May 2013

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.


April 2013

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.



March 2013

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.



February 2013

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



January 2013

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.


December 2012

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



November 2012

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.


IPhones, iPads, Computer-Driven Trucks … How to Invest in This

ABC News-Nov 20, 2012

How to Invest in This Increasingly Automated Economy …Automation, aided by new technologies, is increasingly replacing labor, changing workplaces and …


Brooks Automation Profit Soars On Tax Benefit; Sees Weak Q1

NASDAQ-Nov 8, 2012

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



October 2012

The Continuing success story of both industrial robots as well as service robots

October 2012, Eunited Robotics

According to the World Robotics Industrial Robots 2012 just published by the IFR Statistical Department, 2011 was the most successful year of industrial robotics since 1961. Robot supplies increased by 38 % to 166,028 units, which is the highest level ever recorded for one year and despite the weakening global economic situation a further robot sales increase by 9 % to about 181,000 units is likely in 2012. The IFR Statistical Department expects that between 2013 and 2015 worldwide robot sales will increase by about 5% on average per year. In 2015, the annual supply of industrial robots will reach more than 200,000 units. Continued increase of industrial robots in many countries
In 2012 sales increase is mainly driven by the automotive industry and the electronics industry as well as by the increasing number of customers with low-volume orders from other industries. …
Booming robot market in China Regarding the annual supply China will become the biggest market for industrial robots in the world. In order to have the same robot density in China as we have in Germany or Japan, about one million new robots will have to be installed in the coming years in China. Tremendous potential for robot installations in many countries At the end of 2011, only about 55 robots are installed per 10,000 employees in the manufacturing industry in the world. T… Impressive increase in the service robotics fields As reported by the IFR about 16,400 professional service robots were sold in 2011. By 2015 the Statistical Department forecasts that about 93,800 new robots with a value of US$ 16.3 billion will assume tasks in the areas of defence, security, facility management and medicine. The two service robot groups, defence and milking robotics, make up 57% of the total forecast of service robots.


Mitsubishi Elec sees factory automation sales better by March

Reuters-Oct 30, 2012

TOKYO Oct 31 (Reuters) – Mitsubishi Electric Corp said on Wednesday it expects sales of its factory automation equipment to improve toward the end of the



September 2012

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.


Steve Forbes to Keynote Automate 2013

Posted: 09/20/2012 Will address the impact of the President and his administration on the future of the U.S. economy and business growth …


Industrial Robot Sales and Companies Doing Well

Posted 09/03/12 at 11:46 AM

… 2011 sales of industrial robots—166,000 units; $8.5 billion in sales—are up 38% from 2010 and expected to reach 181,000 robots for 2012. According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), an industry organization that collects data from almost all robot suppliers, that number will reach 200,000 by 2015. … The Big Four of industrial robot manufacturers—Fanuc, ABB, Kuka and Yaskawa Motoman—are all publicly traded stocks—and all have recovered from the economic setback of 2008-09. In Japan’s case, from the twin disasters of 2011 as well. Each has a presence and market share in China which, according to the IFR, “will become the biggest robot market in the world regarding annual supply.” Click chart above to enlarge. … Not all publicly traded robotic stocks have done as well as the Big Four as can be seen by The Robot Report’s Robo-Stox™ year-to-date country-by country chart. This is partly due to the various setbacks from the Japanese tsunami and earthquake that happened in March, 2011.


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 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.


Brooks Automation Rating Lowered to Underperform at Credit Suisse (BRKS)

Daily Political -Oct 10,2012

Shares of Brooks Automation traded down 1.94% during mid-day trading on Monday, hitting $7.879. Brooks Automation has a one year low of $7.40 and a one year high of $12.65.




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



July-Aug. 2012

Industrial Growth in Southeast Asia and Australia Bolster the …

Sacramento Bee-Aug 9, 2012

Hectic activity in end-user markets fuel growth in the automation market “Although automation systems are expensive to install and use, most of them offer

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


Apple May Venture into Home Robotics

07/12/12 — For a company that has managed to make its presence felt in almost every major tech arena there is,be it smartphones, tablets, music, et al, it might get a little tricky to figure what can come next. Steven Milunovich, a UBS analyst, now suggests that “Apple could eventually move into…


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…


June 2012

Russian Internet CEO Begins $25M Robotics Fund

06/15/12 — Daily Herald—Dmitry Grishin, founder of Russia’s, 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…


Rethink Robotics Raises $30M from Investors as New Version of Robot Causes Businesses to Rethink Old Assumptions

Rethink Robotics, Inc. has not only changed its name from Heartland Robotics; it’s gotten some serious “change” for its plans after raising $30 million from investors. Sigma Partners led the recent Series C funding round.


