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Robotics – Wikipedia

"Roboticist" redirects here. It is not to be confused with Cyberneticist.

Design, construction, operation, and application of robots

Robotics is an interdisciplinary branch of engineering and science that includes mechanical engineering, electronic engineering, information engineering, computer science, and others. Robotics involves design, construction, operation, and use of robots, as well as computer systems for their perception, control, sensory feedback, and information processing. The goal of robotics is to design intelligent machines that can help and assist humans in their day-to-day lives and keep everyone safe.

Robotics develops machines that can substitute for humans and replicate human actions. Robots can be used in many situations and for lots of purposes, but today many are used in dangerous environments (including inspection of radioactive materials, bomb detection and deactivation), manufacturing processes, or where humans cannot survive (e.g. in space, underwater, in high heat, and clean up and containment of hazardous materials and radiation). Robots can take on any form but some are made to resemble humans in appearance. This is said to help in the acceptance of a robot in certain replicative behaviors usually performed by people. Such robots attempt to replicate walking, lifting, speech, cognition, or any other human activity. Many of today's robots are inspired by nature, contributing to the field of bio-inspired robotics.

The concept of creating machines that can operate autonomously dates back to classical times, but research into the functionality and potential uses of robots did not grow substantially until the 20th century. Throughout history, it has been frequently assumed by various scholars, inventors, engineers, and technicians that robots will one day be able to mimic human behavior and manage tasks in a human-like fashion. Today, robotics is a rapidly growing field, as technological advances continue; researching, designing, and building new robots serve various practical purposes, whether domestically, commercially, or militarily. Many robots are built to do jobs that are hazardous to people, such as defusing bombs, finding survivors in unstable ruins, and exploring mines and shipwrecks. Robotics is also used in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) as a teaching aid.[1] The advent of nanorobots, microscopic robots that can be injected into the human body, could revolutionize medicine and human health.[2]

Robotics is a branch of engineering that involves the conception, design, manufacture, and operation of robots. This field overlaps with electronics, computer science, artificial intelligence, mechatronics, nanotechnology and bioengineering.[3]

The word robotics was derived from the word robot, which was introduced to the public by Czech writer Karel apek in his play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), which was published in 1920.[4] The word robot comes from the Slavic word robota, which means slave/servant. The play begins in a factory that makes artificial people called robots, creatures who can be mistaken for humans very similar to the modern ideas of androids. Karel apek himself did not coin the word. He wrote a short letter in reference to an etymology in the Oxford English Dictionary in which he named his brother Josef apek as its actual originator.[4]

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word robotics was first used in print by Isaac Asimov, in his science fiction short story "Liar!", published in May 1941 in Astounding Science Fiction. Asimov was unaware that he was coining the term; since the science and technology of electrical devices is electronics, he assumed robotics already referred to the science and technology of robots. In some of Asimov's other works, he states that the first use of the word robotics was in his short story Runaround (Astounding Science Fiction, March 1942),[5][6] where he introduced his concept of The Three Laws of Robotics. However, the original publication of "Liar!" predates that of "Runaround" by ten months, so the former is generally cited as the word's origin.

In 1948, Norbert Wiener formulated the principles of cybernetics, the basis of practical robotics.

Fully autonomous only appeared in the second half of the 20th century. The first digitally operated and programmable robot, the Unimate, was installed in 1961 to lift hot pieces of metal from a die casting machine and stack them. Commercial and industrial robots are widespread today and used to perform jobs more cheaply, more accurately and more reliably, than humans. They are also employed in some jobs which are too dirty, dangerous, or dull to be suitable for humans. Robots are widely used in manufacturing, assembly, packing and packaging, mining, transport, earth and space exploration, surgery, weaponry, laboratory research, safety, and the mass production of consumer and industrial goods.[7]

There are many types of robots; they are used in many different environments and for many different uses. Although being very diverse in application and form, they all share three basic similarities when it comes to their construction:

As more and more robots are designed for specific tasks this method of classification becomes more relevant. For example, many robots are designed for assembly work, which may not be readily adaptable for other applications. They are termed as "assembly robots". For seam welding, some suppliers provide complete welding systems with the robot i.e. the welding equipment along with other material handling facilities like turntables, etc. as an integrated unit. Such an integrated robotic system is called a "welding robot" even though its discrete manipulator unit could be adapted to a variety of tasks. Some robots are specifically designed for heavy load manipulation, and are labeled as "heavy-duty robots".[22]

Current and potential applications include:

At present, mostly (leadacid) batteries are used as a power source. Many different types of batteries can be used as a power source for robots. They range from leadacid batteries, which are safe and have relatively long shelf lives but are rather heavy compared to silvercadmium batteries that are much smaller in volume and are currently much more expensive. Designing a battery-powered robot needs to take into account factors such as safety, cycle lifetime and weight. Generators, often some type of internal combustion engine, can also be used. However, such designs are often mechanically complex and need a fuel, require heat dissipation and are relatively heavy. A tether connecting the robot to a power supply would remove the power supply from the robot entirely. This has the advantage of saving weight and space by moving all power generation and storage components elsewhere. However, this design does come with the drawback of constantly having a cable connected to the robot, which can be difficult to manage.[35] Potential power sources could be:

Actuators are the "muscles" of a robot, the parts which convert stored energy into movement.[36] By far the most popular actuators are electric motors that rotate a wheel or gear, and linear actuators that control industrial robots in factories. There are some recent advances in alternative types of actuators, powered by electricity, chemicals, or compressed air.

The vast majority of robots use electric motors, often brushed and brushless DC motors in portable robots or AC motors in industrial robots and CNC machines. These motors are often preferred in systems with lighter loads, and where the predominant form of motion is rotational.

Various types of linear actuators move in and out instead of by spinning, and often have quicker direction changes, particularly when very large forces are needed such as with industrial robotics. They are typically powered by compressed and oxidized air (pneumatic actuator) or an oil (hydraulic actuator) Linear actuators can also be powered by electricity which usually consists of a motor and a leadscrew. Another common type is a mechanical linear actuator that is turned by hand, such as a rack and pinion on a car.

A flexure is designed as part of the motor actuator, to improve safety and provide robust force control, energy efficiency, shock absorption (mechanical filtering) while reducing excessive wear on the transmission and other mechanical components. The resultant lower reflected inertia can improve safety when a robot is interacting with humans or during collisions. It has been used in various robots, particularly advanced manufacturing robots [37] and walking humanoid robots.[38][39]

Pneumatic artificial muscles, also known as air muscles, are special tubes that expand(typically up to 40%) when air is forced inside them. They are used in some robot applications.[40][41][42]

Muscle wire, also known as shape memory alloy, Nitinol or Flexinol wire, is a material which contracts (under 5%) when electricity is applied. They have been used for some small robot applications.[43][44]

EAPs or EPAMs are a plastic material that can contract substantially (up to 380% activation strain) from electricity, and have been used in facial muscles and arms of humanoid robots,[45] and to enable new robots to float,[46] fly, swim or walk.[47]

Recent alternatives to DC motors are piezo motors or ultrasonic motors. These work on a fundamentally different principle, whereby tiny piezoceramic elements, vibrating many thousands of times per second, cause linear or rotary motion. There are different mechanisms of operation; one type uses the vibration of the piezo elements to step the motor in a circle or a straight line.[48] Another type uses the piezo elements to cause a nut to vibrate or to drive a screw. The advantages of these motors are nanometer resolution, speed, and available force for their size.[49] These motors are already available commercially, and being used on some robots.[50][51]

Elastic nanotubes are a promising artificial muscle technology in early-stage experimental development. The absence of defects in carbon nanotubes enables these filaments to deform elastically by several percent, with energy storage levels of perhaps 10J/cm3 for metal nanotubes. Human biceps could be replaced with an 8mm diameter wire of this material. Such compact "muscle" might allow future robots to outrun and outjump humans.[52]

Sensors allow robots to receive information about a certain measurement of the environment, or internal components. This is essential for robots to perform their tasks, and act upon any changes in the environment to calculate the appropriate response. They are used for various forms of measurements, to give the robots warnings about safety or malfunctions, and to provide real-time information of the task it is performing.

