators and Reapers aren’t going to scan large swaths of vegetation for suspected militants. And there’s tremendous interest from state and local law enforcement in drones as surveillance tools. But to Chris Mailey, a vice president with the drone promotion organization known as AUVSI, the cop shops represent short money. “Agriculture,” Mailey tells Danger Room, “is gonna be the big market.”


Yogurt boom means boom times for Atlas Automation

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle-Feb 20, 2013

‘The yogurt expansion that started four years ago, we were kind of on the ground floor of that,’ says Atlas Automation President Joe Scarfone. The company


Bartendro robot mixologist crafts cocktails with Raspberry Pi

Mar 04, 2013, 1:28 PM | By Amanda Kooser

Cocktails may never be the same again. Robot can handle up to 15 bottles of booze and mixers and can dispense precision cocktails in less than 10 seconds.

Korea’s Robotic Nurse to Begin Hospital Trials

02/07/13 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration may have recently approved iRobot’s telepresence robot RP-VITA for use in hospitals, but as far as medical robots are concerned Japan and Korea remain ahead of the curve. The latest in a line of nurse droids is the KIRO-M5, a compact transportation robot that can carry…

The rise of robotics in medicine | MedCityNews

March 2, 2013 by Sabine Hauert

Robots represent a vision of the future, a vision that inspires two parts amazement and one part fear of being replaced by superior machines. In manufacturing, robots have been deployed since the 1960’s to exceed human precision and productivity.


Augmented realty interface for telepresence robots

by Wolfgang Heller, February 22, 2013

Telepresence robots are remote controlled cameras on wheels that are connected via Wi-Fi to a user’s computer, mobile phone or tablet. The user can communicate via a “human-scale” robot with other people and move around a workplace or home.


Veebot’s Robot to automate blood draws

February 18, 2013 by Andra Keay

Taking blood is a fine art. Even the most experienced practioner may require more than one stab to find a vein—seems only natural to wonder, might a robot do the job better? Mountain View’s Veebot thinks so.
Robot-assisted hysterectomies booming, but better?

USA TODAY-by Kim Painter-Feb 19, 2013

While robotic vs laparoscopic hysterectomies are similar in outcome for the patient, one consideration for the surgeon is the physical discomfort that results from


Honda demos lawn mower robot at PGA Tour in Florida

The Japan Daily Press-Mar 4, 2013

As early as last year, Honda has already announced the release in the market of its first home product. This year, the Japanese automaker’s robotic lawn mower,


Student Attends School Via Robot

02/21/13 — In a school hallway, a U.S. teacher takes her students to the library, leading a single-file line of giggling boys and girls that’s perfectly ordinary until you get to a sleek white robot with a video screen showing the face of a smiling, chubby-cheeked boy. Devon Carrow’s life-threatening allergies don’t allow him to go to school. But the robot with a wireless video hookup gives him the school experience remotely, allowing him to participate in class, stroll through the hallways, hang out at recess and even take to the auditorium stage when there’s a show. What’s most remarkable is how unremarkable…


Rapyuta: The RoboEarth Cloud Engine

by Dominique Hunziker February 25, 2013

In recent years cloud computing has made an entrance into our lives. Naturally, this begs the question how cloud computing can be used in robotics applications. With Rapyuta, the RoboEarth Cloud Engine, an open source software package is released that tries to answer this question. Rapyuta provides an easy solution specifically tailored to robotics applications.


Infographic – Marketing Automation 101

CMSWire-Mar 1, 2013

Cloud-based marketing automation software provider Marketo is attempting to reveal the “magic behind the curtain” of marketing automation in a new


Automation key to Vodafone’s M2M strategy

Total Telecom-Feb 28, 2013

“It works out of the box with Vodafone’s global M2M platform,” said Salminen, which is in line with the operator’s bid to maximise automation. However, for


IT Automation: 5 Ways To Hit The “Ugly” Stuff First

ReadWriteWeb-Feb 19, 2013

But while technology lies at the heart of automating processes, its use in IT support is still woefully limited. That’s not to suggest that nothing has been done; most


Automation: the key to efficiency in packaging & processing solutions

FoodBev.com-by Shaun Weston-Mar 4, 2013

Paolo Scarabelli, manager embedded solutions, technologies & service products at Tetra Pak, discusses how the evolution of automation is driving bigger


First line of Northland’s Kaunisvaara iron ore mine goes online

Automation World-Feb 27, 2013

Power and automation company ABB announced that it recently completed commissioning of the integrated electrification and automation system for the first process line of Northland Resources’ Kaunisvaara iron ore concentrator plant. The site is located approximately 100 km north of the Arctic Circle, in Sweden. The initial orders were awarded in the first quarter of 2012 by Metso Minerals and Northland Resources.


Home automation systems growing

SunHerald.com-Feb 23, 2013

ABI Research, a technology-focused market research firm, said 1.5 million home-automation systems were installed worldwide last year, almost double the


Robot called ‘Yeti’ finds cracks in Antarctic ice

NBCNews.com (blog)-15 hours ago

Meet Yeti, a faithful rover of the robotic kind that sniffs out dangerous crevasses for convoys crossing the glaciers of Antarctica and Greenland, explores ice


Labour markets: The robot menace

Mar 1st 2013, 6:58 from Free exchange

ONE might say it is an encouraging sign that public worry over technology has (for the most part) turned from fear of stagnation to fear of technological unemployment thanks to too-rapid change. Signs of technological advancement are everywhere. Watson is shrinking, getting faster, and learning new skills. Google is bringing us driverless cars and the wonder that is this. Robots are looking ever more amazing, amazing, amazing. What can we expect, economically, from such changes?

Skidelsky on robots and more leisure

Izabella Kaminska | Feb 19 17:16

Love him or loathe him, Robert Skidelsky’s prose always makes for a good read.

His latest offering comes by way of Project Syndicate and relates to the issue of robots and the rise of automation. To what degree are we really approaching a leisure society and how best to respond to the changes afoot?


BofA plans drive on commercial banking

…new head of commercial banking, says he is investing in the business, adding about 50 bankers as a first step even as more automation brings job losses in administrative roles. “We have invested and we will invest more,” he said, while declining to… By Tom Braithwaite in New York

Is it time to ditch offshore services for automation for security sake?

ComputerWeekly.com (blog)-Mar 4, 2013

I have recently written about IT and back office automation and its impact on outsourcing and more particularly offshoring. Here is a guest blog post on the


Five jobs a robot could never steal

The Guardian-Mar 1, 2013

Look about and you’ll see here’s a lot of robot talk going down right now. It’s not confined to the usual places; among aficionados of /r/bioniclove for instance,

A Robot Didn’t Steal Your Job

CounterPunch-Mar 1, 2013

And automakers now have robots that don’t need bathroom breaks and have no inclination toward collective bargaining to build cars. What ties technology, in


Automation Federation works with White House and US government

InTech-Feb 14, 2013

Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA (14 February 2013) –Working with the Obama administration, the Automation Federation is helping to forge


Man Charged For Shooting Robot

Popular Science-20 hours ago

An Ohio man has been charged for shooting a robot. Michael Blevins was charged with vandalism of government property, after drunkenly firing at a police robot
Should we put robots on trial?

Boston Globe-Mar 1, 2013

But experts in artificial intelligence and the emerging field of robot ethics say that is likely to change. With the advent of technological marvels like the self-driving


PR2 maker Willow Garage turns to commercial robotics

Feb 11, 2013, 9:30 PM | By Tim Hornyak

Following a report that it will close, the popular startup says it will instead become a self-sustaining company.

ROV market study shows dramatic growth for 2013-2023

Posted 02/19/13 at 03:28 PM

… In a new report analyzing the uses and needs for remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROV) by the global oil and gas industry, Visiongain, a British research provider, has projected positive growth for both makers and users. They project rental and manufacturing revenue for ROVs in 2013 to be $2.5 billion. … Visiongain’s report, ROVs in the Oil Gas Industry 2013-2023, is available for purchase for $2,250. … The list of companies included in the report is extensive and can be downloaded for free by clicking on the “Companies Listed” tab here.


2012 Record Year for US Robot Industry

Posted 02/08/13 at 10:58 PM

… 25,500 robots were sold in the US in 2012; $1.66 billion in revenue. This is a 17% year-over-year increase in units and 27% in dollars. … Robotics Industry Association (RIA) estimates that 225,000 robots are now working in US factories. This represents 10% robot density, i.e., only 10% of companies that could benefit from using robots have done so thus far.

Factory automation companies join forces

Materials Handling World Magazine-Mar 5, 2013

The Finnish manufacturer of flexible manufacturing systems (FMS), Fastems Oy Ab, which also builds robotic cells for automating machine tools, has purchased


Robotics Innovation Challenge 2013 | Robotdalen

February 28, 2013 by Andra Keay

Robotdalen is a Swedish robotics initiative with the mission to enable commercial success of new ideas and research within robotics & automation.


Mitsubishi Electric Expands Automation Business in India

Control Engineering Asia-Mar 5, 2013

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation has announced that its subsidiary Mitsubishi Electric India will host a new factory automation (FA) development center on its

Detroit Tech: Automation Alley 2012 Report Says Engineering

Huffington Post-Feb 5, 2013

Detroit’s tech industry growth is outpacing national hubs like Silicon Valley, Boston and Chicago in a number of categories, according to the latest annual report


Automation and Manufacturing Among the Most Disruptive

Automation World-Feb 26, 2013

For much of our lives, we come to understand that being disruptive is not a good thing. During our school years, being disruptive could land us in all kinds of trouble. But in the business world, being disruptive can mean the difference between leading your industry or becoming one of its many followers. Most mentions of “disruptive” companies usually focus on Silicon Valley innovators developing the latest and greatest computing technologies. But a recent list of the 50 most disruptive companies, published by MIT Technology Review, focused on what companies did over the past year to “strengthen their hold on a market, challenge the leaders of a market, or create a new market.”


Blazing Fast Staubli Robot Picks 200 Items Per Minute

Singularity Hub-by Peter Murray-Feb 26, 2013

Even John Henry, had he been a factory picker instead of a steel driver, couldn’t keep up with this robot. The Switzerland-based TP80 Fast Picker robot by


How a Monkey Can Mentally Control a Robot 7,000 Miles Away

February 22, 2013 – Miguel Nicolelis is an ambitious man. For years he’s been decoding brain signals and trying to use them as electrical commands for robots—and now he’s at a stage where he can get a monkey to mentally control a robot which is 7,000 miles away. More »


Meet Pneupard, Osaka University’s Air-Powered Cheetah Robot

POSTED BY: Jason Falconer  /  Mon, February 25, 2013

Roboticists around the world are in the process of reverse engineering the anatomical construction of cheetahs and other cats in an attempt to develop faster and more agile legged robots. The latest project, dubbed the Pneupard, hails from Osaka University. Although still early in development, the new biomimetic platform stands out from some of the others through its use of pneumatic artificial muscles as its primary means of locomotion.


IFR Press Release – IFR International Federation of Robotics

CEO Statements at IFR Round Table 2013

Robots are the Future

The 4th IFR CEO Round Table discussion on 22 January 2013 at the Automate in Chicago focused on the impact of industrial robots on employment.

CEOs of the global robotics industry present in the audience took the opportunity to give their statement to “Robots are the Future”.

  • Hiroshi Fujiwara, Executive Director, JARA, Japan
  • Arturo Baroncelli, IFR Vice President
  • Thomas Visti, CCO, Universal Robots, Denmark
  • Steward Shepherd, CEO, Kuka Robotics, USA
  • Steve Barhorst, President & CEO, Yaskawa, USA
  • John Bubnikovich, ABB, USA
  • Michael Ferrara, Director, Epson Amerika, USA

New robot advances underwater research

University of Delaware Review-Mar 4, 2013

The robot has a front camera, a frontward high definition camera, a rear camera and sonar capabilities and is controlled by a joystick, which moves it to the front,


BigDog Robot Can Now Hurl Cinder Blocks

PC Magazine-by Angela Moscaritolo-Mar 1, 2013

The four-legged robot, developed by Boston Dynamics with funding from the U.S. Army’s Robotics Collaborative Technology Alliance, can now pick up and hurl

Mitsubishi Electric Robot picks stem cells

Process & Control Today-9 hours ago

A dynamic British company has harnessed the precision of robots, flexibility of machine vision and powerful laboratory automation software to push forward


Robot Of The Week: Artas Harvests Living Human Hairs, One By One

Popular Science-Mar 1, 2013

Artas is the first ever FDA-approved hair transplant robot, designed to accomplish the painstaking, yet technically difficult task of harvesting hundreds to

January 2013

4 May


Are robots hurting job growth?

January 13, 2013 5:00 PM CBS 60 Minutes Report

Must see video: Technological advances, especially robotics, are revolutionizing the workplace, but not necessarily creating jobs. Steve Kroft reports.

FTAV video: the robot employment threat

Cardiff Garcia | Jan 30

Must see video in link…


beyond scarcity series by Izabella Kaminska

Must see this series…


Middle-class jobs cut in recession feared gone for good, lost to technology

Associated Press, Published: January 25

NEW YORK — Five years after the start of the Great Recession, the toll is terrifyingly clear: Millions of middle-class jobs have been lost in developed countries the world over. And the situation is even worse than it appears. Most of the jobs will never return, and millions more are likely to vanish as well, say experts who study the labor market. What’s more, these jobs aren’t just being lost to China and other developing countries, and they aren’t just factory work. Increasingly, jobs are disappearing in the service sector, home to two-thirds of all workers. They’re being obliterated by technology.


Big Data and cloud computing empower smart machines to do human work, take human jobs

Associated Press, Published: January 18 | Updated: Thursday, January 24, 2013

WASHINGTON — Art Liscano knows he’s an endangered species in the job market: He’s a meter reader in Fresno, Calif. For 26 years, he’s driven from house to house, checking how much electricity Pacific Gas & Electric customers have used. But PG&E doesn’t need many people like Liscano making rounds anymore. Every day, the utility replaces 1,200 old-fashioned meters with digital versions that can collect information without human help, generate more accurate power bills, even send an alert if the power goes out.


A world without work: As robots, computers get smarter, will humans have anything left to do?

Associated Press, Published: January 18 | Updated: Friday, January 25, 2013

WASHINGTON — They seem right out of a Hollywood fantasy, and they are: Cars that drive themselves have appeared in movies like “I, Robot” and the television show “Knight Rider.” Now, three years after Google invented one, automated cars could be on their way to a freeway near you. In the U.S., California and other states are rewriting the rules of the road to make way for driverless cars. Just one problem: What happens to the millions of people who make a living driving cars and trucks — jobs that always have seemed sheltered from the onslaught of technology?