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 and also in the Robot Report.


Robots Podcast #103: Robopocalypse

4 May 2012, by John_RobotsPodcast

An avid reader of science fiction, Daniel Wilson originally wanted to be a sci-fi writer, but, because it still wasn’t happening as he approached college, he decided upon a career in science, as the next best thing. Then, after some experience with computers, it occurred to him that they could be programmed to figure out how to solve problems, and he realized that AI and robotics were real fields with huge potential, at which point he was hooked, and that carried him through a PhD. in robotics at Carnegie Mellon University. But he never forgot his dream of being an author, and published his first book, How to Survive A Robot Uprising, in 2005, discussing this and other early work in a Talking Robots podcast in mid-2007. His 2011 novel, Robopocalypse, which Steven Spielberg is making into a movie to be released summer 2013, is the starting point for the current interview.


Jan. – April 2012

The robots are coming! Better get used to it

Mar 20, 2012, Stephen Shankland

Robots are widely used now, and they’re only spread even farther into daily life. The sci-fi future may be closer than you think.


Robotation Academy preaches the robot gospel at CeBIT

Mar 05, 2012, Stephen Shankland

At the location of Germany’s largest trade fair, 4,000 people a year learn robotic manufacturing from VW trainers who hope suppliers will improve quality.


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.


Industry Umbrella Group Changes Name to Association for Advancing Automation (A3)

Robotic Industries Association Posted 01/19/2012

(Ann Arbor, Michigan) The umbrella trade association for the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), AIA, and the Motion Control Association (MCA) has changed its name from the Automation Technologies Council to the Association for Advancing Automation (A3).


Why Kiva Is Worth $775 Million to Amazon

Evan Ackerman  /  Thu, March 22, 2012

On Monday, we broke the news that 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.



June – Dec. 2011

Henrik Christensen on the U.S. Robotics Roadmap

Posted 4 Dec 2011 by John_RobotsPodcast

In episode #92, Robots Podcast interviews Henrik Christensen, the KUKA Chair of Robotics at the College of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology, and director of the Center for Robotics and Intelligent Machines. Professor Christensen has played a leading role in the initiative to create a roadmap for robotics research in the United States, and to keep that roadmap up to date. That roadmap is the primary subject of this interview.


Black Friday for Robot Builders

Posted 22 Nov 2011 at 22:28 UTC by steve

It’s time for Black Friday; the annual, post-Thanksgiving celebration of consumerism run-amok in the United States. And, as is our tradition here at, we’re going to let you in on all the Black Friday sales with bargains that will be of interest to robot builders. We’ll start with the big sale at Pololu. Paul Grayson writes:

Pololu Robotics and Electronics is having its biggest Black Friday sale
yet, starting this Thursday, November 24th. You can get up to $25 off your entire order in addition to saving up to 60% on dozens of selected products, including the Pololu 3pi and m3pi robots, Wixel wireless modules, Maestro Servo Controllers, Simple Motor Controllers, sensors, chassis, actuators, and more!

BG Micro is offering 10% off your entire order of cool surplus electronics; all you have to do is use the coupon code “bfm” when you check out. Take a look at BG’s Virtual Sidewalk sale for more discounts. Electronic Goldmine is offering a choice of discounts: $5 off orders over $55, a free magnetic pickup tool with orders over $45, or a free precision screwdriver set with orders over $25. They’ve also got a long list of components and test equipment on sale. American Science and Surplus has an assortment of typically eccentric items on sale. You can find a variety of motors, servos, and other electronics on sale at Harbor Freight has a sale on tools that might come in handy for a roboticist. Evolution Robotics has a Black Friday / Cyber Monday sale on their model 4200 Mint robot floor cleaner, while iRobot is offering a discount on their Roomba 530 robot vacuum.