Current robotic and prosthetic hands receive far less tactile information than the human hand. Recent research has developed a tactile sensor array that mimics the mechanical properties and touch receptors of human fingertips.[53][54] The sensor array is constructed as a rigid core surrounded by conductive fluid contained by an elastomeric skin. Electrodes are mounted on the surface of the rigid core and are connected to an impedance-measuring device within the core. When the artificial skin touches an object the fluid path around the electrodes is deformed, producing impedance changes that map the forces received from the object. The researchers expect that an important function of such artificial fingertips will be adjusting robotic grip on held objects.

Scientists from several European countries and Israel developed a prosthetic hand in 2009, called SmartHand, which functions like a real oneallowing patients to write with it, type on a keyboard, play piano and perform other fine movements. The prosthesis has sensors which enable the patient to sense real feeling in its fingertips.[55]

Computer vision is the science and technology of machines that see. As a scientific discipline, computer vision is concerned with the theory behind artificial systems that extract information from images. The image data can take many forms, such as video sequences and views from cameras.

In most practical computer vision applications, the computers are pre-programmed to solve a particular task, but methods based on learning are now becoming increasingly common.

Computer vision systems rely on image sensors which detect electromagnetic radiation which is typically in the form of either visible light or infra-red light. The sensors are designed using solid-state physics. The process by which light propagates and reflects off surfaces is explained using optics. Sophisticated image sensors even require quantum mechanics to provide a complete understanding of the image formation process. Robots can also be equipped with multiple vision sensors to be better able to compute the sense of depth in the environment. Like human eyes, robots' "eyes" must also be able to focus on a particular area of interest, and also adjust to variations in light intensities.

There is a subfield within computer vision where artificial systems are designed to mimic the processing and behavior of biological system, at different levels of complexity. Also, some of the learning-based methods developed within computer vision have their background in biology.

Other common forms of sensing in robotics use lidar, radar, and sonar[56]. Lidar measures distance to a target by illuminating the target with laser light and measuring the reflected light with a sensor. Radar uses radio waves to determine the range, angle, or velocity of objects. Sonar uses sound propagation to navigate, communicate with or detect objects on or under the surface of the water.

Robots need to manipulate objects; pick up, modify, destroy, or otherwise have an effect. Thus the "hands" of a robot are often referred to as end effectors,[57] while the "arm" is referred to as a manipulator.[58] Most robot arms have replaceable effectors, each allowing them to perform some small range of tasks. Some have a fixed manipulator which cannot be replaced, while a few have one very general purpose manipulator, for example, a humanoid hand.[59]

One of the most common effectors is the gripper. In its simplest manifestation, it consists of just two fingers which can open and close to pick up and let go of a range of small objects. Fingers can for example, be made of a chain with a metal wire run through it.[60] Hands that resemble and work more like a human hand include the Shadow Hand and the Robonaut hand.[61] Hands that are of a mid-level complexity include the Delft hand.[62][63] Mechanical grippers can come in various types, including friction and encompassing jaws. Friction jaws use all the force of the gripper to hold the object in place using friction. Encompassing jaws cradle the object in place, using less friction.

Vacuum grippers are very simple astrictive[64] devices that can hold very large loads provided the prehension surface is smooth enough to ensure suction.

Pick and place robots for electronic components and for large objects like car windscreens, often use very simple vacuum grippers.

Some advanced robots are beginning to use fully humanoid hands, like the Shadow Hand, MANUS,[65] and the Schunk hand.[66] These are highly dexterous manipulators, with as many as 20 degrees of freedom and hundreds of tactile sensors.[67]

For simplicity, most mobile robots have four wheels or a number of continuous tracks. Some researchers have tried to create more complex wheeled robots with only one or two wheels. These can have certain advantages such as greater efficiency and reduced parts, as well as allowing a robot to navigate in confined places that a four-wheeled robot would not be able to.

Balancing robots generally use a gyroscope to detect how much a robot is falling and then drive the wheels proportionally in the same direction, to counterbalance the fall at hundreds of times per second, based on the dynamics of an inverted pendulum.[68] Many different balancing robots have been designed.[69] While the Segway is not commonly thought of as a robot, it can be thought of as a component of a robot, when used as such Segway refer to them as RMP (Robotic Mobility Platform). An example of this use has been as NASA's Robonaut that has been mounted on a Segway.[70]

A one-wheeled balancing robot is an extension of a two-wheeled balancing robot so that it can move in any 2D direction using a round ball as its only wheel. Several one-wheeled balancing robots have been designed recently, such as Carnegie Mellon University's "Ballbot" that is the approximate height and width of a person, and Tohoku Gakuin University's "BallIP".[71] Because of the long, thin shape and ability to maneuver in tight spaces, they have the potential to function better than other robots in environments with people.[72]

Several attempts have been made in robots that are completely inside a spherical ball, either by spinning a weight inside the ball,[73][74] or by rotating the outer shells of the sphere.[75][76] These have also been referred to as an orb bot[77] or a ball bot.[78][79]

Using six wheels instead of four wheels can give better traction or grip in outdoor terrain such as on rocky dirt or grass.

Tank tracks provide even more traction than a six-wheeled robot. Tracked wheels behave as if they were made of hundreds of wheels, therefore are very common for outdoor and military robots, where the robot must drive on very rough terrain. However, they are difficult to use indoors such as on carpets and smooth floors. Examples include NASA's Urban Robot "Urbie".[80]

Walking is a difficult and dynamic problem to solve. Several robots have been made which can walk reliably on two legs, however, none have yet been made which are as robust as a human. There has been much study on human inspired walking, such as AMBER lab which was established in 2008 by the Mechanical Engineering Department at Texas A&M University.[81] Many other robots have been built that walk on more than two legs, due to these robots being significantly easier to construct.[82][83] Walking robots can be used for uneven terrains, which would provide better mobility and energy efficiency than other locomotion methods. Typically, robots on two legs can walk well on flat floors and can occasionally walk up stairs. None can walk over rocky, uneven terrain. Some of the methods which have been tried are:

The zero moment point (ZMP) is the algorithm used by robots such as Honda's ASIMO. The robot's onboard computer tries to keep the total inertial forces (the combination of Earth's gravity and the acceleration and deceleration of walking), exactly opposed by the floor reaction force (the force of the floor pushing back on the robot's foot). In this way, the two forces cancel out, leaving no moment (force causing the robot to rotate and fall over).[84] However, this is not exactly how a human walks, and the difference is obvious to human observers, some of whom have pointed out that ASIMO walks as if it needs the lavatory.[85][86][87] ASIMO's walking algorithm is not static, and some dynamic balancing is used (see below). However, it still requires a smooth surface to walk on.

Several robots, built in the 1980s by Marc Raibert at the MIT Leg Laboratory, successfully demonstrated very dynamic walking. Initially, a robot with only one leg, and a very small foot could stay upright simply by hopping. The movement is the same as that of a person on a pogo stick. As the robot falls to one side, it would jump slightly in that direction, in order to catch itself.[88] Soon, the algorithm was generalised to two and four legs. A bipedal robot was demonstrated running and even performing somersaults.[89] A quadruped was also demonstrated which could trot, run, pace, and bound.[90] For a full list of these robots, see the MIT Leg Lab Robots page.[91]

A more advanced way for a robot to walk is by using a dynamic balancing algorithm, which is potentially more robust than the Zero Moment Point technique, as it constantly monitors the robot's motion, and places the feet in order to maintain stability.[92] This technique was recently demonstrated by Anybots' Dexter Robot,[93] which is so stable, it can even jump.[94] Another example is the TU Delft Flame.

Perhaps the most promising approach utilizes passive dynamics where the momentum of swinging limbs is used for greater efficiency. It has been shown that totally unpowered humanoid mechanisms can walk down a gentle slope, using only gravity to propel themselves. Using this technique, a robot need only supply a small amount of motor power to walk along a flat surface or a little more to walk up a hill. This technique promises to make walking robots at least ten times more efficient than ZMP walkers, like ASIMO.[95][96]

A modern passenger airliner is essentially a flying robot, with two humans to manage it. The autopilot can control the plane for each stage of the journey, including takeoff, normal flight, and even landing.[97] Other flying robots are uninhabited and are known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). They can be smaller and lighter without a human pilot on board, and fly into dangerous territory for military surveillance missions. Some can even fire on targets under command. UAVs are also being developed which can fire on targets automatically, without the need for a command from a human. Other flying robots include cruise missiles, the Entomopter, and the Epson micro helicopter robot. Robots such as the Air Penguin, Air Ray, and Air Jelly have lighter-than-air bodies, propelled by paddles, and guided by sonar.