The Darkest Predictions For The Robot Economy Put Future

Max Nisen | Jan. 28, 2013

The Associated Press has a three-part series on one of the biggest questions business and society will face in coming years. Are we prepared for a world where 50 to 75 percent of workers are unemployed? It seems like a ridiculous question, but it’s something economists and technologists say we seriously need to think about. It’s just math.  Rice University computer science professor Moshe Vardi says that in 25 years “driving [done] by people will look quaint; it will look like a horse and buggy.” So there go many of the approximately 4 million driving jobs out there. Same for sanitation, and those are just a couple examples of how physical jobs will be replaced. 


60 Minutes Robotics Segment Stirs Controversy

01/16/13 — “There are two sides to every story; the truth inevitably resides somewhere in between.”—ancient proverb There is no question that rapidly advancing robot and AI technology are enabling companies to bring back work previously done overseas, especially in China. At the same time, they are eliminating the need for human…


Automation, innovation driving new economy

Arizona Daily Star-Jan 27, 2013

On paper, the Great Recession has been over for several years. But to many workers displaced by the economy’s sudden contraction in late 2008 and 2009, it still feels like an uphill battle. Jobs in construction have yet to rebound. Many government agencies and schools still employ far fewer than they did four years ago. And many jobs in middle management are being added back on a contract or part-time basis. The numbers are startling. According to The Associated Press, half of the 7.5 million jobs lost during the Great Recession were in industries that pay middle-class wages, ranging from $38,000 to $68,000. But only 2 percent of the 3.5 million jobs gained since the recession ended in June 2009 are in midpay industries. Nearly 70 percent are in low-pay industries, 29 percent in industries that pay well. The result is what economists call the “hollowing out” of the middle-class workforce, and it is far from over. They predict the loss of millions more jobs as technology becomes even more sophisticated and reaches deeper into our lives.




MeCam Is a $50 Camera-Equipped Autonomous Nano Quadrotor, Supposedly

Evan Ackerman  /  Mon, January 28, 2013

At first glance, MeCam looks like it belongs in a research lab. It’s a palm-sized quadrotor packing enough sensors to make it capable of autonomous flight, as well as a camera that can stream video to your smartphone. It can follow you around all by itself, shooting video of your life (or anything else you tell it to), and supposedly, it’ll be available as soon as 2014 for as little as $50.


Parrot Adds GPS and Partial Autonomy to AR Drone, Shows Off SenseFly UAV

Erico Guizzo  /  Wed, January 16, 2013

We’re huge fans of the AR Drone, not just because it’s dirt cheap and a huge amount of fun, and also not just because it’s actually being used for serious research, but because we love how Parrot just keeps on making it better year after year. At CES last week, they showed us a bunch of upgrades along the path to autonomy, along with their newest toy: a camera equipped eBee UAV from SenseFly.


U.N. Drone Investigator: If Facts Lead to U.S. War Crimes, So Be It

Spencer Ackerman, 01.29.13

Ben Emmerson wants to be clear: He’s not out to ban flying killer robots used by the CIA or the U.S. military. But the 49-year-old British lawyer is about to become the bane of the drones’ existence, thanks to the United Nations inquiry he launched last week into their deadly operations. Emmerson, the United Nations’ special rapporteur for human rights and counterterrorism, will spend the next five months doing something the Obama administration has thoroughly resisted: unearthing the dirty secrets of a global counterterrorism campaign that largely relies on rapidly proliferating drone technology. Announced on Thursday in London, it’s the first international inquiry into the drone program, and one that carries the imprimatur of the world body. By the next session of the United Nations in the fall, Emmerson hopes to provide the General Assembly with an report on 25 drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Palestine where civilian deaths are credibly alleged.


U.S. Drones Pound Pakistan

By Spencer Ackerman, 01.10.13

Make that seven U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan during the first 10 days of 2013. But the recent uptick in drone strikes hasn’t yet coincided with a resurgence in Pakistani outrage that marred Washington’s relationship with Islamabad in 2012. At least five people are dead in a drone strike near Mir Ali, in North Waziristan, launched on Thursday. That makes seven drone strikes in Pakistan since 2013 began, with an estimated death toll, according to Danger Room’s tally, of at least 40 people. (One of the strikes on Tuesday killed a “key al-Qaida commander” named Sheikh Yasin al-Kuwaiti, the Long War Journal reports.) By contrast, in 2012, the U.S. launched 43 drone strikes in Pakistan, with an average pause of between 7 and 8 days between them. Even beyond the drones, Thursday was a violent day in Pakistan: A pair of bombings in Baluchistan left at least 32 people dead and more than 100 wounded.


Bluefin Robotics Completes Custom Knifefish Design for Naval Research Laboratory

01/31/13 — Renowned underwater-robotics manufacturer, Bluefin Robotics, has announced it will produce a variation of its Knifefish UUV (unmanned underwater vehicle) for the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). The Knifefish model is a specialized Bluefin-21 UUV, and will be developed for the Surface Mine Countermeasure Unmanned Underwater Vehicle program. Bluefin is under subcontract (#N00173-10-C-6008) withGeneral Dynamics (News – Alert) Advanced Information Systems, and will leverage and deliver the finished system to the NRL within the next few months. Bluefin just completed the preliminary design review of the Knifefish model earlier this month, and is positive about the outcome. “We are pleased that we are able to easily adapt the…


WSU Unveils Autonomous Underwater Vehicle with Robotic Gripper at RoboSub Competition

The students at Washington State University (WSU) have finished building a self-operated robotic submarine that has been entered into the 16th annual International RoboSub Competition in San Diego. The yearly competition is hosted by both the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International and the U.S. Office of Naval Research.




Robot-manufactured cells for the photovoltaic industry

Posted: 01/30/2013 During the manufacture of solar cells, wafers go through a variety of wet chemical processes….


The Next Manufacturing Boom Will Be Ours

1/26/13, Barron’s

As the only industrialized superpower not decimated by World War II, the United States once made nearly 40% of the planet’s goods. These days, that number has shrunk to 18%. We make American Girl dolls in China, Levi’s jeans in Mexico, and enough movies in Vancouver to nickname it Hollywood North. After decades of outsourcing, however, the U.S. is quietly enjoying a manufacturing revival, and companies like Apple (ticker: AAPL), Caterpillar (CAT), Ford Motor (F), General Electric (GE), and Whirlpool (WHR) are making more of their goods on American soil again. It isn’t just U.S. companies that are drawn to our cheap energy, weak dollar, and stagnant wages. Samsung Electronics (005930.Korea) plans a $4 billion semiconductor plant in Texas, Airbus SAS is building a factory in Alabama, and Toyota (TM) wants to export minivans made in Indiana to Asia. The Rust Belt owes its new shine to many factors, including rising wages and industrial-land costs in Asia. But none is bigger than the U.S. energy boom. Thanks to a head start in extracting oil and gas from shales, North America now produces far more natural gas than any other continent. Unlike oil, gas isn’t easily transported across oceans, and a result is some of the world’s cheapest energy within our reach: Natural gas here costs $3.55 per million British thermal units, versus roughly $12 in Europe and $16 in Japan. Cheap energy not only reduces our trade deficit and our addiction to Middle East oil, it also makes our factories more competitive globally — a boon for a country that had gone from exporting American goods to exporting American jobs.


Labor Intensive Industry Adopts Automation

CRIENGLISH.com-Jan 30, 2013

From keyboards to electronic home appliances, the manufacturing industry in the Zhujiang River delta area used to be a driving force in the beginning of China’s




Innovative machine for filling and packaging ice cream from Staubli


Presentation plays a crucial role in the industrial production of ice cream. Even in large size containers, the product needs to look like a handmade delicacy. The brand new Robot Filler succeeds in doing this perfectly, as the pilot use of the machine in Bangkok demonstrates. Based in Edertal near Kassel, Big Drum Engineering GmbH specialises in the manufacture of equipment for the filling and packaging of ice cream. Its innovative machines make it possible to produce a wide variety of ice creams (with the exception of those on a stick) quickly and economically. Big Drum machines have a production capacity of up to 50,000 tubs per hour.




Robotic sign spinners hit Fresno area streets

ABC30.com-Jan 28, 2013

FRESNO, California (KFSN) — We’ve all seen those sign spinners on major streets like Blackstone in Fresno and all across the state showing off sales or


Orbiting robot gas station gets closer to reality

Jan 25, 2013, 4:22 PM | By Tim Hornyak

Canadian robot Dextre completes a test on the ISS to refuel a mock satellite, a step toward reducing space junk.


Hi-Tech Library Employs Book Retrieving Robot

01/24/13 — We all have memories of our favorite librarian. Perhaps it was an older woman or gentleman who helped us with a big research project in high school or college. Or maybe we remember the young, fun librarians who nurtured our reading habits as little kids, recommending picture books and leading us in craft projects. But children of tomorrow may remember their first librarian as a collection of metal and electronics. North Carolina State University has deployed a robot in its James B. Hunt Library. The building houses a collection of over 1.5 million books stored in more than 18,000 bins.…


RP-VITA Approved for Hospital Use, SUGV Approved for Disruptor Use

Evan Ackerman  /  Mon, January 21, 2013

A week or so ago, the FDA (who I guess is somehow in charge of robots in hospitals) has decided that they’re cool with robots like the RP-VITA telepresence platform wandering around on their own without having a nervous human in tow with one finger poised over an e-stop button. In other words, RP-VITA has been officially pronounced to be no more likely than anything else you’d find in a hospital hallway to somehow injure people. We’ll share a few of iRobot’s thoughts on the announcement, but first, we have a video of an iRobot 310 SUGV blowing up a bunch of stuff with a disruptor, because that’s marginally more exciting.


Robots a Huge Asset to Laboratory Automation, Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Drug Discovery

01/10/13 — Tasks in the life sciences, pharmaceutical and biomedical industries have always been complex and time-consuming. With the advent of new diseases and medical disorders, these undertakings will only grow in complexity. Due to their speed and precision, robotics are called upon to meet the ever-increasing scope and range of chores in…


Pint-Sized Service Robot on Wheels Massages as it Roams

01/24/13 — WheeMe is a massage robot that moves gently on your body to provide the most realistic massaging experience. It was developed by the Israeli company, DreamBots, and recently shown off at CES 2013. This palm-sized massage robot has two arm sticks on its top to sense the edges of the body. It also includes a tilt sensor technology to automatically avoid falling off while rolling over your body. The roughness of the wheels and a rotor finger will provide a really enjoyable sense of physical pressure. WheeMe robot weighs only 330 grams (with batteries) and measures 128 x 9.6 x 8.0 mm. It moves at a speed of 4 cm/sec, and available in two different colors such as red and blue.…


Engineering Teams Develop Robotic Snowplows for Winter Carnival

01/29/13 — With the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) now featuring pool and gutter cleaners, robotic vacuums and lawnmowers, what’s next? How about a robotic snowplow? Ohio University’s “monocular autonomously controlled snowplow” might soon see a variant of itself parked in the Las Vegas Convention Center at a future CES. Are you listening John Deere? TwinCities.com (Pioneer Press): The snowplow is small, but built like a tank. Weighing in at 600 pounds, Ohio University’s “monocular autonomously controlled snowplow” (also known as M.A.C.S.) features four-wheel drive, a laser guidance system and the ability to clear snow without a human operator. The team from Ohio…


Automating the ‘Last Mile of Finance’

December 6, 2012, 12:01am

How software may help companies improve their financial close and reporting cycles.

There is a brief period at the end of each financial quarter when the pressure is on accounting and finance teams to close company books quickly, while producing accurate results. During this window, employees engage in a frenetic, deadline-driven process known as the “Last Mile of Finance.” It involves consolidating data from various systems and ledgers, reconciling high-risk accounts, recording adjustments, and creating numerous financial statements for investors, internal stakeholders, and regulators—all while trying to avoid errors and bottlenecks that might lead to inaccurate data and missed deadlines. “Traditionally, most of the activities that take place during the Last Mile are manual and spreadsheet driven,” says Kyle Cheney, a partner with Deloitte & Touche LLP who specializes in Last Mile of Finance automation and improvement. “The tasks are labor-intensive and time-consuming, which increases the likelihood that mistakes will be made.” Cheney says that leading companies are starting to implement financial close software that automates many Last Mile activities.


Korean nurse bot sniffs the air to detect soiled diapers

Gizmag-by Jason Falconer-Jan 29, 2013

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration may have recently approved iRobot’s telepresence robot RP-VITA for use in hospitals, but as far as medical robots are concerned Japan and Korea remain ahead of the curve. The latest in a line of nurse droids is the KIRO-M5, a compact transportation robot that can carry supplies, sterilize and deodorize the air, and alert nurses when the elderly patients need their diapers changed.




Our Cats Test the LRII Robotic Litter Box: A Paws-On Review

Amanda Davis  /  Tue, January 22, 2013

It’s no surprise that the home shared by an engineer and a tech journalist is filled with gadgets. We already own a robot, a Roomba, which vacuums our floors every day. So it wasn’t a shock to me when my boyfriend showed up with another robotic helper for our home. It’s called the Litter Robot II, an automatic self-cleaning litter box. The machine is a big black orb with a hole in the middle. It looks like the Death Star.


Toyota’s Semi-Autonomous Car Will Keep You Safe

Erico Guizzo  /  Tue, January 08, 2013

At a CES press conference yesterday, Toyota presented its semi-autonomous Lexus Advanced Active Safety Research Vehicle, a car designed to take over from you when an accident is imminent to keep you in one piece. 




Adept Introduces Lynx Autonomous Mobile Platform

Evan Ackerman  /  Wed, January 23, 2013

This is Lynx, a brand new (and very slick) little mobile robot from Adept. It was officially introduced at the Automate show in Chicago this week, and it’s designed to move stuff from one place to another without you having to worry much about what people or things may be in between.




CMU to Develop Commercial Mining Robots

Posted 12 Jan 2013 at 17:03 UTC by steve

According to a CMU news release, CMU’s Robotics Institute has entered a five year agreement with Anglo American PLC to develop autonomous robots for a variety of mining tasks including mapping and inspection.


Here Is the Robot That Will Extract Water From the Moon

The Atlantic-Jan 30, 2013

The robot (pronounced as “razor”) is an excavator device, designed to extract (yes) water, (yes) ice, and (yes) fuel from the soil of the moon. And from the soil of




The robot economy and the new rentier class

…of the week thinking about the issue, with no less than two robot-themed postings. But it’s his last one which presents the…that one paragraph explains today’s reality perfectly. So, robot and technology power is reducing the natural employment rate… Izabella Kaminska


Robots and Automation: Bringing Jobs Back to the United States

Robots get a bad reputation for taking away jobs in the United States.  However, here is how industrial robots not only keep jobs in the U.S. but also increase them!  Robots And Automation Bring Jobs Back To The U.S.


IFR CEO Round Table Discussion at the Automate in Chicago: Robots create Jobs!

The 4th IFR CEO Round Table discussion on 22 January 2013 at the Automate in Chicago focused on the impact of industrial robots on employment. The discussion also touched on other issues such as human-machine interaction, the need for a more educated workforce and the breakthrough of service robots.