Delta robot, one of the fastest robots in the world!

Posted 14 Nov 2011 at 13:01 UTC by IKE_RobotsPodcast

The Delta Robot is one of the fastest robots in the world. Invented by Reymond Clavel it was inspired and aimed at the chocolate industry (a very serious business in Switzerland) As it is usual the case for innovative concepts it took a while to catch on but today it is one of the most advanced packaging robots with a huge variety of versions. Its concept also has applications to other sectors, where extreme speed and accuracy is needed, like medical robots. The initial concept has three articulated arms and three motors that move a gripper in the 3 dimensional space while keeping it always perfectly parallel to the ground. You can read more about the Delta robot at this article by EPFL. We had previously featured Legolas, a high-precision robotic mechanism inspired by Delta robot.


National Geographic Takes a Look at Robots

Posted 26 Jul 2011 at 23:38 UTC by steve

National Geographic has a new article on robots that takes a look at efforts to make robots more human. As always National Geographic includes lots of cool photos. The article covers a range of robots you’ve probably heard about before including Actroids, HERB, CMU’s Snackbot, Geminoid DK, Elfoid, Robovie, and others. The photo gallery even includes a shot of Hanson Robotic’s Bina android, which you may remember seeing under construction when we visited David’s lab a while back. These robots are all involved in research to solve some of the basic problems of social interaction with humans:

“Humans can draw on a vast unconscious vocabulary of movements—we know how to politely move around someone in our path, how to sense when we’re invading someone’s personal space. Studies at Carnegie Mellon and elsewhere have shown that people expect social robots to follow the same rules. We get uncomfortable when they don’t or when they make stupid mistakes.”

The usual questions of ethics and morals are raised: Is it ethical to make humanoid robots? Are sufficiently human-like social robots worthy of the same moral considerations we grant our meat-based friends? Can military robot endowed with ethical programming make life or death battle decisions? No answers are to be found, of course, but it’s a good read. Check it out online or look for the August issue of National Geographic magazine, on newsstands now.


President´s Report

The world is Falling in Love with Robots

2011 was again a very successful year for the robotics industry with the number of installations reaching a new peak level. All over the world the necessity to automate has been boosting the application of industrial robots. The recent iREX in November in Tokyo was a demonstration of the innovative strength of the global robotics industry.



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.


2011 Robot Sales at Record Highs Despite Slow Economy

The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) reports that 2011 will be a record-breaking year for industrial robotic installations.  Robot sales have risen 18% this year and are expected to keep climbing in the next few years. A 6% rise per year between 2012 and 2014 are forecasted. The IFR cites that that the automotive and electronics industries still lead manufacturing industries in robot orders. Also, China is expected to surge ahead of other regions in 2014. Other Asian countries will see modest gains and momentum in the coming years, while North America and other emerging markets will continue to see consistent gains in robot installations.



The Future of Robotics: A Closer Look at the Industry of Tomorrow


By Nicole Edry, November 11, 2011

In our current economy, it’s good to know that not all industries are suffering. In a 2010 report by Forbes, they counted down the ten most profitable ones. Included in the list was Photography, Dentistry, Accounting and other financial sectors. The medical sector was primarily responsible for positive industry growth, with 4 out of the 10 top dogs. Notably absent from the list was Robotics, something that is sure to change this year.


Top-Performing US-Listed Chinese Stocks (Dec 29, 2011)

China Analyst – Dec 29, 2011

Hollysys Automation Technologies Ltd (NASDAQ:HOLI) is the best-performing US-listed Chinese stock on Dec. 29. It was up 16.6% on the day.


Is it time to invest in robot manufacturers? (Q&A)

As electronics giant Foxconn prepares to replace workers with more than a million robots, we ask Frank Tobe, editor of The Robot Report, about tips on investing in robot companies.

News – Aug 04, 2011, 1:01 PM | By Tim Hornyak

Feb. – May 2011

2010 a Record Year for North American Robot Industry

February 10, 2011

2010 statistics released by the Robotics Industries Association (RIA) underscore the reality that more and more companies both in North America and abroad are realizing their need for industrial automation. Last year alone, combined robot orders totaled 29,034. Their total value is $1.839 billion. That’s nothing to sneeze at. 