Several snake robots have been successfully developed. Mimicking the way real snakes move, these robots can navigate very confined spaces, meaning they may one day be used to search for people trapped in collapsed buildings.[98] The Japanese ACM-R5 snake robot[99] can even navigate both on land and in water.[100]

A small number of skating robots have been developed, one of which is a multi-mode walking and skating device. It has four legs, with unpowered wheels, which can either step or roll.[101] Another robot, Plen, can use a miniature skateboard or roller-skates, and skate across a desktop.[102]

Several different approaches have been used to develop robots that have the ability to climb vertical surfaces. One approach mimics the movements of a human climber on a wall with protrusions; adjusting the center of mass and moving each limb in turn to gain leverage. An example of this is Capuchin,[103] built by Dr. Ruixiang Zhang at Stanford University, California. Another approach uses the specialized toe pad method of wall-climbing geckoes, which can run on smooth surfaces such as vertical glass. Examples of this approach include Wallbot[104] and Stickybot.[105] China's Technology Daily reported on November 15, 2008, that Dr. Li Hiu Yeung and his research group of New Concept Aircraft (Zhuhai) Co., Ltd. had successfully developed a bionic gecko robot named "Speedy Freelander". According to Dr. Li, the gecko robot could rapidly climb up and down a variety of building walls, navigate through ground and wall fissures, and walk upside-down on the ceiling. It was also able to adapt to the surfaces of smooth glass, rough, sticky or dusty walls as well as various types of metallic materials. It could also identify and circumvent obstacles automatically. Its flexibility and speed were comparable to a natural gecko. A third approach is to mimic the motion of a snake climbing a pole.[56]

It is calculated that when swimming some fish can achieve a propulsive efficiency greater than 90%.[106] Furthermore, they can accelerate and maneuver far better than any man-made boat or submarine, and produce less noise and water disturbance. Therefore, many researchers studying underwater robots would like to copy this type of locomotion.[107] Notable examples are the Essex University Computer Science Robotic Fish G9,[108] and the Robot Tuna built by the Institute of Field Robotics, to analyze and mathematically model thunniform motion.[109] The Aqua Penguin,[110] designed and built by Festo of Germany, copies the streamlined shape and propulsion by front "flippers" of penguins. Festo have also built the Aqua Ray and Aqua Jelly, which emulate the locomotion of manta ray, and jellyfish, respectively.

In 2014 iSplash-II was developed by PhD student Richard James Clapham and Prof. Huosheng Hu at Essex University. It was the first robotic fish capable of outperforming real carangiform fish in terms of average maximum velocity (measured in body lengths/ second) and endurance, the duration that top speed is maintained.[111] This build attained swimming speeds of 11.6BL/s (i.e. 3.7m/s).[112] The first build, iSplash-I (2014) was the first robotic platform to apply a full-body length carangiform swimming motion which was found to increase swimming speed by 27% over the traditional approach of a posterior confined waveform.[113]

Sailboat robots have also been developed in order to make measurements at the surface of the ocean. A typical sailboat robot is Vaimos[114] built by IFREMER and ENSTA-Bretagne. Since the propulsion of sailboat robots uses the wind, the energy of the batteries is only used for the computer, for the communication and for the actuators (to tune the rudder and the sail). If the robot is equipped with solar panels, the robot could theoretically navigate forever. The two main competitions of sailboat robots are WRSC, which takes place every year in Europe, and Sailbot.

Though a significant percentage of robots in commission today are either human controlled or operate in a static environment, there is an increasing interest in robots that can operate autonomously in a dynamic environment. These robots require some combination of navigation hardware and software in order to traverse their environment. In particular, unforeseen events (e.g. people and other obstacles that are not stationary) can cause problems or collisions. Some highly advanced robots such as ASIMO and Mein robot have particularly good robot navigation hardware and software. Also, self-controlled cars, Ernst Dickmanns' driverless car, and the entries in the DARPA Grand Challenge, are capable of sensing the environment well and subsequently making navigational decisions based on this information, including by a swarm of autonomous robots.[34] Most of these robots employ a GPS navigation device with waypoints, along with radar, sometimes combined with other sensory data such as lidar, video cameras, and inertial guidance systems for better navigation between waypoints.

The state of the art in sensory intelligence for robots will have to progress through several orders of magnitude if we want the robots working in our homes to go beyond vacuum-cleaning the floors. If robots are to work effectively in homes and other non-industrial environments, the way they are instructed to perform their jobs, and especially how they will be told to stop will be of critical importance. The people who interact with them may have little or no training in robotics, and so any interface will need to be extremely intuitive. Science fiction authors also typically assume that robots will eventually be capable of communicating with humans through speech, gestures, and facial expressions, rather than a command-line interface. Although speech would be the most natural way for the human to communicate, it is unnatural for the robot. It will probably be a long time before robots interact as naturally as the fictional C-3PO, or Data of Star Trek, Next Generation.

Interpreting the continuous flow of sounds coming from a human, in real time, is a difficult task for a computer, mostly because of the great variability of speech.[115] The same word, spoken by the same person may sound different depending on local acoustics, volume, the previous word, whether or not the speaker has a cold, etc.. It becomes even harder when the speaker has a different accent.[116] Nevertheless, great strides have been made in the field since Davis, Biddulph, and Balashek designed the first "voice input system" which recognized "ten digits spoken by a single user with 100% accuracy" in 1952.[117] Currently, the best systems can recognize continuous, natural speech, up to 160 words per minute, with an accuracy of 95%.[118] With the help of artificial intelligence, machines nowadays can use people's voice to identify their emotions such as satisfied or angry[119]

Other hurdles exist when allowing the robot to use voice for interacting with humans. For social reasons, synthetic voice proves suboptimal as a communication medium,[120] making it necessary to develop the emotional component of robotic voice through various techniques.[121][122] An advantage of diphonic branching is the emotion that the robot is programmed to project, can be carried on the voice tape, or phoneme, already pre-programmed onto the voice media. One of the earliest examples is a teaching robot named leachim developed in 1974 by Michael J. Freeman.[123][124] Leachim was able to convert digital memory to rudimentary verbal speech on pre-recorded computer discs.[125] It was programmed to teach students in The Bronx, New York.[125]

One can imagine, in the future, explaining to a robot chef how to make a pastry, or asking directions from a robot police officer. In both of these cases, making hand gestures would aid the verbal descriptions. In the first case, the robot would be recognizing gestures made by the human, and perhaps repeating them for confirmation. In the second case, the robot police officer would gesture to indicate "down the road, then turn right". It is likely that gestures will make up a part of the interaction between humans and robots.[126] A great many systems have been developed to recognize human hand gestures.[127]

Facial expressions can provide rapid feedback on the progress of a dialog between two humans, and soon may be able to do the same for humans and robots. Robotic faces have been constructed by Hanson Robotics using their elastic polymer called Frubber, allowing a large number of facial expressions due to the elasticity of the rubber facial coating and embedded subsurface motors (servos).[128] The coating and servos are built on a metal skull. A robot should know how to approach a human, judging by their facial expression and body language. Whether the person is happy, frightened, or crazy-looking affects the type of interaction expected of the robot. Likewise, robots like Kismet and the more recent addition, Nexi[129] can produce a range of facial expressions, allowing it to have meaningful social exchanges with humans.[130]

Artificial emotions can also be generated, composed of a sequence of facial expressions and/or gestures. As can be seen from the movie Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, the programming of these artificial emotions is complex and requires a large amount of human observation. To simplify this programming in the movie, presets were created together with a special software program. This decreased the amount of time needed to make the film. These presets could possibly be transferred for use in real-life robots.

