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 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 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 (, 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 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.

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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.

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