The Global Robotics Brain Project

Samuel Bouchard  /  Tue, March 29, 2011

Because in his brain resides a database with more than 36,000 robotics companies, robotics labs, robotics projects, robotics researchers, and robotics publications, all categorized, tagged, and linked. No, not in the brain inside his head. We’re talking about the Global Robotics Brain, a project that the man, Wolfgang Heller, started to keep track of the robotsphere. Inspired by Google’s PageRank, Heller, a business intelligence consultant from Sweden, 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?


Robots Are the Next Revolution, So Why Isn’t Anyone Acting Like It?

Paul Miller  /  Mon, March 28, 2011

Back in 2006, when Bill Gates was making his tear-filled transition from the PC industry into a tear-filled career as a philanthropist, he penned an editorial on robotics that became a rallying cry for… no one. Titled “A Robot in Every Home,” Bill Gates highlighted the obvious parallels between the pre-Microsoft PC industry and the pre-anybody personal robotics industry. Industrial use, research work, and a fringe garage hobby. That was the state of the computer industry before Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, and that’s more or less the state of the robotics industry now, five years after Bill’s editorial.


Robot Orders Surge 31% in First Quarter of 2011


North American robotics companies enjoyed their best opening quarter since 2007, according to new statistics released by Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry’s trade group. A total of 4,021 robots valued at $263.5 million were ordered by North American manufacturing companies through March, an increase of 31% in units and 27% in dollars.


January 2011

The Best Robots of CES 2011

IEEE Spectrum – Erico Guizzo – ‎Jan 11, 2011‎

Robots made a big appearance at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. There were home robots, robotic pets, humanoids, telepresence systems, …


Robotics Industry Is Optimistic in 2011

by Bennett Brumson, Contributing Editor

Posted: 01/11/2011 As the global economy emerges from the Great Recession of 2008-2009, business activity is slowly picking up….



December 2010

Automate Keynote Speaker Tom Ridge

November 23, 2010

First Secretary of Homeland Security and Distinguished Statesman

Two major automation and logistics shows, Automate 2011 and ProMat 2011, are collocated March 21-24 in Chicago, Illinois at McCormick Place and together bring you a special keynote speaker, Tom Ridge, on Monday, March 21. His topic is, “Fortune Favors the Brave: The Net Gain of Supply Chain Security in a Risk-based World.”



November 2010

New robotics study published by the European Commission

The Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry (DG ENTR) and the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (JRC-IPTS) have launched a series of studies to analyze prospects of success for European ICT industries in the face of technological and market innovation. These studies under the common acronym “COMPLETE” aim to gain a better understanding of the ICT areas in which it would be important for the EU industry to remain or become competitive in the near future, and to assess the likely conditions for success. This particular report “A Helping Hand for Europe: The Competitive Outlook for the EU Robotics Industry” reflects the findings of the JRC-IPTS COMPLETE study on robotics applications in general, and in two specific areas selected because of potential market and EU capability in these areas: robotics applications in SMEs and robotics safety. The report starts by introducing the state of the art in robotics, their applications, market size, value chains, and disruptive potential of emerging robotics technologies. For each of the two specific area the report describes the EU landscape, potential market, benefits, difficulties and how these might be overcome. The last chapter draws together the findings of the study to consider EU competitiveness in robotics, opportunities and policy implications.


A Look at Robots in Alternative Energy

by Bennett Brumson, Contributing Editor, 11/01/2010

As the world grapples with diminishing supplies of petroleum and the increasing carbon impact of coal, nations and manufacturers are turning their attention to alternative sources of power. Wind, solar and fuel cells are alternative energies poised to supplant coal and oil but the cost per megawatt is higher than conventional sources. Robotics plays a leading role in making ever-changing alternative energy more competitive with fossil fuels. “Alternative energy companies were very small and doing everything manually. With government funding available and the push towards alternative energy, companies are producing in much greater volume but cannot support that volume with manual processes,” says Christopher Blanchette, National Distribution Account Manager with FANUC Robotics America Inc. (Rochester Hills, Michigan) “Alternative energy companies are looking to automate quickly and to design an assembly process with hard automation would slow them down because the market changes so quickly.”