Many of the robots of science fiction have a personality, something which may or may not be desirable in the commercial robots of the future.[131] Nevertheless, researchers are trying to create robots which appear to have a personality:[132][133] i.e. they use sounds, facial expressions, and body language to try to convey an internal state, which may be joy, sadness, or fear. One commercial example is Pleo, a toy robot dinosaur, which can exhibit several apparent emotions.[134]

The Socially Intelligent Machines Lab of the Georgia Institute of Technology researches new concepts of guided teaching interaction with robots. The aim of the projects is a social robot that learns task and goals from human demonstrations without prior knowledge of high-level concepts. These new concepts are grounded from low-level continuous sensor data through unsupervised learning, and task goals are subsequently learned using a Bayesian approach. These concepts can be used to transfer knowledge to future tasks, resulting in faster learning of those tasks. The results are demonstrated by the robot Curi who can scoop some pasta from a pot onto a plate and serve the sauce on top.[135]

The mechanical structure of a robot must be controlled to perform tasks. The control of a robot involves three distinct phases perception, processing, and action (robotic paradigms). Sensors give information about the environment or the robot itself (e.g. the position of its joints or its end effector). This information is then processed to be stored or transmitted and to calculate the appropriate signals to the actuators (motors) which move the mechanical.

The processing phase can range in complexity. At a reactive level, it may translate raw sensor information directly into actuator commands. Sensor fusion may first be used to estimate parameters of interest (e.g. the position of the robot's gripper) from noisy sensor data. An immediate task (such as moving the gripper in a certain direction) is inferred from these estimates. Techniques from control theory convert the task into commands that drive the actuators.

At longer time scales or with more sophisticated tasks, the robot may need to build and reason with a "cognitive" model. Cognitive models try to represent the robot, the world, and how they interact. Pattern recognition and computer vision can be used to track objects. Mapping techniques can be used to build maps of the world. Finally, motion planning and other artificial intelligence techniques may be used to figure out how to act. For example, a planner may figure out how to achieve a task without hitting obstacles, falling over, etc.

Control systems may also have varying levels of autonomy.

Another classification takes into account the interaction between human control and the machine motions.

Much of the research in robotics focuses not on specific industrial tasks, but on investigations into new types of robots, alternative ways to think about or design robots, and new ways to manufacture them. Other investigations, such as MIT's cyberflora project, are almost wholly academic.

A first particular new innovation in robot design is the open sourcing of robot-projects. To describe the level of advancement of a robot, the term "Generation Robots" can be used. This term is coined by Professor Hans Moravec, Principal Research Scientist at the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute in describing the near future evolution of robot technology. First generation robots, Moravec predicted in 1997, should have an intellectual capacity comparable to perhaps a lizard and should become available by 2010. Because the first generation robot would be incapable of learning, however, Moravec predicts that the second generation robot would be an improvement over the first and become available by 2020, with the intelligence maybe comparable to that of a mouse. The third generation robot should have the intelligence comparable to that of a monkey. Though fourth generation robots, robots with human intelligence, professor Moravec predicts, would become possible, he does not predict this happening before around 2040 or 2050.[137]

The second is evolutionary robots. This is a methodology that uses evolutionary computation to help design robots, especially the body form, or motion and behavior controllers. In a similar way to natural evolution, a large population of robots is allowed to compete in some way, or their ability to perform a task is measured using a fitness function. Those that perform worst are removed from the population and replaced by a new set, which have new behaviors based on those of the winners. Over time the population improves, and eventually a satisfactory robot may appear. This happens without any direct programming of the robots by the researchers. Researchers use this method both to create better robots,[138] and to explore the nature of evolution.[139] Because the process often requires many generations of robots to be simulated,[140] this technique may be run entirely or mostly in simulation, using a robot simulator software package, then tested on real robots once the evolved algorithms are good enough.[141] Currently, there are about 10 million industrial robots toiling around the world, and Japan is the top country having high density of utilizing robots in its manufacturing industry.[citation needed]

The study of motion can be divided into kinematics and dynamics.[142] Direct kinematics refers to the calculation of end effector position, orientation, velocity, and acceleration when the corresponding joint values are known. Inverse kinematics refers to the opposite case in which required joint values are calculated for given end effector values, as done in path planning. Some special aspects of kinematics include handling of redundancy (different possibilities of performing the same movement), collision avoidance, and singularity avoidance. Once all relevant positions, velocities, and accelerations have been calculated using kinematics, methods from the field of dynamics are used to study the effect of forces upon these movements. Direct dynamics refers to the calculation of accelerations in the robot once the applied forces are known. Direct dynamics is used in computer simulations of the robot. Inverse dynamics refers to the calculation of the actuator forces necessary to create a prescribed end-effector acceleration. This information can be used to improve the control algorithms of a robot.

In each area mentioned above, researchers strive to develop new concepts and strategies, improve existing ones, and improve the interaction between these areas. To do this, criteria for "optimal" performance and ways to optimize design, structure, and control of robots must be developed and implemented.

Bionics and biomimetics apply the physiology and methods of locomotion of animals to the design of robots. For example, the design of BionicKangaroo was based on the way kangaroos jump.

There has been some research into whether robotics algorithms can be run more quickly on quantum computers than they can be run on digital computers. This area has been referred to as quantum robotics.[143]

Robotics engineers design robots, maintain them, develop new applications for them, and conduct research to expand the potential of robotics.[144] Robots have become a popular educational tool in some middle and high schools, particularly in parts of the USA,[145] as well as in numerous youth summer camps, raising interest in programming, artificial intelligence, and robotics among students.

Universities offer bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in the field of robotics.[146] Vocational schools offer robotics training aimed at careers in robotics.

The Robotics Certification Standards Alliance (RCSA) is an international robotics certification authority that confers various industry- and educational-related robotics certifications.

Several national summer camp programs include robotics as part of their core curriculum. In addition, youth summer robotics programs are frequently offered by celebrated museums and institutions.

There are lots of competitions all around the globe. The SeaPerch curriculum is aimed as students of all ages. This is a short list of competition examples; for a more complete list see Robot competition.

The FIRST organization offers the FIRST Lego League Jr. competitions for younger children. This competition's goal is to offer younger children an opportunity to start learning about science and technology. Children in this competition build Lego models and have the option of using the Lego WeDo robotics kit.

One of the most important competitions is the FLL or FIRST Lego League. The idea of this specific competition is that kids start developing knowledge and getting into robotics while playing with Lego since they are 9 years old. This competition is associated with National Instruments. Children use Lego Mindstorms to solve autonomous robotics challenges in this competition.

The FIRST Tech Challenge is designed for intermediate students, as a transition from the FIRST Lego League to the FIRST Robotics Competition.

The FIRST Robotics Competition focuses more on mechanical design, with a specific game being played each year. Robots are built specifically for that year's game. In match play, the robot moves autonomously during the first 15 seconds of the game (although certain years such as 2019's Deep Space change this rule), and is manually operated for the rest of the match.

The various RoboCup competitions include teams of teenagers and university students. These competitions focus on soccer competitions with different types of robots, dance competitions, and urban search and rescue competitions. All of the robots in these competitions must be autonomous. Some of these competitions focus on simulated robots.

AUVSI runs competitions for flying robots, robot boats, and underwater robots.

The Student AUV Competition Europe [147] (SAUC-E) mainly attracts undergraduate and graduate student teams. As in the AUVSI competitions, the robots must be fully autonomous while they are participating in the competition.

The Microtransat Challenge is a competition to sail a boat across the Atlantic Ocean.

RoboGames is open to anyone wishing to compete in their over 50 categories of robot competitions.

Federation of International Robot-soccer Association holds the FIRA World Cup competitions. There are flying robot competitions, robot soccer competitions, and other challenges, including weightlifting barbells made from dowels and CDs.

Many schools across the country are beginning to add robotics programs to their after school curriculum. Some major programs for afterschool robotics include FIRST Robotics Competition, Botball and B.E.S.T. Robotics.[148] Robotics competitions often include aspects of business and marketing as well as engineering and design.