Robot Makers Spread Global Gospel of Automation

Posted: 01/24/2013

CHICAGO — The robot equipment industry has one word for the alarmist articles and television news programs that predict a robot is about to steal your job: Fiddlesticks!


Automation Industry Association Criticizes 60 Minutes Segment ‘March of the Machines’

Posted: 01/14/2013

(Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA) – The Association for Advancing Automation (A3), the global advocate for the automation industry, is disappointed in how 60 Minutes portrayed the industry in Sunday night’s “March of the Machines” segment. “While the 60 Minutes depiction of how technological advances in automation and robotics are revolutionizing the workplace was spot on, their focus on how implementation of these automation technologies eliminates jobs could not be more wrong,” said Jeff Burnstein, President of A3, a trade group representing some 650 companies from 32 countries involved in robotics, vision, and motion control technologies. “We provided 60 Minutes producers several examples of innovative American companies who have used automation to become stronger global competitors, saving and creating more jobs while producing higher quality and lower cost products, rather than closing up shop or sending jobs overseas. They unfortunately chose not to include these companies in their segment. With respect to MIT Professors Brynjolfsson and McAfee who gave their viewpoint in the piece, they are missing the bigger picture.” To see the real story in action, A3 is urging people to attend Automate 2013, the industry’s premier trade show which is held in Chicago, Illinois next week. (January 21-24, 2013; McCormick Place; www.automate2013.com) With over 8,000 attendees from around the world, Automate showcases the full spectrum of automation technologies and solutions that are being utilized in many different industries. For free admission to the show, register at www.automate2013.com. Several Automate speakers will address how robots are saving and creating jobs.




Big 4 Robotic Stocks Outperform Dow Jones

Posted 01/03/13 at 01:09 PM

… All the projections suggested that industrial robot stocks would perform well this year (and for the foreseeable future), and they did.
… KUKA’s stock did particular well on expectations that their extensive movement into the Chinese marketplace (with new offices and factories in China) would yield significant rewards.


Amazingly Articulated Robot Hand: Skynet Meets Lego

January 4, 2013 – This remarkably articulate robot hand was supposedly built by Lego enthusiast ‘Barman’ using two Mindstorms NXT control units, six motors, and some utterly brilliant engineering.


This Robot Vomits So You Won’t Have To

January 2, 2013 – Sometimes inventions, even the important ones, aren’t pretty. Case in point: this vomiting robot. It could help us understand, and then battle, an illness that no one’s found a cure for in 40 years.


Meet ATHLETE, NASA’s Next Robot Moon Walker

January 23, 2013 – To build and supply a lunar base, astronauts will need heavy-duty space trucks for transporting gear. There’s just one problem: no roads. That’s why NASA engineers designed the rover they call ATHLETE (All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer)-to handle any terrain, whether dusty, rocky,…


Why You Shouldn’t Be Too Quick to Cheer Self-Driving Cars

January 10, 2013 – One of the clear automotive technology trends at CES this year is cars that drive themselves. From Audi to Lexus to Ford, the world’s largest car companies are beginning to follow Google’s lead in an effort to produce cars smart enough to drive themselves.


Great, Researchers Give This Creepy Cyborg Fish the Ability To Swim Forever

January 17, 2013 – Researchers at Michigan State University have upgraded their autonomous swimming robo-fish named Grace—short for Gliding Robot ACE—with the ability to passively glide through the water, potentially letting it swim forever on a single charge. Right now it’s designed for research, but…


iRobot’s Mirra 530 Gets More Power To Better Compete With Pool Boys

January 4, 2013 – iRobot’s updated Mirra 530 pool-cleaning robot promises to make it even easier to tidy up your cement pond come summer. Designed to replace the company’s Verro 500 model, the Mirra features a set of large wheels instead of treads to better hug the ground and walls of a pool, as well as a more…


DARPA Robots Learning How To Bring Satellites Back From the Dead

Evan Ackerman  /  Thu, January 24, 2013

It’s ever so hard to not write about DARPA when it keeps doing so much cool stuff. Today, we’ve got an update on the Phoenix program, which aims to create a new network of communications satellites by sending up robots to harvest body parts from old communications satellites. Insert space zombie joke here.*




THE BIG STORIES OF 2012: Reshoring, automating China as wages rise, big advances in autonomous cars (and other vehicles), the next agricultural revolution, service including fast food offer huge sectors for growth in automation, mining robots (on the moon and on asteroids), robots building AND installing green economy, drones not only in the skies but on and under the water, Automation and jobs debate heats up, among others



2011: A Banner Year in the North American Robotics Industry

Mini Swamy, Feb. 6 2012

The momentum and sustained interest in automation in the manufacturing and automotive industries has set the ball rolling for North American robotic companies, which witnessed unprecedented sales of robots in 2011with the fourth quarter being the strongest quarter ever recorded by the RIA.


Automation of Chinese factories takes off

ABC Online – Apr 21, 2012

LIAM COCHRANE: When it comes to industrial automation Japan is still king with about 300000 operational robots. But it’s China that’s booming.


A third industrial revolution: As manufacturing goes digital, it will change out of all recognition, says Paul Markillie. And some of the business of making things will return to rich countries

Apr 21st 2012, The Economist, Special report: Manufacturing and innovation

OUTSIDE THE SPRAWLING Frankfurt Messe, home of innumerable German trade fairs, stands the “Hammering Man”, a 21-metre kinetic statue that steadily raises and lowers its arm to bash a piece of metal with a hammer. Jonathan Borofsky, the artist who built it, says it is a celebration of the worker using his mind and hands to create the world we live in. That is a familiar story. But now the tools are changing in a number of remarkable ways that will transform the future of manufacturing.


Canon Cameras Betting On Robot-only Production

Canon Inc. is moving toward fully automating digital camera production in an effort to cut costs — a key change being played out across Japan, a world leader in robotics. Canon, the world’s leader in digital cameras with a 20% market share, is building two automated plants in Oita Prefecture that are expected to be fully online by 2015. (May 14, 2012)


Detroit’s Wages Take on China’s


Televisions are being made in the U.S. again, but the effort says as much about marketing as it does about the global shift…


German Maker of Robots Gains as Chinese Wages Rise

New York Times – Apr 13, 2012

Kuka forecasts that growth at its robotics unit this year will outpace the industry, which it expects to expand by about 2 percent. Japanese rivals are also


ArcelorMittal Steel Mill in Indiana Revived With Lessons From Abroad

May 21, 2012, By JOHN W. MILLER

BURNS HARBOR, Ind.—Some steel mills are destroyed by globalization, others reborn.

Left for dead a decade ago, this 50-year-old facility on the shores of Lake Michigan has been rejuvenated thanks to an unusual experiment by its owner, Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal. In 2008, Burns Harbor was “twinned” with a hypermodern mill in Gent, Belgium. Over 100 U.S. engineers and managers, who were flown across the Atlantic, were told: Do as the Belgians do. Burns Harbor now enjoys record output. Its furnaces, where steel is made out of iron ore, coal and limestone, are run with software developed in Belgium. Robots are in. Pencils are out. Workers are learning to make the same amount of steel with nearly half the people it employed three decades ago. Productivity is nearing Belgian levels. The transition hasn’t been seamless. As a collective bargaining session looms this summer, union leaders say a tough battle is expected over wages, safety risks and the next wave of automation. But there is also an acknowledgment that increased productivity has saved the mill from oblivion. American manufacturing—from chemicals to washing machines—is growing again. Spurred by stable labor costs, weaker unions and low natural gas prices, today’s manufacturers have emerged from the recession far different from what they were even a decade ago. They employ more highly skilled workers, are more automated and have far fewer workers.


Remade in the USA: A Crib for Baby: Made in China or Made in USA?


ROBBINSVILLE, N.C.—Stanley Furniture Co. is betting baby cribs are among the few things Americans will pay a hefty premium for just because they carry a “Made in the U.S.A.” label. The 88-year-old company recently shifted its crib manufacturing back to the U.S. from China, to a sprawling factory here that not long ago was earmarked for closure along with Stanley’s other two domestic plants. Today, the Robbinsville factory is an oddity in an industry that has been abandoning the U.S. because of costs: It is growing and investing over $8 million in new machinery. What prompted the move was a …


3D Printing Robot To Impact Annual $8B In Retail Furniture Sales

Tables and chairs for casual dining represent an $8 billion slice of the more than $96 billion annually in retail sales of furniture and home furnishings. A Dutch inventor named Dirk Vander Kooij believes that his 3D printing robot that prints out tables and chairs —from recycled materials, no less— has a more than passing chance to impact that industry in a very big way. (May 08, 2012)


Robotic Assistants May Adapt to Humans in the Factory

06/13/12 — CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — In today’s manufacturing plants, the division of labor between humans and robots is quite clear: Large, automated robots are typically cordoned off in metal cages, manipulating heavy machinery and performing repetitive tasks, while humans work in less hazardous areas on jobs requiring finer detail. But according to Julie…


Hon Hai moving toward automation at China plants

June 17, 2012 TAIPEI–Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (2317.TW) Chairman Terry Gou said Monday that, in a few years’ time, automation will replace all ‘monotonous and repetitive’ tasks performed at the company’s plants …

Rising wages should feed robot boom: experts

China Daily – July 5, 2012

The government should provide fiscal and taxation incentives to encourage increased production of industrial robots.


Report to President Outlines Approaches to Spur Domestic Manufacturing Investment and InnovationRobotic Industries Association Posted 07/19/2012

Final Recommendations of Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Steering Committee
WASHINGTON, DC – A new report released today by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) urges efforts to build on progress to date on improving domestic manufacturing competitiveness and encouraging companies to invest in the United States.


Foxconn May Add Up To One Million Robots To Its Workforce: Report

Huffington Post-Jul 18, 2012

China is expected to surpass Japan as the world’s largest robotics market in two last July to add one million industrial robots to its workforce over three years.


Robots becoming a crucial part of aircraft production

Macon Telegraph (blog)-Jul 25, 2012

Before the use of robots, technicians at Spirit AeroSystems, wearing welders’ Inside Spirit’s 787 hangar, a robot works behind an enclosed cage drilling thick


Robots, Re-shoring and America’s Manufacturing Renaissance

08/02/12 — With Euro financial chaos raging on, China’s industrial engines slowing, and BRIC countries feeling a decided fiscal drag, the U.S., even with its economic rebound still limping along, is looking more and more like a manufacturing renaissance unfolding…ever so slowly. After a decade of globalization, during which the U.S. witnessed much of its manufacturing pride, prowess and jobs get exported worldwide—making such new-age business jargon as off-shoring, near-shoring and on-shoring become painfully too familiar—now comes yet another new term, only this time it is one filled not with more angst but rather with a sense of renewal: re-shoring. Yes, the…


The Next iPhone May Be Made By Robots

WebProNews-Sep 27, 2012

The switch to robot labor has come at a time when Foxconn has been forced to start paying its workers more. Due to FLA audits and riots, Foxconn has agreed to


A Factory of Robots to Make Uniforms

Posted 07/19/12 at 07:32 PM

… There was an uproar when it became known that China is producing the uniforms and flags for the American Olympic team for this year’s London Olympics. … The Pentagon is worried about the same situation regarding our military’s uniforms and has contracted SoftWear Automation to build a complete robotic production facility to cut, assemble and sew uniforms. … A retired GA Tech professor published a paper on the subject – describing a fully automated work cell with vision controlled cutters and sewing machines. … Details here.


The March of Robots Into Chinese Factories

Businessweek-Nov 29, 2012

Step into the factory of Chinese SUV and truck maker Great Wall Motors, and it’s easy to forget you’re in the world’s most populous country. Swiss-made robots


Foxconn Builds, Installs Its Own Robots

11/15/12 — Foxconn, the Chinese electronics manufacturer that builds numerous mobile devices and gaming consoles, has been in the media lately because of labor issues, complaints over working conditions, rumored riots, and even suicides, all occurring in the past few years as demand for smartphones and tablets is skyrocketing. While consumers began…


Coming soon: Robots that help build buildings

Los Angeles Times-by Jon Healey-Nov 13, 2012

In my previous post, I described the potential for a new era of automated manufacturing in which it’s easier for entrepreneurs to create products but harder for


Manufacturing: The new maker rules | The Economist

Big forces are reshaping the world of manufacturing

Nov 24th 2012

Mr Pettis, the founder of MakerBot, a maker of low-cost 3D printers, spoke at the opening of his firm’s first retail store on November 20th in New York. It will sell desktop MakerBots, which make things out of plastic, for just $2,200. It is still early days, but MakerBots and machines like them are “empowering people to make the things they want, rather than buy them from factories,” says Mr Pettis. Certainly 3D printing is hot. Some firms are already using the technology, which is also known as additive manufacturing because it involves building up material layer by layer. It can be used to make such things as prototype cars, hearing aids, customised dolls and medical implants. On the same day that Mr Pettis opened his store, GE announced it had bought for an undisclosed sum Morris Technologies, a Cincinnati firm that uses industrial 3D printers (which cost $500,000 or more) to print objects for engineers. Morris will be printing metal parts for a new GE jet engine.


Labour shortages: Double-digit wage increases

December 11, 2012

The weeks after Chinese New Year are typically peak recruiting season for the factories in southern China, which for three decades have produced toys, jeans and electronics for retailers around the world. This year was markedly different. Factory owners in Dongguan, a city a couple of hours drive from Hong Kong that consists of constellations of factories specialising in different products, reported that they were confronted with a labour shortage.