Robot Sales in North America Jump 34%

November 03, 2010,

As the economy recovers and more businesses realize the competitive advantages robots provide, the number of robot orders is rising steadily. North American companies are buying robots again – thousands of them! The Robotics Industries Association (RIA) has its finger on the pulse of these developments. The most recent statistical report from the RIA combined data from all the North American based robot manufacturers. According to the RIA, North American companies purchased 9,628 robot units (estimated value: $618.4 million) over the first nine months of this year. Compared with 2009 data, these numbers represent a 34% increase in units and a 45% increase in dollars. Increases in robot orders didn’t only come from North American companies. RIA reports an additional 1,778 robots (representing another $102.6 million) ordered by companies located outside of North American borders. When placed beside Jan-Sept. 2009 numbers, these stats show a 143% unit gain and 168% dollar increase. What kind of businesses are purchasing all these robots? The answer might surprise you. While robot orders from automotive companies are up 18%, roughly half (52%) of the total orders are from non-automotive companies. Non-automotive orders increased 53% from last year.

Non-Automotive Industry          Percentage Increase

Plastics and Rubber…………………..62%
Life Sciences/Pharmaceuticals/
Medical Devices…………………………54%
Food/Consumer Goods………………41%

Application Stats                        Percentage Increase

Coating and Dispensing……………78%
Arc Welding……………………………….65%
Material Handling………………………60%


The robotics industry is getting back on track!

IFR press release

Sales slump in 2009 – Strong recovery in 2010 – Further growth expected in 2011 and 2012 The IFR Statistics Department presented the preliminary results of the annual statistics on Industrial Robots on Wednesday, 9 June 2010, in Munich at the AUTOMATICA. In 2009, with about 62,100 industrial robots shipped, the number of units sold worldwide slumped dramatically by about 45% compared to 2008, one of the most successful years. But in the first quarter 2010 the sales skyrocketed worldwide by more than 50% compared to the first quarter 2009.


Happy Birthday ASIMO

Robotics Trends Staff – Filed Nov 01, 2010

Ghouls and goblins weren’t the only ones partying yesterday—ASIMO, Honda’s humanoid robot, celebrated its 10th birthday. To mark the date, dedicated anniversary Web sites and films were launched, with new photos, videos, the story of the robot’s creation, and smartphone apps.



October 2010

The Economics of Robotics

John Payne on 11 Oct 2010, 02:56

From where I sit, it looks as though the majority of participants in the development of robotics, industrial applications aside, are in academia, and that the majority of funding comes from government (largely military) sources. In my humble opinion, this is a situation ripe for change. The list of players in this drama include the usual suspects, the holders of military and other governmental purse strings, educational and research institutions heavily dependent upon such funding, and of course the companies involved in producing the computing hardware that amplifies the value of sensors and actuators, but it also includes companies with long experience in developing and marketing industrial robots, newer companies involved in other aspects of robotics, established companies in markets likely to be heavily impacted by robotics (agriculture), venture capitalists looking to get on board early with enough resources to turn good ideas into winners, and more conservative investors simply looking for a decent return. … The effect of robotics may prove so profound that it forces a rethinking of the fundamentals of economics. Scarcity (of labor and of necessary commodities) may cease to be relevant, and need a replacement paradigm. Quality is a consideration sure to gain importance.


ABB Settles Kickback Case with US Authorities

Managing Automation Magazine – Chris Chiappinelli – ‎Sep 30, 2010‎

The automation and controls company ABB pleads guilty to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in past business activities in Mexico and Iraq, …



September 2010

ABB doubles investment in robot training centre

Machinery – ‎15 hours ago‎

ABB has invested over £100000 in installing new robot training cells with the latest software technologies at its robot training centre in Milton Keynes.


Will Google Destroy Itself?