The Lego company began a program for children to learn and get excited about robotics at a young age.[149]

Robotics is an essential component in many modern manufacturing environments. As factories increase their use of robots, the number of roboticsrelated jobs grow and have been observed to be steadily rising.[150] The employment of robots in industries has increased productivity and efficiency savings and is typically seen as a long term investment for benefactors. A paper by Michael Osborne andCarl Benedikt Freyfound that 47 per cent of US jobs are at risk to automation "over some unspecified number of years".[151] These claims have been criticized on the ground that social policy, not AI, causes unemployment.[152] In a 2016 article in The Guardian, Stehphen Hawking stated "The automation of factories has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, and the rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend this job destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative or supervisory roles remaining".[153]

A discussion paper drawn up by EU-OSHA highlights how the spread of robotics presents both opportunities and challenges for occupational safety and health (OSH).[154]

The greatest OSH benefits stemming from the wider use of robotics should be substitution for people working in unhealthy or dangerous environments. In space, defence, security, or the nuclear industry, but also in logistics, maintenance, and inspection, autonomous robots are particularly useful in replacing human workers performing dirty, dull or unsafe tasks, thus avoiding workers' exposures to hazardous agents and conditions and reducing physical, ergonomic and psychosocial risks. For example, robots are already used to perform repetitive and monotonous tasks, to handle radioactive material or to work in explosive atmospheres. In the future, many other highly repetitive, risky or unpleasant tasks will be performed by robots in a variety of sectors like agriculture, construction, transport, healthcare, firefighting or cleaning services.[155]

Despite these advances, there are certain skills to which humans will be better suited than machines for some time to come and the question is how to achieve the best combination of human and robot skills. The advantages of robotics include heavy-duty jobs with precision and repeatability, whereas the advantages of humans include creativity, decision-making, flexibility, and adaptability. This need to combine optimal skills has resulted in collaborative robots and humans sharing a common workspace more closely and led to the development of new approaches and standards to guarantee the safety of the "man-robot merger". Some European countries are including robotics in their national programmes and trying to promote a safe and flexible co-operation between robots and operators to achieve better productivity. For example, the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) organises annual workshops on the topic "human-robot collaboration".

In the future, co-operation between robots and humans will be diversified, with robots increasing their autonomy and human-robot collaboration reaching completely new forms. Current approaches and technical standards[156][157] aiming to protect employees from the risk of working with collaborative robots will have to be revised.

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Robotics - Wikipedia

What Is Robotics? Types Of Robots | Built In

Robotics is quickly infiltrating every aspect our lives, including at home.Manufacturing

The manufacturing industry is probably the oldest and most well-known user of robots. These robots and co-bots (bots that work alongside humans) work to efficiently test and assemble products, like cars and industrial equipment. Its estimated that there are more than three million industrial robots in use right now.

Shipping, handling and quality control robots are becoming a must-have for most retailers and logistics companies. Because we now expectour packages arriving at blazing speeds, logistics companies employ robots inwarehouses, and even on the road, to help maximize time efficiency. Right now, there are robots taking your items off the shelves, transporting them across the warehouse floor and packaging them. Additionally, a rise in last-mile robots (robots that will autonomously deliver your package to your door) ensure that youll have a face-to-metal-face encounter with a logistics bot in the near future.

Its not science fiction anymore. Robots can be seen all over our homes, helping with chores, reminding us of our schedules and even entertaining our kids. The most well-known example of home robots is the autonomous vacuum cleanerRoomba. Additionally, robots have now evolved to do everything from autonomously mowing grass to cleaning pools.

Is there anything more science fiction-like than autonomous vehicles? These self-driving cars are no longer just imagination. A combination of data science and robotics, self-driving vehicles are taking the world by storm. Automakers, like Tesla, Ford, Waymo, Volkswagen and BMW are all working on the next wave of travel that will let us sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. Rideshare companies Uber and Lyft are also developing autonomous rideshare vehicles that dont require humans to operate the vehicle.

Robots have made enormous strides in the healthcare industry. These mechanical marvels have use in just about every aspect of healthcare, from robot-assisted surgeries to bots that help humans recover from injury in physical therapy. Examples of robots at work in healthcare areToyotas healthcare assistants, which help people regain the ability to walk, and TUG, a robot designed to autonomously stroll throughout a hospital and deliver everything from medicines to clean linens.

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What Is Robotics? Types Of Robots | Built In

Combating COVID-19The role of robotics in managing public health and infectious diseases – Science

Abstract

COVID-19 may drive sustained research in robotics to address risks of infectious diseases.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has now become a pandemic. The new coronavirus has affected nearly all continents; at the time of writing, South Korea, Iran, Italy, and other European countries have experienced sharp increases in diagnosed cases. Globalization and increasingly interconnected economies mean most countries will be affected by COVID-19. Global effort is therefore required to break the chains of virus transmission.

Could robots be effective resources in combating COVID-19? Robots have the potential to be deployed for disinfection, delivering medications and food, measuring vital signs, and assisting border controls. As epidemics escalate, the potential roles of robotics are becoming increasingly clear. During the 2015 Ebola outbreak, workshops organized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation identified three broad areas where robotics can make a difference: clinical care (e.g., telemedicine and decontamination), logistics (e.g., delivery and handling of contaminated waste), and reconnaissance (e.g., monitoring compliance with voluntary quarantines). Many of these applications are being actively explored in China, although in limited areas and many as proofs of concept. Frontline health care practitioners are still exposed to the pathogen with direct patient contact, albeit with protective gear. The COVID-19 outbreak has introduced a fourth area: continuity of work and maintenance of socioeconomic functions. COVID-19 has affected manufacturing and the economy throughout the world. This highlights the need for more research into remote operation for a broad array of applications requiring dexterous manipulationfrom manufacturing to remotely operating power or waste treatment plants.

For each of these areas, there are extensive developments, as well as opportunities, to be explored in robotics. In the case of clinical care, areas of specific importance include disease prevention, diagnosis and screening, and patient care and disease management.

For disease prevention, robot-controlled noncontact ultraviolet (UV) surface disinfection is being used because COVID-19 spreads not only from person to person via close contact respiratory droplet transfer but also via contaminated surfaces. Coronaviruses can persist on inanimate surfacesincluding metal, glass, or plasticfor days, and UV light devices (such as PX-UV) have been shown to be effective in reducing contamination on high-touch surfaces in hospitals. Instead of manual disinfection, which requires workforce mobilization and increases exposure risk to cleaning personnel, autonomous or remote-controlled disinfection robots could lead to cost-effective, fast, and effective disinfection (1). Opportunities lie in intelligent navigation and detection of high-risk, high-touch areas, combined with other preventative measures. New generations of robots, from macro- to microscale, could be developed to navigate high-risk areas and continually work to sterilize all high-touch surfaces.

For diagnosis and screening, mobile robots for temperature measurement in public areas and ports of entry represent a practical use of mature technologies. Automated camera systems are commonly used to screen multiple people simultaneously in large areas. Incorporating these thermal sensors and vision algorithms onto autonomous or remotely operated robots could increase the efficiency and coverage of screening. These mobile robots could also be used to repeatedly monitor temperatures of in-/outpatients in various areas of the hospitals with data linked to hospital information systems. By networking existing security systems with facial recognition software, it is possible to retrace contacts of infected individuals to alert others who might be at risk of infection. It is important, however, to introduce appropriate rules to respect privacy.

For initial diagnostic testing for COVID-19, most countries recommend collecting and testing nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs (2). This involves sample collection, handling, transfer, and testing. During a major outbreak, a key challenge is a lack of qualified staff to swab patients and process test samples. Automated or robot-assisted nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabbing may speed up the process, reduce the risk of infection, and free up staff for other tasks. Some people do not develop symptoms of the virus or harbor the virus at the moment of testing. In these cases, a blood test to check for antibody appearance could be crucial and used to identify silent infections. Automating the process of drawing blood for laboratory tests could also relieve medical staff from a task with a high risk of exposure. Researchers are studying robotic systems based on ultrasound imaging identification of peripheral forearm veins for automated venepuncture (3). Automated multiplex real-time assays would allow rapid in vitro qualitative detection and discrimination of pathogens. Autonomous drones or ground vehicles may be used for sample transfer as well as delivery of medicines to infected patients when movement is inadvisable.

COVID-19 could be a catalyst for developing robotic systems that can be rapidly deployed with remote access by experts and essential service providers without the need of traveling to front lines. Widespread quarantine of patients may also mean prolonged isolation of individuals from social interaction, which may have a negative impact on mental health. To address this issue, social robots could be deployed to provide continued social interactions and adherence to treatment regimes without fear of spreading disease. However, this is a challenging area of development because social interactions require building and maintaining complex models of people, including their knowledge, beliefs, emotions, as well as the context and environment of the interaction.