Emerging Economies and Globalization Drives Automation

ARC Advisory Group-Dec 20, 2012

Automation Expenditures for Discrete Industries Global Business This environment created tremendous growth opportunities for automation equipment for


Hon Hai Hits Obstacles in Push to Use Robots

Wall Street Journal-Dec 11, 2012

Automating production for such items as television sets, game consoles and Apple’s iPhones could be a game changer for Hon Hai, helping it become more




New Generation of Robots Poised to Transform Global Agriculture

04/16/12 — “We’ve started with a clean sheet of paper”, commented Blackmore. “We’re re-evaluating the whole approach to agriculture. At the moment, crops are drilled in straight rows to suit machines, but what if they were drilled to follow the contours of the land, or to take account of the micro level environmental conditions within a portion of a field? The potential boost to production we could generate if harvests were staggered to suit the crop rather than mechanisation is immense. We’re talking about micro tillage, mechanical weeding and planting using small, smart, autonomous, modular machines.” Delegates at the Forum saw demonstrator…


Hygienic Robots Getting More Food Prep Jobs

04/10/12 — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in six people in the United States gets sick from eating contaminated food each year. Foodborne illness is blamed for about 3,000 deaths annually. With 19 states currently in a sushi Salmonela alert and memories still fresh on Germany’s deadly…

Robots on the Farm

05/10/12 — Discovery—Commercial farms of the future may be staffed by robots that will identify, spray and pick individual pieces of produce from plants, even when their targets are grapes, peppers and apples that are as green as the leaves that surround them. As scientists in Israel and Europe get closer to…


Australia’s First Robotic Dairy

05/15/12 — Australia’s first robotic rotary dairy has been opened in a commercial pilot farm in Quamby Brook, Tasmania. The Dornauf family, which owns the dairy farm, had agreed to install the Automatic Milking Rotary (AMR), which has been manufactured and installed by Swedish dairy equipment company DeLaval. FutureDairy project in Australia,…


 Humans No Match For RoboButcher In $23B Poultry Industry

Big-bang innovation in poultry processing may hold an answer; big bang meaning revolutionary, disruptive change, something that redefines the productivity landscape of today’s annual 50 billion pound, $23 billion poultry processing industry. (May 21, 2012)


Kraft Foods Teams with CKF Systems for Robot Efficiencies

06/22/12 — Gloucester-based CKF Systems has designed, installed and commissioned a new automated re-circulating system for Kraft Foods at its Bournville production facility. Kraft recognized that a significant increase in efficiencies could be achieved through the introduction of an automated robot distribution system for its popular Roses and Heroes products. It was also realized that the investment would also benefit the company’s ongoing commitment to the Kraft Foods Sustainability Program– substantially reducing material usage by replacing cardboard boxes with reusable plastic tote bins and cutting daily vehicle movements through more accurate management of fixed cycling schedules. “The complexity and size of the…


Automation to increase farmers yields by 13 per cent

The Standard Digital News-8 hours ago

Software development firm Virtual City is targeting grain farmers with mobile technology aimed at automating processes from farm to market, in an effort to get


Robot Learns to Pick the Sweetest, Ripest Strawberries

Wired News-Aug 6, 2012

Richard Dudley imagines a world where strawberries grow in perfect rows and every day a robot army tastes their colors before harvesting the ripe ones.


Robotic Milkers on Ohio Farm

07/13/12 — That would not have seemed possible 40 or 50 years ago, or even 20 or 30 years ago. But four of these new robots are now milking cows on the Denmandale Farm in Johnson Township. Denmandale Farm is owned and operated by Davis and Betty Denman and their family, daughter…


Down on the farm, Lettuce Bot is quietly slaying weeds

By Tim Hornyak, CNET, Sep 14, 2012

Blue River is working on an agricultural robot that can ID undesirable plants and dispatch them. It could help reduce the cost of organic produce.


This Weed-Killing Robot Dispatches Dandelions with 98 Percent Accuracy

September 13, 2012 – A prototype weed-seeking automaton could change the way seven billion humans eat, as well as help to end industrial agriculture’s reliance on toxic herbicides and itinerant labor.


Wall-Ye Robot Is In Your Vineyard, Prunin’ Your Vines

POSTED BY: Evan Ackerman  /  Thu, September 27, 2012

Ah, booze. The only thing it’s (generally) missing is the sweet and vaguely servo-y taste of robotics. A little robot named Wall-Ye is trying to get involved in the process from the ground up by helping out in vineyards in France, meaning that we’ll get to add “robotolicious” to the official list of wine descriptors.


Robots That Pick Fruit

New types of robots are being developed for harvesting oranges, strawberries and other produce.

10/11/12 , WSJ, By OWEN FLETCHER


Noodle-Making Chef Catches on in China

By Robotics Trends’ News Sources – Filed Oct 16, 2012

In the face of rising labor costs, Chinese restauranteur Cui Runguan is selling thousands of robots that can hand slice noodles into a pot of boiling water called the Chef Cui.


Fruit-Picking Robot Addresses Human Labor Shortage

10/02/12 — It’s sunrise at Hayden Farms in Pasco. Chatter of birds nearby. But on Wednesday morning, wheels, tubes and exhaust cram the orchard.It’s called the DBR. It stands for Dietrich, Brown and Rasch, the last names of the engineers of the machine. It’s robo-farmer of sorts. A newly-engineered machine to assist…


Autonomous robot swarm takes over farm work

New Scientist (blog)-Oct 26, 2012

Move over farmers: soon a swarm of robots could take over all the hard labour. A new robot developed by David Dorhout and colleagues from Dorhout R&D is


Fast Food: Another Robotic Frontier

Posted 10/08/12 at 02:31 PM

… A machine that makes a 10.5” pizza from scratch in 2.5 minutes is beginning to appear in malls, student unions and other public places in Europe.
… A cupcake ATM machine created long lines at a Beverly Hills cupcake store and will soon be showing up in Chicago and New York too.
… And robotic arms are dispensing frozen yogurt and ice cream and sprinkling them with various toppings.
… All have simple-to-use order entry and payment screens and all let the user see what’s going on inside the machine.
… Read the details and get the company names here.


ABB Robots at Work at Honeytop

The company’s flexpicker robots dramatically impact production and changeover time

By Robotics Trends’ News Sources – Filed Dec 26, 2012

After three weeks of production, a brand-new product was introduced in less than an hour without the need for any new investment from Honeytop.” FOOD AND BEVERIDGE PACKAGING: Robots help packagers work more efficiently, increasing output and reducing change over time. But they address hygiene concerns too. One company in the UK saw firsthand the benefits of automation, which helped the pancake producer streamline its packaging process.


Horticulture Specialists and Robotics Engineers Team Up to Automate Australian Agriculture

Perception of Australia as the future “food bowl” for the Asian market is driving innovation

By Robotics Trends’ News Sources – Filed Dec 13, 2012

Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems Salah Sukkarieh at the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies leads a team that is developing robotic devices with the ability to autonomously sense, analyse and respond to their own surroundings.




The Ava robot can take you to aisle 9

Feb 29, 2012, Martin LaMonica

iRobot reorganizes and creates a business unit for its tablet-sporting Ava pedestal robot in retail, security, and health care.


Anybots Now Offering AnyLobby Robotic Staffing Service

Evan Ackerman  /  Thu, February 02, 2012

Do you need a receptionist at your company? Are you having trouble affording another employee? Do you like spending time with robots more than humans? If you answered yes to any of these questions (or all of them), you might want to check out a brand new service being offered by Anybots called AnyLobby that will solve all your problems.


Adept Technology Introduces New Autonomous Transporter

02/06/12 —   Adept Technology, Inc., a leading provider of intelligent robots and autonomous mobile solutions, announced the launch of the new Adept Courier, which the company says represents an innovative new approach to automating the movement of goods. The Adept Courier is a small autonomous vehicle that simplifies the everyday task…


Robots Making Their Way into the Service Industry

February 06, 2012, Julie Griffin

Fortunately, many of us live in a society where we no longer lash out on “the help” if we are having a bad day. Instead, we will still tip our servers properly after rude or aloof service because we sympathize with him or her for having a bad day. Our society is becoming more human. Because of this, we don’t want to enlist people to do our dirty work. So why not make robots do the job?


Portrait-drawing robot shows CeBIT’s artistic side

Mar 07, 2012, Stephen Shankland

The Van Goghs of the world needn’t worry for now, but a robot at CeBIT is drawing portraits of people at the tech show.


Golf slightly less frustrating with robot caddy

Mar 19, 2012, Tim Hornyak

Caddytrek carries your clubs and automatically follows you around the course. It won’t expect a tip after the 18th hole.


The robodoctor will see you now

Apr 12, 2012, Martin LaMonica

Robots in the form of linen-carrying droids and prosthetics are starting to slowly open the path for robotics in health care. Can in-home robots help care for elderly people, too?


Robotic Baristas Now Serving Coffee

05/03/12 — The first version of Briggo went online in November 2011 and it appears to be a hit with students and professors alike. Customers can order drinks off the web, a smart phone app, or at the kiosk itself. Even before ordering, the status of the queue and estimated time for…


Coming soon to a salon near you

3 May 2012, by John_RobotsPodcast

While Panasonic’s legal department may be cringing at the prospect, this shampoo-bot appears to be headed straight for market, where it can relieve busy stylists from the need to also perform shampoos, while providing customers with more thorough shampoos and less water in the eyes. Add a sanitization cycle to keep from passing germs and parasites from one customer to the next (if it doesn’t already have one), and it just might be marketable as is.


Robotic Surgery: Tool-wielding Robots Crawl in Bodies

05/29/12 — Indystar—Imagine a tiny snake robot crawling through your body, helping a surgeon identify diseases and perform operations. It’s not science fiction. Scientists and doctors are using the creeping metallic tools to perform surgery on hearts, prostate cancer, and other diseased organs. The snakebots carry tiny cameras, scissors and forceps, and even more advanced sensors are in the works. For now, they’re powered by tethers that humans control. But experts say the day is coming when some robots will roam the body on their own. “It won’t be very long before we have robots that are nanobots, meaning they will actually…


Robot Lifeguard Swims into Summer…Autonomously

05/30/12 — Ever wondered what Baywatch would have been like with robot lifeguards instead of human ones? It probably would not have the same appeal, but in any case the folks at Hydronalix have come up with a robot lifeguard dubbed E.M.I.L.Y., which we’re sure that most of you guys have figured…


Robotic ‘Fish’ Take to Seas to Catch Pollution Sooner

05/22/12 — MSNBC—In a bid to track sea pollution by mimicking how fish navigate and work together, scientists on Tuesday moved their robotic fish from the lab to the sea. The technology could reduce the time it takes to detect a pollutant from weeks to just seconds, the scientists said in a…


Robotic Guitar Can Replace Three Guitarists

05/25/12 — We already know that musically inclined robots will take up the Beatles mantle in the future, and that they are skilled at reproducing the classic James Bond theme. But just to further show how obsolete human musicians are, Vladimir Demin (MrDeminva on YouTube) built a robotic guitar that can replace a group of guitarists. Normally it takes a group of musicians to play this particular Russian tune. Demin’s actuated player guitar can reproduce the song by itself with such unrelenting tempo and perfect accuracy. The robotic guitar can do this because each fret on the instrument has its own dedicated…


RoboPizza Lands Stateside

06/19/12 — Late-night cravings for pizza may soon be satisfied not by all-night delivery, but by this robot vending machine. Invented by Italians and just now arriving on our fair shores, the Let’s Pizza machine actually creates the pizza more or less from scratch, and then bakes it as you watch. The…


The Robot Mannequin that Mimics You

06/27/12 — Professor Maarja Kruusmaa  working alongside Fits.me COO Diana Saarva has created a virtual fitting room which enables users to virtually try on clothes before buying them. All told, the robot is capable of replicating 2,000 body shapes. When a retailer signs up with Fits.me, they first send in their clothes. Each size is placed on the robot, which then cycles through all the body shapes it knows. While that’s going on, a camera is taking pictures of each permutation. This photographic log is then stored in an online database. Once you go online and type your measurements into the retailer’s site,…


Automated garbage pickup making headway

Tampabay.com – Jun 22, 2012

The county is prepared to change a contract to make it available to communities that want it. . BROOKSVILLE — The County Commission is poised Tuesday to …


Researchers develop prototype automated pavement crack …

Phys.Org – Jun 18, 2012

Sealing cracks in roadways ensures a road’s structural integrity and extends the time between major repaving projects, but conventional manual crack sealing …


My Word: Are robotic teachers the best teachers?

Orlando Sentinel – July 4, 2012

Based on standard end-of-course exams and state standardized tests, robotic teachers are often judged as the best or excellent teachers. Their students often …


CMU’s AndyVision Robot Is In Your Store, Doing Your Inventory

Evan Ackerman  /  Tue, July 03, 2012

Underneath that color-coordinated hoodie is AndyVision, Carnegie Mellon’s inventory assistance robot. It’s programmed to take over the utter drudgery* of daily retail inventory, helping stores figure out what customers want and customers figure out how to get it.


Multilingual robot to guide visitors at Tokyo Tower

Postnoon-Aug 1, 2012

Tokyo: A robot capable of giving information in Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean was welcomed today as the latest feature to Japan’s Tokyo Tower,


Toyota’s New Human Support Robot Gives Disabled Humans a Hand (and an Arm)

POSTED BY: Evan Ackerman  /  Mon, September 24, 2012

We’re always caught slightly off-guard when major Asian electronics companies introduce a new robot with virtually zero warning, like Toyota just did with their Human Support Robot, or HSR. Designed to assist disabled people, the HSR looks like it might be good for all kinds of household tasks whether you’re disabled or not.


Hector: A Robot Who Helps the Elderly

10 Sep 2012 by steve

Hector is a robot designed to assist elderly people who suffer from mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Developed as part of the CompanionAble project by researchers at the Smart Homes foundation in the Netherlands.


QinetiQ’s Talon Robot Tested for Fire Departments

09/05/12 — Marine Corps firefighters from Camp Lejeune and CBRN defense specialists from the 2nd Marine Division  recently tested QinetiQ North America’s Talon robot at its fire department training area. The wireless, remote-control Talon robot carried a payload of CBRN tools, including a radiation detector and a non-invasive temperature probe. Talon robots currently are deployed for improvised…


Future Robot introduces new kiosk robot and sells 100 robots to Brazil

Gizmag-Sep 26, 2012

Future Robot has unveiled a new service robot called FURO-K that will function as a friendly kiosk. The company claims that people often prefer to wait in line to


Underwater robots track sharks off US

NBCNews.com-Oct 19, 2012

An underwater robot is helping to track sand tiger sharks off the East Coast of the United States. It’s the first time a device like this has been used to find and


Japan readies new robot to probe crippled nuclear plant

CNET-Oct 23, 2012

Several robots and other tech are being thrown at the mess north of Tokyo, and Chiba Institute of Technology’s Future Robotics Technology Center (fuRo) is


Da Vinci Surgery Robot Lawsuits Mount, as Bernstein Liebhard LLP

San Francisco Chronicle (press release)-11 hours ago

According to a recent report issued by Citron Research, Intuitive Surgical has been named in at least nine Da Vinci Robot lawsuits alleging bad outcomes


Window Cleaning Robot Can Handle Any Building Configuration

11/21/12 — The R2D2 of window cleaners rolled its way up the side of Dubai’s Dusit Thani Hotel yesterday to show off its polishing prowess for an audience of investors and municipality officials. And the audience – apart from window cleaning companies that rely more on flesh and blood to get the job done – seemed quite impressed. The German engineering company Samad International says it designed the Robo Clean specifically for the UAE. The robot, measuring one metre by 1.5 metres and weighing 60 kilograms, climbs using 22 suction cups to clean 210 square metres of glass an hour.There is no…


YouTube rolls out auto-captions for six European languages

Nov 28, 2012, By Donna Tam

Now people who speak German, Italian, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Dutch can watch videos with automated captions.


This Robo-Griller Can Flip 360 Burgers an Hour

November 26, 2012 – The most expensive part of that flimsy burger from your local fast food joint isn’t what you put in your mouth; it’s the human hands that put it together.