Martin Ford, Huffington Post (blog) – ‎Aug 31, 2010‎

Google recently announced a new machine learning enginethat it will make available to software developers. Machine learning is a form of artificial intelligence (AI) in which an application can learn from processing real data and become more proficient over time. By making the tool available, Google will enable businesses and entrepreneurs to use AI in wide range of new applications. In the coming years, artificial intelligence is going start showing up in more and more places. AI will be incorporated into productivity applications and into the enterprise software used by large companies. I’m not talking about science-fiction level general artificial intelligence (“Open the pod bay doors, HAL”), but rather specialized or narrow forms of AI. Narrow AI applications can already land jet aircraft and beat virtually any human being in a game of chess. In the near future, they will be able to do far more. Google’s new AI tool is being offered as part of the company’s cloud computing strategy. Cloud computing is a new model in which computer hardware resources as well as application software are made available on an as-needed basis, in much the same way that utilities like electric power are provided. The thing you should know about cloud computing is that it tends to concentrate information, power and income. The information technology resources of thousands of businesses and organizations will increasingly “migrate into the cloud.” One immediate result of this is increased concentration and automation of jobs. Information technology workers are already seeing significant job lossesas a result of the move toward cloud computing. Once artificial intelligence becomes integrated into the cloud, the effect will quickly be felt by far more than just IT professionals. Anyone with a knowledge-based job will be highly susceptible. Organizations will get flatter as more middle managers are eliminated. It’s also quite possible that AI tools will be used to amplify the capabilities of low wage off-shore workers–allowing them to move up the value chain and compete directly with professionals who have high skill and experience levels.


ABB Sees Strong Demand

Wall Street Journal, 9/9/10

Engineering company ABB stuck to an upbeat forecast, saying that demand remains robust and a plan to cut $3 billion in costs…


Talk, But No Chance, Of Single-Pilot Airline Flights

The Wall Street Journal

Little chance there will be single-pilot airline flights in the next decade or two.



August 2010

Adept Technology strengthens 0.4%, outperforming 94% of stocks

OptoIQ – ‎Aug 19, 2010‎

The Robotics segment provides intelligent motion controls systems, vision inspection and guidance systems, production automation software and robot


Three reasons why automation doesn’t quite cut it

ZDNet (blog) – Joe McKendrick – ‎Aug 6, 2010‎

Julian Sammy provided a thoughtful response to my recent piece on when processes are beyond the reach of automation, illustrating the three reasons why …

Good News: Robot Sales Up 40%

August 09, 2010

Mid-year robot sales data compiled by the Robotics Industries Association (RIA) proves the robot industry is doing well. According to the RIA statistics, North American robot unit sales have increased a full 40% during the first six months of 2010. Which Industries Purchased the Most Robots: While orders from the automotive sector rose 30%, non-automotive companies demonstrated the highest increase – 51%. The first half of 2010 saw increases in robots purchased by companies within the food, plastics, and electronics industries, to name a few.Which Applications Saw the Most Robot Orders: Not surprisingly, the greatest percentage of robots were purchased for arc welding applications. However, material handling robots also saw a dramatic increase in unit sales. The RIA said it expects to see this trend continue as distribution and packaging industries begin to incorporate more robots.


Trends in Automation: The Emerging World of Robotic Materials Handling

08/06/2010, Robotic Industries Association Posted 08/06/2010

In this special webcast, Executive Editor Bob Trebilcock, Group Editorial Director Michael Levans and Jeff Burnstein, president of the Robotic Industries Association, will explore the range of exciting new robotic solutions now available and where they may fit in your materials handling operations. This program airs online August 12, 2010, at 2:00 p.m. EDT. (Register for this webcast.) For years, industrial robotics has been relegated to repetitive processes, like spot welding or palletizing at the end of the manufacturing line. That’s beginning to change. A new generation of stationary and mobile robots, coupled with software and materials handling automation, is emerging. These new technologies are creating opportunities to streamline traditional picking processes and to develop highly-automated mixed SKU palletizing solutions.


Siemens Alerts Customers to Virus in Its Automation Software

New York Times – Kevin J. O’Brien – ‎Jul 22, 2010‎

The company, based in Munich, is the world’s largest maker of industrial automation equipment and software, with sales of €6.8 billion, or $8.7 billion, …


Rockwell Automation 3Q Profit More Than Triples

JULY 28, 2010, 3:21 P.M. ET

CHICAGO (Dow Jones)–Rockwell Automation Inc.’s (ROK) fiscal third-quarter earnings more than tripled as the factory-automation equipment and software company benefited from the resurgence of the U.S. auto industry. Sales for the quarter increased 25% and Rockwell’s operating margin nearly doubled, prompting the Milwaukee company to raise its full-year guidance. “Industrial production has been growing the last three or four quarters,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Keith Nosbusch during an interview with Dow Jones Newswires. “We had solid growth in Europe, the U.S. and …