Teleoperation is also a mature technology that can be used for both telemedicine and telecommuting. In recent weeks, schools, universities, and companies in China have adopted online courses and interactions. As 5G bandwidth and 4-8K video become widely available, COVID-19 may mark the tipping point of how future organizations operate. Rather than cancelling large international exhibitions and conferences, new forms of gatheringonline rather than in-person attendancemay increase. Remote attendees may become accustomed to using robotic avatars and controls. Eventually, many conferences may be available via high-definition low-latency virtual reality, with the attendees virtual robot avatars fully mobile and immersed in the conference context. All of these modalities would reduce disease infection rates and carbon footprint simultaneously.

Historically, robots have been developed to take on dull, dirty, and dangerous jobs. Their first wide-spread deployment was in industrial applications, similarly combating infectious diseases involves an environment that is unsuitable for human workers but is suitable to robots. The experiences with the Ebola outbreak identified a broad spectrum of use cases, but funding for multidisciplinary research, in partnership with agencies and industry, to meet these use cases remains limited. Now, the impact of COVID-19 may drive further research in robotics to address risks of infectious diseases. But without sustained research efforts robots will, once again, not be ready for the next incident. By fostering a fusion of engineering and infectious disease professionals with dedicated funding we can be ready when (not if) the next pandemic arrives.

Guang-Zhong Yang, Bradley J. Nelson, Robin R. Murphy, Howie Choset, Henrik Christensen, Steven H. Collins, Paolo Dario, Ken Goldberg, Koji Ikuta, Neil Jacobstein, Danica Kragic, Russell H. Taylor, Marcia McNutt

Acknowledgments: We thank N. Shamsudhin, K. Dheman, C. Chautems, P. Shah, and E. Mossialos for their help.

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Combating COVID-19The role of robotics in managing public health and infectious diseases - Science

Students, staff bring robotics to students of all abilities – Hood River News

Last fall, as Hood River Valley High School robotics FTC (First Tech Challenge) and FRC (First Robotics Challenge) students were preparing for the challenges of upcoming qualifying meets, some began an additional project: Bringing the joys of competition and camaraderie to differently abled students.

It began with Hood River Valley High School Math/Engineering Teacher Jeff Blackman reaching out to Learning Specialist Becky Franks. He had learned of the Unified Robotics program from a colleague in Washington, and he pitched the idea to his robotics students.

And those students ran with the idea.

This group of students created Unified Robotics, Franks said. Its really been their work. They caught the vision for it, put the effort into it, created it and maintained it. They do the instruction for it.

Jeff and I just sit back and watch the magic, and facilitate a few things, she said.

Franks had four students involved in Unified Robotics. Each of those students were paired with two of Blackmans.

One of those students, A05 Annex FTC team member Payton Bunch, said that, after learning about the Unified Robotics program, she thought the program sounded like an amazing opportunity. Her role has been that of team manager, acting as a liaison between teachers and her peers. She also is in charge of scheduling and organization, with help from teammates, Franks and Blackman.

Unified Robotics meets once a week for around 40 minutes, she said. During this time, we are improving our robots and programming. We split into individual teams and concentrate on problem solving and having fun. We make different attachments for our robots and oftentimes, we run scrimmages and smooth out rough patches in our programs.

The Unified Robotics students participate in a Sumo Bots competition, which, Bunch explains, takes place on a white, circular table with a black, two-inch ring around the diameter, that is about two feet off of the ground. The object of these games is to knock the (other persons robot) off.

For Franks, seeing her differently abled students joking and conversing with their peers and succeeding at competitions has been beautiful.

Listening to them at my desk, just how normal the joking and conversation is my students cant provide experience for each other, Franks said. We need typically developing people to help with that.

At the FTC Super Qualifier competition held at HRVHS on Feb. 8, she almost broke down in tears because the expressions on my kids faces Ive never seen that before.

Bunch said that she has also learned a lot from the experience.

I feel as though I have become more education about differently abled students, she said. Ive also become more aware of how much of an impact we have on each other. To me, the most impactful moment was after our first competition and seeing pride and accomplishment on my peers faces. I am so proud to be a part of something that brings new experiences to people who didnt previously have access to them.

Ben Garofalo, who also participates in HRVHS robotics and worked as a volunteer for the Unified Robotics program, said that, at first, he was unsure of what the program might look like.

When the program first started, I was really unsure how it would work and how well it would go, he said. But as the season progressed, I started to really enjoy our weekly Unified Robotics meetings.

I think its so wonderful that we started this program here to give these students the opportunity to try something like this, he said. Now, I look forward to every meeting and the competitions we set up are super fun.

He said that, too he has made friends with the Unified Robotics program participants something he didnt expect. And for Franks, thats another benefit of the program.

I want to see our community be more and more inclusive, she said, and the HRVHS robotics students as an example of what is possible. (Jeff) asked his students, Do you want to be more inclusive? and they said, Yeah, we do. I stood in the hallway and cried the day he told me that.

About Unified Sports

Unified Sports, of which Unified Robotics is a part, is a program of Special Olympics and is funded through the U.S. Office of Special Education and the U.S. Department of Education. The goal is to use Special Olympics as a way to build inclusion and tolerance in schools, said Naomi Grimsley, a parent and Unified volunteer who brought the idea forward to then-Athletic Director Tom Ames a couple of years ago.

I first heard about Unified Sports through a friend and PE teacher in Walla Walla, Grimsley said. Perhaps because I have a child with special needs, she was sharing with me about her excitement over their Unified Program Over the next year, I chatted here and there with other community people who showed excitement and support for a program like this Trent Kroll (current athletic director) was excited to pick up the torch when he took Toms position, and hes been very supportive.

Grimsley is working on three aspects of the Unified program that would make HRVHS a Unified Champion School: Inclusive sports, inclusive youth leadership and whole school engagement.

Another goal this year is for Unified to become more involved in the elementary schools and eventually becoming a Unified Champion School District, she said.

Franks said that she needs community members who are willing to risk a little bit to expand the program to include more students.

Theres tons of room to help be a coach, be part of setting up these activities, she said.

Of course, with the coronavirus pandemic that has now closed schools until at least April 28, the rest of this year is up in the air.

Planning, however, is happening for the 2020-21 school year. For more information, contact Grimsley at Naomi.grimsley@hoodriver.k12.or.us.

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Students, staff bring robotics to students of all abilities - Hood River News

Robotics champs gutted by tournament cancellation – The Bay’s News First – SunLive

Young New Zealanders who qualified to represent the country are devastated after the cancellation of the Olympics of robotics due to be held in the USA this April.

With the ever-changing developments of COVID-19 across the globe, the VEX World Robotics Championships recently announced its cancellation for 2020, affecting thousands of students globally.

Tauranga teens affected by this cancellation are Sam Orlser, 13, and Luca Ririnui, 13, who make up the House of Science Tauranga robotics team.

They are both year nine students from Mount Maunganui College.

More than 40 students from Auckland, Palmerston North, Feilding, and Christchurch had also managed to qualify for prestigious places to attend the World Championships.

Kiwibots hosts National level competitions where teams compete for a place at the World Championships. These events have also been postponed.

"Our teams who qualify for the Worlds are always in for a once-in-a-lifetime experience - these really are the Olympics of robotics, and with New Zealand being nine times World Champions we really have a good shot at keeping up our records in years to come, says national manager of Kiwibots Janet Van.

Its a shame we wont be able to do this in 2020.

Each year VEX releases a new robotics design challenge - students from around the world begin designing, building and coding their own robot to tackle the challenge and achieve the highest score in the game.

"As the future of technology continues to evolve, its more important than ever to make sure we can provide the resources and tools to help young New Zealanders innovate and have hands-on experience as early as possible, says Janet.

The earlier we can train these engineering skills and expose Kiwis to robotics in the mainstream, the better prepared our future generations are for technological advancement and be leaders," says Janet.

After spending nearly a year building and designing their robots, qualifying teams have worked hard fundraising and saving to get them over to Louisville, Kentucky.

Despite the devastating news about the events cancellation, students are still showing grace and positivity, says Janet.