1.5 Million Home Automation Systems Installed in the US This Year

The Herald | HeraldOnline.com-Nov 19, 2012

NEW YORK — The global market for home automation services saw strong growth during 2012, driven by a wave of new entrants and offerings in the North


Robot scanner reads 250 book pages a minute

Nanowerk LLC-Nov 23, 2012

(Nanowerk News) Developed at the Ishikawa Oku Lab at the University of Tokyo, the BFS-Auto book scanning robot can achieve high-speed and high-definition


SkyTender puts automation in airplane aisles

News – Dec 16, 2012, 4:37 PM | By Tim Hornyak

Fresh from its maiden flight, this drink dispenser promises to speed up relief for thirsty passengers.


Wastewater treatment robot is fueled by human sewage

ZDNet-by Heather Clancy-Dec 26, 2012

Summary: This isn’t just potty talk. The experimental EcBot III uses the microbes in human waste to generate electricity, creating power from the water it cleans.


The Robotics Company that could Revolutionize Fast Food

12/19/12 — Science fiction has always positioned the idea that one day our human jobs would be replaced by machines. For those working in burger assembly lines, that day might be sooner than you think. Introducing a machine that makes burgers. Literally, it’s a burger making machine, in prototype, that takes unprepared ingredients like whole tomatoes, onions, uncooked patties, untoasted buns, and spits out a completely assembled burger: Momentum Machines, the San Francisco-based robotics company responsible for the concept, notes that they are aiming to have a functional demo model by June 1st, 2012. About a month ago, the company got a quick…




Brands Start Automating Social Media Responses On Facebook …

TechCrunch – Jun 7, 2012

Companies are struggling to keep up with social media conversations, the growth in this channel has exploded, and will soon automate their responses, …


Financial automation set to keep rising, MathWorks survey says

Automated Trader-Sep 27, 2012

London – Nearly three out of five financial institutions are looking to increase levels of automated trading, according to a survey conducted by computing software


Blame bots for $1.5B in wasted ad spend this year

Shara Tibken, Oct 01, 2012, CNET

Solve Media says 10 percent of all online traffic is generated by bots, which hurt publishers and advertisers by generating fake ad clicks and false user accounts.


Marketing automation becoming easier to manage

BtoB Magazine-Nov 5, 2012

Marketing automation deployment within large enterprises—and often down to the midsize-company level—is increasingly providing marketers with the ability to capture customers’ “digital body language” to inform lead scoring, nurturing and conversions. But even given a maturing of powerful new capabilities, marketers sometimes struggle to strike a balance between technological power and ease of use, and in making sense of a growing number of devices and channels.


Cisco & Dell acquisitions bring datacenter automation center stage

ZDNet-by David Chernicoff-Nov 16, 2012

Automation software for IT has always been an important, if low profile, part of the IT management tool box. Building automation sequences using software tools


Dell Buys Infrastructure Automation Company Gale Technologies

Seeking Alpha-Nov 16, 2012

Dell is making a deeper investment in providing converged infrastructure to automate data center operations with the acquisition of Gale Technologies.


Workload Automation Moves Front and Center in 2013

Wired-Dec 11, 2012

Big Data, cloud computing and mobile devices continue to be the business IT megatrends of the 21st Century’s second decade. Intimately linked to all three, as it


Automation Will Represent the Next Big Step for Biobanks, Says

PR Newswire (press release)-Dec 19, 2012

LONDON, Dec. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Every year, nearly 100 million samples are added to biobanks worldwide. Over 1500 bio repositories exist today and


IT Automation: What Lies Ahead in 2013

IT Business Edge (blog)-Dec 5, 2012

Click through for six IT automation predictions for 2013, as identified by Ben Rosenberg, CEO of Advanced Systems Concepts, Inc. IT environments are


Robot Data Collectors: How to Win in a Device-to-Data Center World

Forbes-Dec 18, 2012

Robot Data Collectors: How to Win in a Device-to-Data Center World … You can think of them as robot data collectors—collecting, culling, and sending back data …




Amazon plunks down $775M for order-fulfiller Kiva Systems

Mar 19, 2012, Rachel King

Kiva boasts scalable and automated material handling systems that will likely be put to work in Amazon warehouses before long.


FedEx Ground Accelerates Package Sorting With Digital Cameras

Clint Boulton, May 25, 2012

Few people know what happens to packages before they reach their doorsteps, but FedEx Ground CIO Ken Spangler was game to tell CIO Journal how the carrier sorts 9 million parcels a day—and how that highly automated process has helped the business grow.Spangler said the average hub in the FedEx Ground network can sort up to 7,500 packages per hour, per sorter. This reliance on automated systems to sort packages reduces human error of misdirected packages, speeding up the sorting process. “Almost everyone that comes to see these [sorting hub] operations says ‘wow, where are all of the people?,’” he said.



Robotic planes, tractors loom behind autonomous cars

May 01, 2012, 2:39 PM | By Martin LaMonica

MIT professor Mary “Missy” Cummings sees autonomous cargo planes and robotic tractors coming to market within three years.


American Packaging Corporation Puts Seegrid Robots To Work

05/29/12 — American Packaging Corporation (APC), a packaging supplier for major brands such as Pringles, Betty Crocker, and Planters, has invested $150 Million in the last 13 years on new equipment and facility upgrades. Following a $17.5 Million expansion of their Columbus, Wisconsin facility, APC needed to move its packaging materials across much longer distances in less time. APC chose to automate the transportation process with Seegrid robotic industrial trucks rather than Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) once it was determined that the labor costs associated with traditional forklift operations were not optimal and AGVs would be more difficult to integrate. The programming…


Asciano flags further automation of ports

The Australian-Jul 18, 2012

Asciano chief executive John Mullen said the capital investment program to redevelop and expand the Sydney terminal, including installation of new handling


Waterfront war looms over port automation plans

Business Spectator-Aug 7, 2012

Waterfront war looms over port automation plans cut 270 of its 511 workers at Port Botany by 2014, replacing them with automated straddle carrier technology.


Gov’t to examine technology for automated cars

Yahoo! News (blog)-Oct 23, 2012

Automated vehicles are the next “evolutionary step” in car technology, David Strickland, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, told an


BHP unveils robot trucks

The Australian-Oct 31, 2012

BHP Billiton has followed Rio Tinto’s lead in using automated and remote technology at West Australian iron ore mines, revealing it plans to run a fleet of robot


Big companies count on technology for supply chain future

The Age-Nov 5, 2012

Two of Australia’s largest enterprises have nominated big data and automation as the emerging technologies and the biggest opportunities for their future supply


Virginia roads to test out automation

Knovel-Nov 6, 2012

Google has gotten the most attention with the recent introduction of its self-driving cars, but automation on the roadways is a growing trend across the industry,


Should Port Workers Be Paid For Work That Disappeared?

By Tom Gara, December 26, 2012

Unions and employees will have one last chance this week to reach a deal and avoid port closures that could cripple trade…




Robots to Mine Near-Earth Asteroids

04/23/12 — Pasadena, CA—New report describes the results of a study sponsored by the Keck Institute for SpaceStudies (KISS) to investigate the feasibility of identifying, robotically capturing, and returning an entire Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) to the vicinity of the Earth by the middle of the next decade.  The KISS study was performed…


Mining future in automation

Fraser Coast Chronicle-Jul 25, 2012

Sandvik Mining automation manager Pieter Prinsloo said when it came to either the Bowen or Galilee basins, there were more discussions than decisions at this


AeroVironment’s Mola Robot Flies Underwater on Solar Power

POSTED BY: Evan Ackerman  /  Tue, August 28, 2012

A mola, or ocean sunfish, is a very big, very flat, and (in this reporter’s opinion) rather silly looking tropical bony fish. Aerovioronment has used the sunfish as an inspiration for one of their latest proof of concept robots: Mola, an oceangoing robot that’s powered by the sun.


Mobile ‘bots work to increase solar panel efficiency (video)

Jason Pepper, Sep 03, 2012 CNET

CNET News correspondent Kara Tsuboi visits Qbotix in Menlo Park, Calif., as the company shows off a new robotic tracking system that pivots solar panels in the direction of the sun.


A Home Automation Primer

PC Magazine-Oct 17, 2012

So, what exactly are we talking about when it comes to home automation? Here are just some of the things you now have the ability to set up and control,


“Our substations need immediate automation

Utility Products-Oct 23, 2012

Our substations need immediate automation. In developed countries, the electrical network is fairly good and is built to adequate capacity, and they have been


How Robots Are Making Solar Power Cheaper

Forbes-by Todd Woody-Oct 31, 2012

Behind a high fence in Menlo Park, Calif. a gray, tuna-shaped robot glides on a monorail around 20 solar panel arrays attached to steel poles, like WALL-E on a


Petroleum companies install automation machine to ensure pure

Times of India-Dec 29, 2012

HUBLI: Hereafter, people can expect to get unadulterated petrol as petroleum companies have started installing automation machines in their petrol pumps in


The future of automation

Australian Mining-Dec 10, 2012

For experts at Sandvik and the CSIRO, the future of automation in mining is already upon us. And while we’ve started to introduce this technology on Australian




Man vs. Machine: Behind the Jobless Recovery

In no other U.S. recovery since WWII have companies been faster to boost spending on machines, while slower to add the people…


In U.S., a Cheaper Labor Pool

Trying to convince workers in Canada to accept a pay cut, Caterpillar is citing lower wages elsewhere. But instead of pointing…

hey can do.


Robots to Create More Than a Million Jobs by 2016

ROBOTICS will be a major driver for global job creation over the next five years.  The announcement is based on a study conducted by the market research firm, Metra Martech, “Positive Impact of Industrial Robots on Employment”, which was published on Thursday in Tokyo.


How Robots Create Jobs

by Adil Shafi, President, ADVENOVATION, Inc.

Posted: 04/04/2012 So, how do robots create jobs? Before we review the math and dynamics of robot jobs, let’s look at a …


Too Many Robotics Jobs, Not Enough Skilled Workers

A recent report from WANTED analytics indicates more than 1,800 jobs for robotics workers were advertised during March, representing a 44-percent increase from one year ago and an 80-percent jump from two years ago. As more surgical and health-related procedures require robotics, employment ads for registered nurses with robotics skills have increased by 21 percent.


Robots Can Replace Chinese Workers

With all of the controversy surrounding Foxconn, one of Apple’s major suppliers in China, including several suicides by workers, Foxconn and other Chinese companies might do well to replace much of their labor force with robots, Klaus Zimmermann writes for Financial Times.


Will Robots and Automation Make Human Workers Obsolete?

Huffington Post – Jun 18, 2012

PBS News Hour recently had a special on the main topic I’ve been writing about here on The Huffington Post and elsewhere: unemployment and inequality …


Could Automation Lead to Chronic Unemployment? Andrew McAfee

Forbes-Jul 19, 2012

Famed economist, John Maynard Keynes, voiced concerns regarding automation in the 1930’s and coined the term “technological unemployment.” In the early


Reconsidering the Human Side of Automated Production

Automation World-Aug 7, 2012

Though the movement to re-shore manufacturing operations is gaining a great deal of attention, the reality is that these projects represent only a small portion of


Global Employment Trends 2012: World faces a 600 million jobs challenge, warns ILO

24 January 2012

The world faces the “urgent challenge” of creating 600 million productive jobs over the next decade in order to generate sustainable growth and maintain social cohesion, according to the annual report on global employment by the International Labour Organization (ILO).


Infographic: Robots & Automation in U.S. Manufacturing

POSTED BY: Evan Ackerman  /  Wed, September 19, 2012

Kuka Robotics put together this nifty infographic describing how manufacturing robots aren’t necessarily evil job stealin’ machines of… evil. It’s especially timely what with yesterday’s big news about a certain robotics company that wants to use robots to make domestic manufacturing more cost effective and efficient, although Rethink is tackling things much differently than big boys like Kuka.


Can Robots Bring Manufacturing Jobs Back to the US?

TIME-Sep 27, 2012

Heading into the 20th century, America was a predominantly rural country. Roughly 40% of the nation’s labor force toiled on farms alongside 22 million work


Automation will soon touch every job on the planet: prediction

SmartPlanet.com (blog)-Sep 25, 2012

Blame automation for much of the lackluster job growth seen in the current economy. In fact, there soon will be few jobs that machines won’t be able to do just as


Automation gives jobs, but also takes them away

Colorado Springs Business Journal

Automation, aided by new technologies, is increasingly replacing labor, changing workplaces and altering the economy in fundamental ways. Just look around


The robot economy and the new rentier class

FT Alphaville, December 10, 2012

It seems more top-tier economists are coming around to the idea that robots and technology could be having a greater influence on the economy (and this crisis in particular) than previously appreciated. Paul Krugman being the latest. But first a quick backgrounder on the debate so far (as tracked by us).


Robots Don’t Destroy Jobs; Rapacious Corporate Executives Do

AlterNet / ByWilliam Lazonick

Worrying about automation distracts us from the real problem: misuse of corporate profits.


Automation is making unions irrelevant | Computerworld Blogs

Patrick Thibodeau, December 13, 2012

The problem with unions is they can’t protect jobs. They can’t stop a company from moving jobs overseas, closing offices, or replacing workers with automation. I grew up in Connecticut, a heavily unionized state. In the post-war period, the state’s industries made typewriters, appliances, bearings, locks, tools. None of them survived. Through the 1960s and into the 1980s, thousands of factory workers lost their jobs, including my father. These jobs were lost because of globalization and changes in technology. The unions did not cause these job losses, and IT workers provide a good example as to why. In Connecticut, the big IT employers are financial services firms, insurance companies mostly. These firms aren’t unionized. In the late 1990s, financial services firms began offshoring work and IT jobs were cut. The same forces that dismantled manufacturing jobs were now attacking highly skilled, knowledge-based jobs.


Better Than Human

By Kevin Kelly, 12.24.12

Imagine that 7 out of 10 working Americans got fired tomorrow. What would they all do?

It’s hard to believe you’d have an economy at all if you gave pink slips to more than half the labor force. But that—in slow motion—is what the industrial revolution did to the workforce of the early 19th century. Two hundred years ago, 70 percent of American workers lived on the farm. Today automation has eliminated all but 1 percent of their jobs, replacing them (and their work animals) with machines. But the displaced workers did not sit idle. Instead, automation created hundreds of millions of jobs in entirely new fields. Those who once farmed were now manning the legions of factories that churned out farm equipment, cars, and other industrial products. Since then, wave upon wave of new occupations have arrived—appliance repairman, offset printer, food chemist, photographer, web designer—each building on previous automation. Today, the vast majority of us are doing jobs that no farmer from the 1800s could have imagined.


Robot Workers: Coexistence Is Possible

Businessweek-Dec 13, 2012

The robots are coming. Resistance is futile. From car factories to microprocessor plants to fulfillment warehouses, a single robot can now handle tasks that once


Rise of the Robots

By PAUL KRUGMAN, NY Times, December 8, 2012,

Catherine Rampell and Nick Wingfield write about the growing evidence for “reshoring” of manufacturing to the United States. They cite several reasons: rising wages in Asia; lower energy costs here; higher transportation costs. In a followup piece, however, Rampell cites another factor: robots.