ABB reports lower net, but cites signs of upturn

JULY 23, 2010, 4:59 A.M. ET, By Goran Mijuk Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

ZURICH — ABB Ltd. posted an 8% drop in second-quarter earnings on Thursday, but said a market recovery is emerging as demand improves for industrial and infrastructure projects. Europe’s largest electrical-engineering company by sales said net profit fell to $623 million from $675 million a year earlier amid continued pricing pressure and restructuring costs. Cost cutting limited the decline, ABB said. Revenue fell 4% to $7.57 billion from $7.92 billion. Chief Executive Joe Hogan said ABB is “more confident about the recovery in most of our markets than three months ago,” because “customers have started again to invest in technologies for energy efficiency and productivity.” Orders rose 5%, in both dollar-terms and local currencies, to $7.67 billion. Analysts said that while orders from India fell, demand in Europe, the Middle East and China is growing solidly. Mr. Hogan said the order backlog in the company’s power division is reaching record levels. ABB, which produces transmission lines and industrial robots, was hit hard by the economic downturn as governments and private-sector clients curbed spending. The downturn was most painful in the automotive and construction industries.


Siemens Returns To Growth As Order Intake Surges

JULY 29, 2010, 5:50 A.M. ET

MUNICH (Dow Jones)–Siemens AG (SI) Thursday posted a 12% rise in third-quarter net profit and increased sales and order intake for the first time in seven quarters, marking a return to growth after the demand slump brought about by the recession. Siemens posted especially strong results in its short-cycle businesses, which are closely linked to the economic cycle, such as industry automation and lighting unit Osram. But big-ticket spending also returned. Siemens’ third-quarter order intake was up 22%, bringing the order backlog to a record level of EUR89 billion, driven by new orders for Siemens’ renewable division.


Honeywell 2Q Profit Up 4% Amid Improving Sales; View Raised

JULY 23, 2010, 8:44 A.M. ET

Honeywell International Inc. (HON) on Friday delivered one of the second-quarter season’s most upbeat reports, beating its internal forecasts and raising full-year guidance. The U.S. industrial and aerospace group said it was seeing improvements in early-cycle businesses such as auto parts, while longer-cycle operations were also seeing sales momentum. “We believe the recovery is happening,” said …


Let’s Get Ready To Roomba! iRobot Posts Blowout Q2 Results

Eric Savitz, Tech Trader Daily, 07/28/10

iRobot (IRBT), which makes the Roomba vaccum cleaner robot and other robots for both the consumer and military markets, posted better-than-expected Q2 results, triggering a rally in the stock after hours. For the quarter, the company posted revenue of $98 million and profits of 20 cents a share; the Street had been expecting $92.2 million and 8 cents. For Q3, the company projects revenue of $91 million to $94 million, and profits of 5-6 cents a share; the old Street consensus was $93.2 million and 7 cents. But for the full year, iRobot sees revenue of $385 million to $390 million, with profits of 51-54 cents a share; the Street has been forecasting $380.6 million and 44 cents.



July 2010

Seattle to be Last Stop on Siemens Answers for Industry Tour

Learn How Energy Efficiency, Automation and Services are Transforming Business

ATLANTA, Jul 15, 2010 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) — After nearly 3,000 attendees in five cities, Siemens Industry, Inc. today announced that the sixth and final stop for its Answers for Industry (AFI) conference will be Seattle. The two-day conference, which focuses on enhancing competitiveness through efficient manufacturing, green buildings and renewable energy, will take place Aug. 24-25, 2010, at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, Wash.


Robots as the next big industry?

Computerworld – Patrick Thibodeau – Jul 14, 2010

ATLANTA — The hardest thing about artificial intelligence (AI) is keeping your imagination in check. A visit to some robotic displays at an AI conference here opens the mind to incredible possibilities. Imagine, for instance, CNBC’s Jim Cramer, who just about jumps up and down when he talks about the “mobile Internet tsunami,” doing something similar for the “robotics tsunami” as the next big industry. It is that kind of thinking that AI can trigger. However, for the wonder of watching a robot with expressive eye movements, there is a competing reality that progress is slow. For a sense of the timeline, the Conference on Artificial Intelligence marks its silver anniversary next year.