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Robotics champs gutted by tournament cancellation - The Bay's News First - SunLive

The robots are ready as the COVID-19 recession spreads – Brookings Institution

As if American workers dont have enough to worry about right now, the COVID-19 pandemic is resurfacing concerns about technologys impact on the future of work.Put simply, any coronavirus-related recession is likely to bring about a spike in labor-replacing automation.

Whats the connection between recessions and automation? On its face, the transition to automation may appear to be a steady, long-term trend. At the same time, it might seem intuitive that any rise unemployment in the coming months will make human labor relatively cheaper, thus slowing companies move to technology. Unfortunately for the workers poised to be affected by automation, this is not the case.

Robots infiltration of the workforce doesnt occur at a steady, gradual pace. Instead, automation happens in bursts, concentrated especially in bad times such as in the wake of economic shocks, when humans become relativelymoreexpensive as firms revenues rapidly decline. At these moments, employers shed less-skilled workers and replace them with technology and higher-skilled workers, which increases labor productivity as a recession tapers off.

Several economists have outlined this cyclical nature of automation. Nir Jaimovich of the University of Zurich and Henry E. Siu of the University of British Columbia reported that over three recessions in the last 30 years, a whopping 88% of job loss took place in routine, automatable occupationsmeaning such jobs accounted for essentially all of the jobs lost in the crises. Brad J. Hershbein of the W.E. Upjohn Institute and Lisa B. Kahn of the University of Rochester looked at almost 100 million online job postings before and after the Great Recession and found that firms in hard-hit metro areas were steadily replacing workers who performed automatable routine tasks with a mix of technology and more skilled workers.So, even as robots replace workers during boom times at places such asAmazonandWalmart, their influx surges during recessionsnot great news for the nations jittery workers.

As virus-relatedrecession fearsescalate, it is important to stress that while automation is likely to surge in general, not everyone is equally vulnerable. As our 2019 assessment of automation trends suggests, it is low-income workers, the young, and workers of color who will be vulnerable if this pandemic shoves the nation into a recession.The automation surge is likely to affect the most routine occupationsjobs in areas such as production, food service, and transportation, for example.

Altogether, our research flags some 36 million jobs that have a high susceptibility to automation. (That doesnt mean theywill beautomated, just that they could be.)

As to what particular groups of workers may be the most exposed, the threats are not evenly distributed.As restaurants and bars shut down during the pandemic, young workers may be at higher risk because of their heavy concentration in the food industry. Similarly, Latino or Hispanic workers could be more exposed than any other racial or ethnic group given their overrepresentation in food service jobs, production, and constructionareas that are likely to be stressed in the coming months.

In terms of geography, our previous work has shown that Rust Belt areas, which have already been hollowed out by previous rounds of industrial automation, remain vulnerable to further robotics and software investmentnot just in manufacturing but in the service sector as well. The pandemics damage to global industrial supply chains underscores the vulnerability of such manufacturing regions.

As for what all of this means for the future, the potential of an automation surge reinforces the fact that any coming recession wont only bring an end to the nations plentiful supply of jobs. Any downturn is likely to bring a new bout of structural change in the labor market and its demand for skills. If it extends for a while, the downturn could induce firms in food service, retail, and administrative work to restructure their operations toward greater use of technology and higher-skilled workers. For Americas beleaguered lower-skill workers, these changes will complicate the return to normalcy.

There likely will be no rest for the weary if COVID-19 lingers. Along with a public health crisis and epidemic of illness, the virus may well prompt a new spike of automation and lasting changes to an already rapidly evolving job market.

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The robots are ready as the COVID-19 recession spreads - Brookings Institution

ForwardX Robotics Ensures Reliability with Opening of US Test Center – Supply and Demand Chain Executive

ForwardX Robotics announced the opening of a new international test center in Phoenix, Arizona. Located within Northwest Business Center, at 9013 N 24th Ave, Suite 6, the new test center will act as home base to a growing team of application engineers, deployment engineers, and project managers as ForwardX expands its reach in the U.S. market.

At ForwardX, were devoted to developing industry-ready solutions that are highly effective, safe, and reliable. With the opening of our latest international test center, we hope to show our clients that their success is of paramount importance to us, said Viktor Wang, Senior Product Director at ForwardX Robotics. Were happy to welcome anyone interested in transforming their facility to join us in Phoenix soon.

The opening of its newest test center marks the second opening in as many months for ForwardX, with the unveiling of its U.S. headquarters in San Diego last month. With industry experience around the world, ForwardX has set its sights on the American market with its range of visual Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs), using state-of-the-art computer vision technology to address real issues in the logistics, manufacturing, and retail industries.

With the AMR and AGV market set to grow more than 50% annually, we see that there is a real need for reliable methods of automation. With our turnkey solutions and technological edge, we have made it our mission to help clients transform their operations as quickly and effectively as possible, said Nicholas Temple, VP of Sales Americas at ForwardX Robotics.

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ForwardX Robotics Ensures Reliability with Opening of US Test Center - Supply and Demand Chain Executive

Startup help: Making isolation wards robot ready – ETtech.com

Illustration: Rahul Awasthi A startup based in Kerala has developed a robot that can be used to serve food and medication to patients in isolation wards.

The development comes at a time when the country is battling an increasing number of cases of people infected by the Covid-19 virus, many of whom require isolation at hospitals to prevent the disease from spreading.

Asimov Robotics says its KARMIbot can help reduce both the burden on healthcare professionals as well as the risk of them being exposed to the virus.

The company, incidentally, shot to fame after Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor shared a video of its androids distributing sanitisers and masks, and promoting awareness among people about the pandemic.

The robot is expected to be cost-effective. Once the mould is completed and spares made available, the company will be able to manufacture one robot a day. It is in talks with the Ernakulam district health authorities for approval to roll out the robot at the earliest.

The robot also comes enabled with a video conferencing facility, which is expected to aid healthcare workers in keeping tabs on patients remotely. The patient will also be able to interact with attendants without coming in contact with them physically.

We have many startups that are working in disaster management and relief, said Saji Gopinath, head of Kerala Start Up Mission (KSUM).

These startups, like Asimov Robotics, have many products that can be pivoted into being used as solutions in times like thiswe felt that using robotics to help with caregiving and other non-essential medical procedures such as delivery of food or medication can considerably reduce the burden on healthcare workers, Gopinath added.

Kerala, which has been one of the worst affected due to the outbreak, on Monday reported 28 fresh cases, taking its total tally to 95, of which four people have been discharged. It is also in a state-wide lockdown till month end. This is a great time for technology to effectively and efficiently improve the situation, said Prasad Balakrishnan Nair, CEO of the Maker Village, an electronics hardware incubator located in Kochi. We are promoting a number of initiatives that could be of assistance in these trying times.

Another Kerala-based startup is developing an electronic temperature scanner that will not require manual checks with a thermal scanning device. The walkthrough scanner will record the temperature and send out an alert if it is higher than normal, Nair said.

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Startup help: Making isolation wards robot ready - ETtech.com

ForwardX Robotics Opens US Headquarters in California – Supply and Demand Chain Executive

ForwardX Robotics opened the doors to its U.S. headquarters in Mission Valley, San Diego. The new location, at 1455 Frazee Rd, Suite 522, marks ForwardXs first official step into the U.S. and will become the hub of their U.S. operations with a growing team set to call it home.

Since our conception in 2016, ForwardX has delivered on our promises, making a real, positive impact on our clients operations across the world. Now, we are determined to deliver those results to the logistics, manufacturing, and retail industries in the Americas, said Nicholas Temple, VP of Sales Americas at ForwardX Robotics. The opening of our U.S. headquarters shows real intent as we aim to make a mark stateside.

Specializing in providing visual Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs), ForwardX currently serves a number of Fortune 500 companies, from leading 3PLs and fashion retailers to OEMs. The addition of its U.S. headquarters strategically places ForwardX in the growing tech hub of San Diego where a number of key players in robotics-related industries are based, such as Teradata, Qualcomm, and Dexcom.

The new office will be located within the Pacific Center, an LEED Gold-awarded office space originally built in 1986 before being renovated in 2005. Designed by architecture firm Brian Paul & Associates, the 440,000-square-foot building is located close to Qualcomm Stadium, Downtown San Diego, and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

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ForwardX Robotics Opens US Headquarters in California - Supply and Demand Chain Executive

Look inside the hospital in China where coronavirus patients were treated by robots – CNBC

The idea of humanoid robots taking jobs previously done by humans may feel dystopian, but in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, robots can free up human hospital medical staff and limit the possibility virus spread.