Robots and Robber Barons

By PAUL KRUGMAN, NY Times Op-Ed December 9, 2012

The American economy is still, by most measures, deeply depressed. But corporate profits are at a record high. How is that possible? It’s simple: profits have surged as a share of national income, while wages and other labor compensation are down. The pie isn’t growing the way it should – but capital is doing fine by grabbing an ever-larger slice, at labor’s expense. Wait – are we really back to talking about capital versus labor? Isn’t that an old-fashioned, almost Marxist sort of discussion, out of date in our modern information economy? Well, that’s what many people thought; for the past generation discussions of inequality have focused overwhelmingly not on capital versus labor but on distributional issues between workers, either on the gap between more- and less-educated workers or on the soaring incomes of a handful of superstars in finance and other fields. But that may be yesterday’s story. More specifically, while it’s true that the finance guys are still making out like bandits – in part because, as we now know, some of them actually are bandits – the wage gap between workers with a college education and those without, which grew a lot in the 1980s and early 1990s, hasn’t changed much since then. Indeed, recent college graduates had stagnant incomes even before the financial crisis struck. Increasingly, profits have been rising at the expense of workers in general, including workers with the skills that were supposed to lead to success in today’s economy. Why is this happening? As best as I can tell, there are two plausible explanations, both of which could be true to some extent. One is that technology has taken a turn that places labor at a disadvantage; the other is that we’re looking at the effects of a sharp increase in monopoly power. Think of these two stories as emphasizing robots on one side, robber barons on the other. …


Robots ready to replace human labour

Bangkok Post-4 hours ago

With the daily minimum wage rising to 300 baht nationwide on Jan 1, businesses are attempting to lower their production costs by turning to machinery and



Burger-making robot could make fast food workers obsolete

DVICE-Nov 30, 2012

Over the last few decades, the fast food industry has remained a bulletproof option for the low wage worker, but thanks to robotics those days appear to coming




Energid Funded by the NSF to Cut Costs for Robotic Manufacturing

03/12/12 —   Energid Technologies Corporation received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) under a two-year project to create robotic manipulation technology for cost-effective manufacturing. The work will make it easy for operators to achieve more with existing hardware capability. Many time-consuming tedious tasks, such as moving and modifying objects, combining…


California’s autonomous car bill inches closer to reality

Apr 11, 2012, Liane Yvkoff

Autonomous car legislation SB 1298 passed the Senate Transportation Committee and is headed to the Senate Rules committee.


Google says California legislators could drive away robotic cars

Jun 25, 2012, 5:33 PM | By Donna Tam

A Google rep tells an Assembly committee that if California passes a bill that removes the ability to have driverless cars eventually, the state is telling technology providers to take autonomous cars elsewhere.


Activists want stronger privacy protections for driverless cars

Jun 25, 2012, 2:00 PM | By Donna TamConsumer Watchdog says Google is going to go willy-nilly with data collection for autonomous vehicles, and the California bill shouldn’t get the green light without more restrictions.


Labor Union Summit Focuses on Automation

MarineLink-Sep 17, 2012

Elsewhere, and in Australia, but also on the introduction of dock automation, MUA National Secretary Crumlin reported on the events leading up to Patrick


Robots Reduce Cost of Science for USGS

Posted 7 Nov 2012

After a contentious election, the US Government will be returning to business as usual soon and one thing both sides agree on is that the cost of government needs to be reduced. A recent report by the US Geological Survey illustrates how robots are helping out with this problem. Airborne scientific observation missions can cost as much as $30,000 per hour. The USGS is replacing these expensive airborne data gathering missions with remotely piloted vehicles, or drones, which can complete an entire mission for $3,000. So far the USGS is using the Honeywell T-Hawk Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) and AeroVironment Raven RQ-11B. The Raven in particular has other advantages over manned missions besides cost.


County upgrades to Accela Automation for land management

Tucson Citizen-Dec 21, 2012

Pima County announced that Accela Automation is its new enterprise software for service delivery to eight Public Works departments.




Robot sales in 2011 exceeded all expectations

Sales increased by 30 percent to about 150,000 units

“The success of the global robotics industry continued in 2011,” said Dr. Shinsuke Sakakibara, IFR President “Investments in robot automation again surged in all regions!” Based on the results of the IFR Quarterly Statistics the IFR estimates that in 2011, sales of industrial robots will reach the new peak level of about 150,000 units. This would be an increase of about 30% compared to 2010.


Why Kiva Is Worth $775 Million to Amazon

Evan Ackerman  /  Thu, March 22, 2012

On Monday, we broke the news that Amazon.com has decided to acquire Kiva Systems for more than three quarters of a billion dollars in cash. This is a heck of a lot of money, even for a company like Amazon, but as soon as you see what Kiva’s robots are capable of, it’ll make perfect sense.


Robotics Industry Off to a Great Start in 2012

Robotic Industries Association Posted 05/01/2012

Ann Arbor, Michigan – North American robotics companies enjoyed one of the industry’s strongest opening quarters ever, according to new statistics released from Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry’s trade group. A total of 5,096 robots valued at $343.8 million were ordered from North American robotics companies through March, increases of 27% in units and 30% in dollars over the same period in 2011. A total of 4,605 robots valued at $299.6 million were shipped to North American customers in the first quarter, the best opening quarter ever for shipments. “It’s clear that the strong demand we saw in our record-breaking year of 2011 has continued into 2012,” said Jeff Burnstein, President of RIA. “The activity is especially strong among automotive OEMs and tier suppliers, where robot orders jumped 42% in the first quarter over a year ago. In fact, automotive-related orders accounted for 65% of the new orders in the first quarter of 2012. Non-automotive orders grew six percent,” Burnstein said.


How to pick Robotics Stocks and what to avoid.

15 May 2012, by IKE_RobotsPodcast

We usually forget that apart from an exciting research field, robotics is also a huge industry. Frank Tobe, Editor and Publisher of The Robot Report describe the robotics stock exchange map from an investor’s perspective. There are numerous companies that are currently active on robotics but only a fraction of them rely heavily on that sector, most of these stocks are influenced by other trends. There are also newly formed companies that aspire to cash in on the hype that surrounds robotics as an exotic and innovative sector without providing evidence that they are a viable and healthy investment. You can read more about robotics stocks in the article from everything-robotic.com and also in the Robot Report.


Russian Internet CEO Begins $25M Robotics Fund

06/15/12 — Daily Herald—Dmitry Grishin, founder of Russia’s mail.ru, believes that the time is right to invest in robotics technology, and help bring robots to the mass market. He believes in it so much that he recently announced the launch of a $25 million venture fund geared toward bringing robots to daily…


Robots in Your Portfolio? Here are the Stocks To Watch

Kapitall Blog (blog)-Jul 20, 2012

In South Korea the Ministry of Information and Communication hopes to put a robot in every home there by 2013. The Japanese Robot Association predicts that


The Robot Report Maps The Future Of Robotics

08/02/12 — For too long, media coverage of robotics has included a great deal of vague statistical data and conjecturing. In part because of the industry’s rapid growth and the discrepancies between pure-play robotics companies and those who dabble in the business, it’s difficult to see exactly how big the industry is, and where its epicenter(s) lie.  The need for data-gathering tools in this sector is greater than ever if researchers, investors and business owners hope to stay ahead of the game. The Robot Report is taking up the charge by building an interactive map of robotics start-up companies, and expanding it with the help of…


Robotic Start-up Companies – A Glimpse At Our Robotic Future

Posted 08/12/12 at 08:44 PM

… Thank you for helping by adding 40 new robotic start-up companies to our list … But don’t stop now. Please add to our list of global robotic start-up companies by sending information to info@therobotreport.com. Thank you. … Click to see 159 global robotic start-up companies (name, city, website link). … PS: In addition to the 159 start-ups shown on this map, there are 850+ industrial and service robot vendors – established companies – plus 250 research labs and 650 ancillary businesses in our directories. See left column, at the top.


iRobot sucks up Mint maker Evolution Robotics

By Tim Hornyak, CNET, Sep 17, 2012

The $74 million acquisition of California-based Evolution Robotics brings the Mint floor cleaner into the iRobot fold, as well as navigation technologies.


Brooks Automation cuts 150 jobs

Boston Herald-Sep 18, 2012

Chelsmford-based Brooks Automation Inc. said it expects to cut as many as 150 jobs to reduce its operating costs and improve profitability, the company


Interactive Map of Global Robot Providers

… 200+ industrial robot makers (red markers); 600+ service robot providers (blue markers) and 170+ start-up companies (green markers) covering 37 countries around the world.
… Clusters can be seen surrounding the top 20 robotics universities and research labs (shown in yellow). … Details here. … Map here.


Recent funding for robotics companies

Posted 11/24/12 at 03:31 PM

MAKO Surgical gets $43 million from the sale of common stock. MAKO produces a robotic orthopedic surgical platform for implant placement. MAKO’s stock (NASDAQ:MAKO) has had a dramatic downward ride from a high of $45 to it’s present $14 because of missed revenue and earnings projections.
Revolve Robotics, a San Francisco start-up with a remote telepresence device, shared a $1.85 million round of funding with 4 other start-up companies in the LEMNOS Labs stable of hardware incubator companies.
Unmanned Innovation, a Newport Beach, CA start-up also in the LEMNOS Labs incubator group, is a producer of auto-pilot components for UAVs and also shares in the $1.85 million funding round.


Brooks Automation Profit Soars On Tax Benefit; Sees Weak Q1

NASDAQ-Nov 8, 2012

(RTTNews.com) – Brooks Automation Inc. (BRKS) on Thursday reported a Steve Schwartz, President and CEO of Brooks Automation said, “Strength in our


Brooks Automation is cutting 100 jobs as it reduces its workforce by

Boston.com-Dec 19, 2012, By Chris Reidy, Globe Staff

Brooks Automation Inc., a Chelmsford-based provider of automation, vacuum, and instrumentation products for such markets as the semiconductor industry, said it will cut 100 jobs, or 6 percent, of its workforce as it looks to “achieve cost synergies” following an acquisition and to improve profitability in a tough economic environment. The company added that 29 jobs of the jobs being be cut are in Massachusetts. The cuts will leave Brooks with a Bay State headcount of 605 employees. Brooks recently acquired Crossing Automation Inc.


German Automation Growth Spurt Expected to Slow

Automation World-Dec 4, 2012

The enormous growth spurt a lot of German automation companies—and many of their customers—have been experiencing since 2009 is expected to slow for




New technologies spread arrival of robots into our lives


Robots, it seems, are everywhere, from microbots, which are tiny black dots, to bots that resemble bees and bats, to gigantic models.


Single-atom transistor built with precise control

Feb 19, 2012, Martin LaMonica

Seeking to keep Moore’s Law on pace, researchers have developed a repeatable technique for assembling a single-atom version of the transistor–the building block of semiconductors and computers.


The Future of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Is Open

POSTED BY: William Hertling  /  Thu, April 05, 2012

At South by Southwest Interactive last month, I debated the future of artificial intelligence with my co-panelists. The roboticist on the panel argued that AI is an intellectually challenging field where the problems are difficult, and therefore can be solved only by highly intelligent people working on obscure mathematics and algorithms. The future, he argued, will look much like the past: a series of incremental, hard-won improvements in very narrow fields.


African Project Aims To Innovate in Educational Robotics

Erico Guizzo  /  Tue, May 01, 2012

Abibiman mma a wɔn anigye robot ho, yɛnkambom!

That’s how you say, “African robot enthusiasts unite!” in Twi, one the main native languages in Ghana, a vibrant nation of 25 million people in West Africa. Roboticists there and in the United States are launching today an initiative to enhance robotics education, research, and industry in Africa. The African Robotics Network (AFRON) wants to mobilize a community of institutions and individuals working on robotics-related areas, strengthening communication and collaboration among them.


New-look Moon Rover Robot to Land in 2014

05/24/12 — The lunar rover ‘Asimov’ due to land on the Moon in 2014, will be the first autonomously navigated rover on the Moon. It’s autonomous navigation system is a major technological leap. While the Russian Moon rovers Lunokhod 1 and 2 in the early 70s were fully controlled from Earth, today’s Mars rovers like NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover ‘Opportunity’, which has been tirelessly exploring the Red Planet since 2004, are autonomous. However, Opportunity requires nearly three minutes to process a pair of images — a delay that causes it to move at an average speed of just 1 cm/sec or less…


Robotic Arm Weaves A Structure Like A Spider

05/01/12 — First, this is not a robotic spider, it’s a non-autonomous robotic arm pre-programmed to weave a structure out of its own surroundings. Down the road, the researchers plan to make the robotic arm autonomous so it can sense where objects are and build its own structure to fit the surroundings.…


Who Is To Blame When A Robotic Car Crashes?

06/11/12 — Society must make two big leaps in order to enable truly self-driving cars. The first is technological. Engineers need to improve today’s cars (which can warn a driver that he’s drifting out of his lane) beyond current Google and Darpa prototypes (which maintain the lane on their own) to the…


Automation may cut traffic deaths

Detroit Free Press – Jun 13, 2012

Automated vehicles could be the technology leap that significantly reduces U.S. fatalities because of car crashes, a top safety official said Wednesday at the first …


Robotic Fingertip More Sensitive than Human Touch

06/21/12 — Researchers at USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering have created a robotic fingertip that is more sensitive to the touch than an actual human fingertip, an achievement which could greatly aid prostheses and advance artificial intelligence. Called BioTac, the tiny machine is a “new type of tactile sensor built to mimic the human fingertip, using a newly designed algorithm to make decisions about how to explore the outside world by imitating human strategies.” The sensor was only rarely confused by pairs of similar textures, between which humans could not differentiate at all. USC Professor of Biomedical Engineering Gerald Loeb, who is…


FACE Robot Mimics Human Facial Expressions, Aims To Cross

Huffington Post-Jul 16, 2012

Modeled after a research team member’s wife, the robot was created to show a wide range of human facial expressions, with the goal of going beyond the


Czech Republic Aims to be Home of Robotics and Wide-ranging Research

07/11/12 — Eurasia—In 1920, Czech writer Karel Capek introduced the word ‘robot’ to the world. His play R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots) was a work of science fiction, but robots, albeit very different from how Capek imagined them, are rapidly becoming a reality today. Their development is being helped by groundbreaking research taking place in the Czech Republic, a country with a long history of innovation in many fields. The Czech Technical University (CTU) in Prague, the oldest institute of technology in Central Europe, stands at the forefront of robotics research. Teams there are working on a range of technologies that promise great advances…


Robot divers to report on Lake Superior’s depths

Minnesota Public Radio-Aug 7, 2012

DULUTH, Minn. — With its frigid, often ice-choked water and legendary storms, Lake Superior can be a dangerous place for scientists to conduct research.


