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.

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