Robot chauffeurs: Google self-driving cars log 300K miles

VentureBeat-Aug 7, 2012

Google announced today that its self-driving cars have logged over 300000 miles without a single accident — a step closer to being able to say, “Look Mom,


Japan building robot that would pass college exams

Tim Hornyak, CNET, Sep 12, 2012

Researchers have teamed up to create an AI that would be smart enough to pass the notoriously difficult entrance exams to the University of Tokyo. Don’t expect it to help with your homework though.


Pentagon Robot Is Faster Than Usain Bolt—and Freaks the Hell Out of Me

September 5, 2012 – This is freaking scary. This is even scarier than Big Dog. It’s the latest version of the Pentagons’s newest Cheetah robot and it now runs faster than Usain Bolt.


Why Driverless Cars Are Inevitable—and a Good Thing

The driverless car is coming. And Dan Neil says we all should be glad it is. 09/24/12 WSJ


Kinect@Home Wants to Start 3D Scanning the World

POSTED BY: Evan Ackerman  /  Wed, August 29, 2012

Back in January, Adept’s Erin Rapacki told us all that it’s time to start 3D scanning the world. We agree with her, but it’s not an easy thing to actually go and, you know, do. There are approximately 975 bajillion different objects out there in the world that robots need to know how to interact with, and the only way we’re going to learn about them all (short of Google throwing approximately 975 bajillion dollars at the problem) is through a cooperative, crowdsourced effort like this new project called Kinect@Home.


10 Amazing Robots We Met in 2012

Mashable-Nov 26, 2012

That doesn’t mean robots weren’t on our mind this year. And if your absurdly quaint notion of free will leads you to suggest a robot that didn’t make our list,


New Artificial Muscle Could Replace Traditional Motors in Robots

11/28/12 — New artificial muscles made from nanotech yarns and infused with paraffin wax can lift more than 100,000 times their own weight and generate 85 times more mechanical power than the same size natural muscle, according to scientists at The University of Texas at Dallas and their international team from Australia, China, South Korea, Canada and Brazil. The artificial muscles are yarns constructed from carbon nanotubes, which are seamless, hollow cylinders made from the same type of graphite layers found in the core of ordinary pencils. Individual nanotubes can be 10,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair, yet…


Robot Skin Paves the Way for Healable Devices

11/14/12 — U.S. researchers, led by Zhenan Bao of Stanford University in California, have created a flexible, touch-sensitive, electrically conducting and pressure-sensitive polymer-based material that could have ‘e-skin’ applications for robots or prosthetic body parts, such as artificial hands. The polymer matrix consists of a network of randomly branched oligomers that contain…


Academics to Study Threat of Robot Uprising

11/27/12 Robots and intelligent machines rising up against their creators has long been the stuff of science fiction. But could it…




Edifici intelligenti, meglio se made in Italy

La Repubblica-Nov 4, 2012

Milano Q uasi due miliardi di euro: tanto pesa l’industria italiana fornitrice di tecnologie per la sicurezza e automazione edifici. Un settore in profonda


Ristrutturazione industriale per Amorim Cork Italia

Tribuna Economica-Nov 20, 2012


La vera rivoluzione della robotica di servizio

Data manager online-by giuseppe mariggiò-Nov 13, 2012

Non tutti sanno che l’Italia è il secondo integratore di robotica in Europa. Anche ABB, leader mondiale nell’automazione robotizzata, punta sulla robotica


Vorwerk lancia il robot Folletto

DDay.it – Digital Day-Nov 30, 2012

Si chiama Folletto VR100 ed è il nuovo robot aspirapolvere di Vorwerk, l’azienda tedesca nota per il Folletto, da oltre settant’anni in Italia sinonimo di


Italian Robotic Surgery System Requires a Single Incision

By Robotics Trends’ News Sources – Filed Oct 31, 2012

A team of scientists in Italy have been working on a unique robotic surgery system.They hope that one day robots could take over the work of surgeons in operation theatres.
Gianluigi Petroni is one of the biomedical engineers at the SSSA Biorobotics Institute, he describes one of the procedures that robots could soon be performing: “The robot enters the patient’s body via the navel. We firstly insert a small capsule. Then the two robotic arms are inserted through this capsule one by one. Once inside, the robot is configured to be remotely controlled by the surgeon.”


Robots Replace Gardeners as Sales Surge for Auto-Mowers

Businessweek-Oct 23, 2012

(DE) and Global Garden Products Italy SpA this year started offering robotic mowers, which Husqvarna sells for as much as 5,000 euros ($6,487). Honda Motor




Japanese Robot Manufacturers Realize Increase in Sales in 2011

RobotWorx Posted 01/20/2012

Despite the most devastating disaster in Japan since WWII, industrial robot manufacturers based in Japan saw their sales increase in the first three quarters of 2011. About one-third of all industrial robot orders originate in Japan, largely due to highly robotic automotive assembly lines. Industrial spot welding robots, such as the Motoman UP165 pictured, are a common sight in automotive factories. Yaskawa Robotics (the parent company for Motoman Robotics), FANUC Robotics, and Kawasaki’s robot division made up the three industrial robot manufacturers that saw the largest sales increases. Yaskawa’s sales were up 46% from the previous fiscal year. FANUC saw a 6% increase, and Kawasaki also saw significant gains.


Japan’s Robots Defy Trade Trend

01/25/12, WSJ

Japan’s grim trade data make it easy to miss the success stories—like export-dependent industrial-robot maker Fanuc, which…


Toyota aims to put robots to use early next decade | Reuters

Reuters UK – Mar 9, 2012

Unveiling two new robots called the “mobility robot” and the “violin-playing robot,” Japan’s top automaker said it would step up research and development in


SushiBot Rolls Out 3600 Pieces Per Hour

Wired News – Apr 6, 2012

Would-be sushi moguls take note: Suzumo has a line of sushi robots that might fulfill your 24-7 maki-making fantasies. The Japanese company is displaying


Toyota’s latest processes have less automation and more…

Economic Times – Feb 6, 2012

Carmakers globally increasingly believe that automation is the way to keep longterm The Japanese carmaker, whose famed production system has won many


ADAM Robots Introduced into Japanese Market

05/23/12 — RMT Robotics entered into a sales representative agreement with eepos Japan for the promotion and sale of its ADAM mobile robots in Japan. Eepos Japan will work with RMT to promote and sell the AMR fleets to end users throughout Japan with a strategic focus on the automotive manufacturing and…


Japan’s Most Closely Guarded Secret in Industrial Robotics

The goal: combining the intelligence of the human being with the characteristics of industrial robots for human-collaboration robotics operating in real-life work environments. (May 25, 2012)


Japan Robot Lab Readies Second Prototype for Work at Crippled Nuclear Reactor

PCWorld – May 25, 2012

A Japanese robotics lab has developed a new emergency response prototype that will soon be put to work at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in…


Robots Get a Makeover in Factories

Wall Street Journal – May 31, 2012

Companies including Japan’s Kawada Industries Inc. and Fanuc Corp. and Switzerland-based ABB Ltd. are developing dexterous robots to perform such


TinyBot: The MH-2 Mimics Human Actions

05/31/12 — Japanese researchers have taken another step into the dimension of weird for robotics: a wearable miniature humanoid virtual presence. The robot, called MH-2, allows friends or family to virtually interact through the virtual presence device so you do not feel alone. The MH-2 acts as an avatar, or a remote…


Google’s Robot Auto Has New Rival in RoboCar HV

06/12/12 — ResponseJP—Last year, Tokyo-based robot venture ZMP introduced the RoboCar MEV mini car, single-person, 4-wheeled, autonomous, electric robotic vehicle. For 2012, ZMP has topped itself with robot car that this time really looks like a car. Watch out Google! The Robocar HV, based, according to Response JP, on the Toyota Prius,…


Japanese launch 4.5-tonne gun-toting robot controlled by smartphone

The Guardian-Jul 30, 2012

Japanese launch 4.5-tonne gun-toting robot controlled by smartphone The massive robot, called Kuratas, is controlled either by a human pilot in a mid-torso


A Robot Sex Doll. From The Future.

Kotaku-Aug 7, 2012

A Robot Sex Doll. From The Future. An example of the genre – one wildly popular in Japan – is Katawa Shoujo, released earlier this year. Paragon Sexa Doll


These Robots Install Solar Panels

Mashable-Jul 25, 2012

PV Kraftwerker built its robot from off-the-shelf Japanese components. The machinery consists of a robotic arm mounted on an all-terrain vehicle with tanklike




DARPA Wants to Give Soldiers Robot Surrogates, Avatar Style

Evan Ackerman  /  Fri, February 17, 2012

In the movie Avatar, humans hooked themselves up to brain-machine-interface pods with which they could control giant genetically engineered human-alien hybrids. It’s just a movie, but DARPA, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, doesn’t care: It wants this kind of system to be real, just replace “giant genetically engineered human-alien hybrids” with “robots.”


Navy Chief: Robotic Subs Might Span Oceans. (Someday.)

Spencer Ackerman, March 19, 2012

It’s been the Navy’s dream for years: undersea drones that can swim entire oceans. But it’s been thwarted by science’s inability to build propulsion and fuel systems for a journey of that length. Still, the Navy’s top officer and its mad scientists think that some recent research could help turn the dream into an ocean-crossing reality.


Advanced Israeli Drone May Spy on Mexican Drug Cartels

Robert Beckhusen, March 15, 2012 

Israel isn’t keeping its latest advanced spy drone for itself. It’s going south of the U.S. border, probably purchased by the Mexican government. The cartel war may be about to get a lot more robotic.


Darpa to Troubled Soldiers: Meet Your New Simulated Therapist

Katie Drummond, April 20, 2012

The Pentagon hasn’t made much progress in solving the PTSD crisis plaguing this generation of soldiers. Now it’s adding new staff members to the therapy teams tasked with spotting the signs of emotional pain and providing therapy to the beleaguered. Only this isn’t a typical hiring boost. The new therapists, Danger Room has learned, will be computer-generated “virtual humans,” used to offer diagnostics, and programmed to appear empathetic.


Hundreds of Warbots Will Join Cops’ Ranks

Spencer Ackerman, April 9, 2012

The war in Iraq is (mostly) over. The war in Afghanistan is (slowly, incompletely) ending. And yet the new battlefield robots produced by a decade of war are having an easier transition to peacetime than some human veterans. The robots are simply trading their fatigues for the blue uniforms of American police.


iRobot Warrior, PackBot go to work at S.C. nuclear plant

Apr 02, 2012, Tim Hornyak

With a tour of duty in Japan’s Fukushima under their belt, iRobot’s military robots are now working at a U.S. nuclear plant as part of routine operations.


RoboCops Now Guarding South Korean Prisons

Evan Ackerman  /  Mon, April 16, 2012

The next time you find yourself in a South Korean prison (and don’t worry, it happens to the best of us), this not especially friendly looking robot is going to be either your new best buddy or your new worst enemy. But probably the latter.


EFF Warns of Police Drone Privacy Concerns

The EFF has issued an appeal to local governments to institute privacy protections against the misuse of drones by local law enforcement agencies. The FAA’s initial rules for allowing flying robots into the National Airspace System were announced on 14 May. Many law enforcement agencies are already obtaining and flying drones but they’re not likely to volunteer that information. It took an EFF Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to make the FAA release the list of who has been approved to fly spy drones over US cities. When local newspapers in Seattle found out from the EFF that police had purchased two drones and made survellience plans without informing the City Council, the Washington ACLU called for the city to develop policies to safeguard privacy and free speech rights.


U.S. Drones Can Now Kill Joe Schmoe Militants in Yemen

Noah Shachtman, April 26, 2012

In September, American-born militant Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen. In the seven months since, the al-Qaida affiliate there has only grown in power, influence, and lethality. The American solution? Authorize more drone attacks — and not just against well-known extremists like Awlaki, but against faceless, nameless, low-level terrorists as well. A relentless campaign of unmanned airstrikes has significantly weakened al-Qaida’s central leadership in Pakistan, American policymakers say. There, militants were chosen for robotic elimination based solely on their intelligence “signatures” — their behavior, as captured by wiretaps, overhead surveillance and local informants. A similar approach might not work in this case, however. “Every Yemeni is armed,” one unnamed U.S. official told the Wall Street Journal. “So how can they differentiate between suspected militants and armed Yemenis?”


Army Readies Its Mammoth Spy Blimp for First Flight

David Axe, May 22, 2012

TAMPA, Florida — Sure, it took an extra year or so, but Northrop Grumman has finally penciled in the first flight of the giant surveillance airship it’s building for the U.S. Army. The Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle — a football-field-size, helium-filled robot blimp fitted with sensors and data-links — should take to the air over Lakehurst, New Jersey, the first or second week of June. K.C. Brown, Jr., Northrop’s director of Army programs, crows: ”We’re about to fly the thing!” It’s fair to say Northrop and the Army are crossing their collective fingers for the flight to actually take place, and smoothly. Giant airships promise huge benefits — namely, low cost and long flight times — but it’s proved incredibly hard to build and equip the massive blimps with military-grade sensors and communications … and fill them with helium.


First-time Demo of Wireless Through-the-earth Command and Control of a Robotic Vehicle

06/12/12 — ChronicleHerald—An abandoned coal mine near Springhill, Nova Scotia was the test site this winter for an underground robot communications system developed by Ultra Electronics Maritime Systems Inc. of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. “We wanted to validate the capabilities of the system under the most realistic conditions possible,” Steve Parsons, business development manager at Ultra, said Monday in an interview. It was a first-time demonstration of wireless through-the-earth command and control of a remotely operated robotic vehicle, Parsons said. “It’s the first time the capabilities of this technology have been successfully placed on a robot,” he said. “There are a few other…


Throwbot Packs Big Capability Boost in Small Package

06/08/12 — Defense News—Recon Robotics, maker of the Recon Scout XT throwable robot — now officially renamed the Throwbot XT in a nod to its cooler-sounding nickname — has made a big change to a small package. The company already has 3,700 Throwbots in use in 30 countries around the world, but none of those systems has the capability that the company is unveiling today: a microphone so users can hear what’s going on around the robot once it’s tossed into a building or over a wall. The microphone added no weight to the 1.6-pound robot, said Ernest Langdon, the company’s director…


Revealed: 64 Drone Bases on American Soil

Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, June 13, 2012

We like to think of the drone war as something far away, fought in the deserts of Yemen or the mountains of Afghanistan. But we now know it’s closer than we thought. There are 64 drone bases on American soil. That includes 12 locations housing Predator and Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles, which can be armed.


US Military Wants Drones in South America, But Why?

Spencer Ackerman, June 12, 2012

Flying, spying robots are addictive. Every military commander who has them wants more. Those who don’t have them covet their colleagues’ supply. And according to Air Force planning, they’re about to go to the military’s redheaded, drone-poor stepchild: the command overseeing South America.


Europe Wants Drones to Spot Illegal Immigrants at Sea

Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, July 26, 2012

The European Union wants robotic eyes on incoming immigrants. As part of a $410 million proposal to improve border security, the European Commission, the executive body of the Union, is considering a deployment of drones above the Mediterranean Sea to keep an eye on illegal immigrants. Alongside increased satellite activity, “sensors mounted on any platforms, including manned and unmanned aerial vehicles” would keep a close watch on unauthorized immigration activity in the Mediterranean Sea, according to the European agency in charge of the EU’s borders.


Russia Is Stockpiling Drones to Spy on Street Protests

Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, July 25, 2012

Small surveillance drones are starting to be part of police departments across America, and the FAA will soon open up the airspace for more to come. This drone invasion has already raised all kinds of privacy concerns. And if you think that’s bad, across the ocean, Russia seems hell-bent on outdoing its former Cold War enemy.


Super-Silent Owl Drone Will Spy on You Without You Ever Noticing

Robert Beckhusen, July 19, 2012

For spy tools, drones are pretty easy to spot. And hear, because they’re as loud as a gut-busting rock concert. But now the intelligence community’s research division, Iarpa, plans to start designing a silent drone inspired by quiet, creeping, flying owls. Darpa has reportedly awarded a $4.8 million contract to Connecticut firm D-Star Engineering to develop the ultra-quiet drone, Aviation Week reports. It’s the next step in developing a workable drone as part of the agency’s Great Horned Owl Program, which the agency hopes will let the military collect intelligence “without anyone knowing you are there,” (.pdf) according to an agency briefing.


Robotic Cameras Will Snap Pictures at the 2012 Olympics

07/10/12 — Cameras with swiveling, nimble robotic heads will be deployed by photographers who work for Getty Images, the official agency of the International Olympics Committee. The robotic heads will be perchedon scaffolding above several of the sporting sites. The photographers themselves will be stationed below with what one Getty photographer described…


Flight of The Mystery Drone: Bird ‘Bot Flew over Iraq

Spencer Ackerman, September 17, 2012

It wasn’t just Pakistan. The weird, vaguely avian drone of unknown origin that curiously showed up in Pakistan last year apparently made a different flight — to Iraq. It may have even migrated to Pakistan from Basra. In August 2011, Pakistani forces recovered a small, silver, unarmed aircraft that had crashed in Balochistan province. With silver wings and a span about the size of a grown man’s outstretched arms, the drone was clearly more than a hobbyist’s toy: the remains of a camera were near the crash site, a camera that fit into the robotic bird’s belly, ostensibly for spying on insurgents. No one claimed responsibility for the drone, but when Danger Room checked into it, we found it suspiciously reminiscent of Festo’s SmartBird, a drone that used the herring gull to inspire its design, although there were enough differences in the wings, tail and fuselage to render it distinct.


Army Wants Tiny Suicidal Drone to Kill From 6 Miles Away

Spencer Ackerman, September 10, 2012

Killer drones just keep getting smaller. The Army wants to know how prepared its defense-industry partners are to build what it calls a “Lethal Miniature Aerial Munition System.” It’s for when the Army needs someone dead from up to six miles away in 30 minutes or less. How small will the new mini-drone be? The Army’s less concerned about size than it is about the drone’s weight, according to a recent pre-solicitation for businesses potentially interested in building the thing. The whole system — drone, warhead and launch device — has to weigh under five pounds. An operator should be able to carry the future Lethal Miniature Aerial Munition System, already given the acronym LMAMS in a backpack and be able to set it up to fly within two minutes.


29 Dead in 8 Days as U.S. Puts Yemen Drone War in Overdrive

Noah Shachtman, September 5, 2012

29 dead in a little over a week. Nearly 200 gone this year. The White House is stepping up its campaign of drone attacks in Yemen, with four strikes in eight days. And not even the slaying of 10 civilians over the weekend seems to have slowed the pace in the United States’ secretive, undeclared war.


New Commercial Aerial Drone Introduced

Posted 10/09/12 at 05:17 PM … senseFly, a Swiss start-up, launched their new eBee aerial photography drone with funding from a recent equity investment by Parrot (of AR.Drone quadcopter fame). With it’s 3’ wingspan the eBee can fly for 45 minutes in up to 25 mph winds. … Two kinds of software drive the eBee: one to create a flight path and the other to turn the 2D geotagged images into 3d maps and reports…. Two videos explain the process.


Robot to help Oregon police

Toledo Blade-Oct 29, 2012

The Oregon Police Division will be getting some significant upgrades thanks to a corporate donation and money from a federal grant. A $15,000 donation from


US Navy’s robotic firefighter

Telegraph.co.uk-Oct 25, 2012

The aluminium robot named Ash (Autonomous Shipboard Humanoid), sponsored by the Office of Naval Research, will serve to tackle flames in thick smoke.


Pentagon To Replace Mine-Clearing Dolphins With Robots


But now, due to escalating costs and a viable robotic alternative, the Sea the US military used herds of goats to clear minefields in Italy during World War II).


Japan Produces Its Own Bot to Inspect Fukushima Plant

By Robotics Trends’ News Sources – Filed Oct 19, 2012

Researchers have built a new and more nimble camera-carrying robot to climb stairs inside the Fukushima No. 1 plant and deliver images from areas where radiation levels remain dangerously high.


U.S. Air Force in Afghanistan Fueled by Automation

November 1, 2012

For military operations around the globe, one of the biggest logistics challenges is to manage critical fuel resources. Building a fuel transfer system for the Bagram Air Force Base (AFB), a U.S. military operation about 40 miles north of Kabul, Afghanistan, posed a greater than normal number of challenges. The equipment must withstand unforgiving surroundings, from a mountainous terrain to a harsh climate that is hot and dry in summer and cold and wet in winter. Pendant Automation was tapped to meet these challenges by designing a fuel transfer system with16 diesel storage tanks and 30 generator day tanks. The control system had to automatically transfer the fuel so personnel would not have this daily chore. Ruggedness was a key factor in the project.


Military Stats Reveal Epicenter of U.S. Drone War

Noah Shachtman, November 9, 2012

Forget Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and all the other secret little warzones. The real center of the U.S. drone campaign is in plain sight — on the hot and open battlefield of Afghanistan. The American military has launched 333 drone strikes this year in Afghanistan. That’s not only the highest total ever, according to U.S. Air Force statistics. It’s essentially the same number of robotic attacks in Pakistan since the CIA-led campaign there began nearly eight years ago. In the last 30 days, there have been three reported strikes in Yemen. In Afghanistan, that’s just an average day’s worth of remotely piloted attacks. And the increased strikes come as the rest of the war in Afghanistan is slowing down.

Robocod: Homeland Security adds underwater drones to their arsenal with robots based on fish

29 Nov 2012 Meet Robocod, the latest weapon in Homeland Security’s increasingly high-tech underwater arsenal, a robotic fish designed to safeguard the coastline of America and bring ‘justice’ to the deep. Well almost. The new robot, named BioSwimmer, is actually based not on a cod but a tuna which is said to have the ideal natural shape for an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV). Its ultra-flexible body coupled with mechanical fins and tail allow it to dart around the water just like a real fish even in the harshest of environments. Thanks to CLG <http://www.legitgov.org/#breaking_news> for bringing this story to my attention.


Navy Preps Killer Drone for First Carrier Launch

David Axe, 11.30.12

While China conducts, and celebrates, the first jet takeoffs and landings on its new aircraft carrier Liaoning, the U.S. Navy is aiming to do even better. In a parallel series of tests this week, the sailing branch has taken huge steps towards deploying the first carrier-based robotic warplane.


Pentagon: A Human Will Always Decide When a Robot Kills You

Spencer Ackerman, 11.26.12

The Pentagon wants to make perfectly clear that every time one of its flying robots releases its lethal payload, it’s the result of a decision made by an accountable human being in a lawful chain of command. Human rights groups and nervous citizens fear that technological advances in autonomy will slowly lead to the day when robots make that critical decision for themselves. But according to a new policy directive issued by a top Pentagon official, there shall be no SkyNet, thank you very much. Here’s what happened while you were preparing for Thanksgiving: Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter signed, on November 21, a series of instructions to “minimize the probability and consequences of failures” in autonomous or semi-autonomous armed robots “that could lead to unintended engagements,” starting at the design stage (.pdf, thanks to Cryptome.org). Translated from the bureaucrat, the Pentagon wants to make sure that there isn’t a circumstance when one of the military’s many Predators, Reapers, drone-like missiles or other deadly robots effectively automatizes the decision to harm a human being.


How Israeli Drone Pilots Made Their Life-and-Death Choices Over Gaza

Noah Shachtman, 11.22.12

JERUSALEM — The man was a few seconds from an all-but-certain death, when Gil told everyone to call off the airstrike. This was Sunday. Gil, a captain in the Israeli Air Force, was sitting in a green-painted metal box on the Palmahim Air Base, south of Tel Aviv. In front of him was a joystick and a set of screens. They showed footage of a Gaza slum, taken by an unarmed Israeli spy drone with an infrared sensor. Gil had the sensor display a dark shade for heat. Which gave the images on Gil’s screen an inverted feel; white was black, and black was white. The man, Gil’s superior officers told him, was a known Hamas terrorist. The neighborhood, a militant haven. So when the black blotch of a man stepped out into the alley, and began to fiddle with dark strings that looked suspiciously like wires, Gil’s Colonel gave the order to a second aircraft, flying nearby: Take this man out. He’s setting up a booby trap for our soldiers.


U.S. Navy Ramps Up Robot Deployment in the Persian Gulf

11/15/12 — The United States Navy is rushing more of the newest unmanned mine-clearing technology to the Persian Gulf while creating two new sets of crews to operate minesweepers in the region, Navy officials said Wednesday. The effort is intended to balance a renewed American emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region while sustaining…


Navy Test-Fires Missiles from Robot Boats

11/08/12 — U.S. Navy ships face the growing threat of small boat swarms used by terrorists, pirates or enemy countries. New testing has shown off a possible counter that looks strangely similar except for the lack of human sailors — small robot boats armed with missiles. The Navy launched six missiles from…


Human Rights Watch is Apparently Terrified of Military Robots, But You Shouldn’t Be

POSTED BY: Evan Ackerman  /  Wed, November 28, 2012

Human Rights Watch, an international organization that advocates for human rights around the world, published a report about a week ago warning against the development of autonomous armed robots and suggesting that they be preemptively banned by international treaty. We’re unashamedly pro-robot around here, but this is an issue that I do take very seriously, and there are some good reasons why I think that attempting to ban autonomous armed robots is a mistake.



Berkeley May Create First ‘No Drone Zone’ in U.S.

12/26/12 — The city of Berkeley, Calif., this week took the first steps toward a ban on drones as the autonomous aircraft deployed in the war on terrorism are being embraced for local law enforcement. The debate over creating a No Drone Zone in this famously left-wing stronghold is likely to be repeated across the U.S. as ever-smaller drones equipped with high-definition cameras and sensors take to the skies with the ability to collect vast amounts of data on citizens. While the Federal Aviation Administration is drafting rules for the deployment of drones in domestic airspace the use of drones to collect…


Get ready: Drones will come to Bay Area – SFGate

Chip Johnson, Chronicle Columnist, Updated 11:22 am, Tuesday, December 18, 2012

If everything goes according to plan, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office will soon have a drone, a small unmanned aircraft, to aid with crowd control, search-and-rescue missions and other law enforcement duties that could use a set of eyes in the air.Think of it as the newest tool for law enforcement. Not surprisingly, not everyone is happy about this. The chief concern of critics, including the American Civil Liberties Union, is that the drones threaten the privacy rights of everyday citizens. The Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission went as far as to propose a ban, a “No Drone Zone” in Berkeley airspace for all but hobbyists. But despite the commission’s stern stance, in the not-too-distant future the skies above American cities will host unmanned flying vehicles.

Alameda County puts the brakes on purchasing drone

By Angela Woodall, Oakland TribunePosted:   12/04/2012

Outcry from privacy advocates prompted Alameda County Board of Supervisors to postpone or possibly scrap plans to purchase a surveillance drone for the Sheriff’s Office.Last minute intervention Tuesday morning by the American Civil Liberties Union prompted supervisors to require explicit authorization to use grant money the Sheriff’s Office received to purchase the drone. Now the proposal will have to go to the public protection committee for approval then back to the full board of supervisors. That is likely to happen early next year. Concern has been mounting among privacy groups for months that Sheriff Greg Ahern was forging ahead without rules for deploying a drone in the skies above Alameda County. The ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation are concerned about the lack of privacy protections. They were dismayed to find that the Sheriff’s Office was asking the supervisors on Tuesday to approve a $31,646 grant to help pay for a drone, indicating that the department was far closer to acquisition than they had led the public to believe.


Japanese Security Firm to Start Renting Surveillance Drones

Evan Ackerman  /  Fri, December 28, 2012

We know, it’s Friday. And usually, we post a whole bunch o’ videos on Fridays, but since we’ve done that for two out of our last three posts (!), we figured we’d give you a bit of a break. Instead, we’ve got this little quadrotor from Japan that’s trying to be the next level of paranoia in private security.


Air Force May Be Developing Stealth Drones in Secret

By David Axe, 12.08.12

The Air Force’s multi-billion-dollar drone fleets may have helped against the insurgents of Iraq and Afghanistan. But in a fight against a real military like China’s, the relatively defenseless unmanned aerial vehicles would get shot down in a second. So once again, the air will belong to traditional, manned bombers and fighters able to survive the sophisticated air defenses. At least that’s the Air Force’s official position. Secretly, however, the flying branch could be working on at least two new high-tech UAVs optimized for the most intensive future air wars. Ace aviation reporter Bill Sweetman has gathered evidence of new stealth drones under development by Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman — the latter potentially armed, and both drawing on classified funds. If these robots are real, the Air Force’s drone era is not only not ending — it’s barely begun.


2012 Was the Year of the Drone in Afghanistan

By Spencer Ackerman, 12.06.12

The soldiers and marines are packing their bags. The pilots are sitting on the tarmac. But the armed robotic planes are busier than they’ve ever been: Revised U.S. military statistics show a much, much larger drone war in Afghanistan than anyone suspected. Last month, military stats revealed that the U.S. had launched some 333 drone strikes in Afghanistan thus far in 2012. That made Afghanistan the epicenter of U.S. drone attacks — not Pakistan, not Yemen, not Somalia. But it turns out those stats were off, according to revised ones released by the Air Force on Thursday morning. There have actually been 447 drone strikes in Afghanistan this year. That means drone strikes represent 11.5 percent of the entire air war — up from about 5 percent last year.


ARNews is …

14 Jan

Automation and Robotics News is a monthly compilation of the latest news in automation and robotics from nano-robotics to large-scale industrial automation. ARNews is focused primarily on the impacts these technologies have on the global economy including productivity, labor replacement, law, politics, and warfare. Key sources include google news, cnet, wired, the wall street journal, robotics industry association, robot.net, robot world news, the inside technology automaton blog, robotics trends, among others. Please share any stories or sources you feel are important, and please let me know about any bad links.