That's precisely why Beijing-based robotics company CloudMinds sent14 robots to Wuhan, China to help with patient care amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The robots, some of which are more humanoid than others, can clean and disinfect, deliver medicine to patients and measure patients' temperature. CloudMinds donated robots to several medical facilities in China, including the Wuhan Wuchang Smart Field Hospital, which was converted from the Hong Shan Sports Center.

For a time in March,"a previously human-run field hospital located inside Hong Shan Sports Center located in Wuhan was converted ... into a robot-led field hospital staffed entirely by robots and other smart [Internet of Things] devices," CloudMinds CEO and founder Bill Huang tells CNBC Make It, in a statement.

The robots cost between $17,000 and $72,000 each, a spokesperson for CloudMinds U.S., tells CNBC Make It.

Take a look.

In the video below, CloudMinds' infrared thermometry system checks peoples' temperature as they enter the Wuhan WuchangSmart Field Hospital. If a person entering the hospital showed fever symptoms, theAI platform would alert humanmedical staff.

All video and photos courtesy of CloudMinds

CloudMinds' humanoid service robot, Ginger, helped with hospital admissions, education services and, as can be seen in the video below, in providing a bit of levity. In addition to its administrative responsibilities, Ginger, "helped lift the spirits of bored quarantine patients by entertaining them with dancing," Bill Huang said.

The delivery robot below has an autonomous navigation and obstacle avoidance system. It can be used to deliver food, drinks and medicine to patients without direct person-to-person contact.

The robots worked with an artificial intelligence information management platform.

Called HARIX (Human Augmented Robot Intelligence with eXtreme Reality), "this AI platform, synced with smart bracelets and rings worn by patients, was able to monitor patient vital signs (including temperature, heart rate, blood oxygen levels), allowing doctors and nurses outside the facility to monitor all patient vital information remotely on one interface," Bill Huang tells CNBC Make It.

"Doctors and nurses were also equipped with these smart devices to monitor their own vitals to catch any potential early symptoms of infection," he says.

Operations in field hospitals like Wuhan Wuchang Smart Field Hospital have now been put on hold.

"These temporary field hospitals were used primarily to treat new incoming cases with light symptoms, with severe cases being transferred to hospitals," a CloudMinds spokesperson tells CNBC Make It. "As the containment efforts have improved, and the number of new cases has decreased, hospitals are now able to accommodate all new incoming cases."

See also:

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Bernie Sanders: 'If you're a multimillionaire ... you're going to get through' the coronavirus pandemic

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Look inside the hospital in China where coronavirus patients were treated by robots - CNBC

Why so many robotic startups fail, and what can be done about it – TechCrunch

At last weeks TC Sessions: Robotics+AI, I felt it was important to focus at least one panel on companies that are working to foster robotics startups. NVIDIAs VP of Engineering Claire Delaunay and Freedom Robotics co-founder and CEO Joshua Wilson joined me to offer unique perspectives.

Both companies help provide building blocks for founders. NVIDIA is using some of its tremendous resources to create platforms like Isaac, designed to help prototype robots. And Freedom, a fairly fresh startup in its own right, is designing AI offerings to ease the deployment of those manner of systems.

But the first step of helping robotic startups help themselves is identifying why so many fail. Citing a handful of high-profile examples like Rethink, Anki, Jibo and CyPhy Works, I put the question to the panelists: even with a lot of funding and plenty of smart people on board, why do so many robotic startups fail?

I think its just very hard to solve robotics problems today, which makes it still very expensive and very hard to get to even an MVP (minimum viable product) in the development cycle of the of the company, said Delaunay. Too many people focus still on robotics problem, not on the final problem, not on the on the business proposition.

There are lots of reasons why robotics startups fail, but Delaunay honed in on one of the principle issues right out of the gate: unlike many other tech startups, robotics companies arent focused on solving a problem. But thats often out of necessity. Imagine starting a car company but you first have to mine cobalt for the battery and pave the roads. Or, to use Delaunays analogy, building and manufacturing your own smartphone in order to launch an app.

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Why so many robotic startups fail, and what can be done about it - TechCrunch

Insights into the Global Food Robotics Market – Analysis, Trends and Forecasts (2020 to 2025) – ResearchAndMarkets.com – Business Wire

DUBLIN--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The "Food Robotics - Market Analysis, Trends, and Forecasts" report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering.

Food Robotics market worldwide is projected to grow by US$1.8 Billion, driven by a compounded growth of 13%. Low (< 10 Kg), one of the segments analyzed and sized in this study, displays the potential to grow at over 14.2%. The shifting dynamics supporting this growth makes it critical for businesses in this space to keep abreast of the changing pulse of the market. Poised to reach over US$1.3 Billion by the year 2025, Low (< 10 Kg) will bring in healthy gains adding significant momentum to global growth.

Representing the developed world, the United States will maintain a 14% growth momentum. Within Europe, which continues to remain an important element in the world economy, Germany will add over US$70.3 Million to the region's size and clout in the next 5 to 6 years. Over US$86.1 Million worth of projected demand in the region will come from Rest of Europe markets. In Japan, Low (< 10 Kg) will reach a market size of US$107 Million by the close of the analysis period.

As the world's second largest economy and the new game changer in global markets, China exhibits the potential to grow at 12.8% over the next couple of years and add approximately US$316.2 Million in terms of addressable opportunity for the picking by aspiring businesses and their astute leaders. Presented in visually rich graphics are these and many more need-to-know quantitative data important in ensuring quality of strategy decisions, be it entry into new markets or allocation of resources within a portfolio.

Several macroeconomic factors and internal market forces will shape growth and development of demand patterns in emerging countries in Asia-Pacific. All research viewpoints presented are based on validated engagements from influencers in the market, whose opinions supersede all other research methodologies.

Competitors identified in this market include, among others,

Key Topics Covered:

I. INTRODUCTION, METHODOLOGY & REPORT SCOPE

II. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

1. MARKET OVERVIEW

2. FOCUS ON SELECT PLAYERS

3. MARKET TRENDS & DRIVERS

4. GLOBAL MARKET PERSPECTIVE

III. MARKET ANALYSIS

GEOGRAPHIC MARKET ANALYSIS

IV. COMPETITION

V. CURATED RESEARCH

For more information about this report visit https://www.researchandmarkets.com/r/kapavu

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Insights into the Global Food Robotics Market - Analysis, Trends and Forecasts (2020 to 2025) - ResearchAndMarkets.com - Business Wire

Fiona Hodgson: Why plumbing industry is thriving in an age of robotics – HeraldScotland

Industries which innovate and adapt to changing circumstances have a fighting chance of survival in a fiercely competitive commercial environment. That is one of the fundamental reasons that the plumbing and heating sector is now more buoyant than it has been for many years.

From an employers perspective, business in Scotland is riding a wave, with new build housing, City Deals and private contracts all adding to a significantly increasing workload and a demand for new skills.

From an employees viewpoint, there has seldom been a better time to become involved in a vibrant and dynamic industry at the forefront of new technologies which are showcasing renewables and meeting the demand for clean energy in an age of climate change.

And, at a time when the advance of robotics is generating disturbing headlines for working people across the spectrum, the exponentially-increasing complexity of the skills required by plumbers and heating engineers, the need for dexterity, hand-eye coordination and flexibility, mean that their services will still be in demand long into the future.

The challenge for those with the interests of the industry at heart is maintaining a pipeline of these highly-technical skillsets, in order that their knowledge can be passed on in turn. And that means one thing: apprentices.

In this area, Scotland is still recovering from the 2008 recession, when the number of apprentices dropped from 1800 in training to 700, a collapse which had serious implications for the sustainability of the profession.

The numbers have since recovered with just under 900 apprentices currently in training but there is still a long way to go if we are to meet the demands of the sector. What is heartening is the quality of the young people coming through out of the eight plumbing apprentices competing in the WorldSkills UK competition in Birmingham recently (November 2019), five were from Scotland taking home gold and silver medals and two being eligible to compete in China in 2021.

It is vital that we maintain this level of quality and increase the number of apprentices coming through the system. However, to do this we must address one of the issues facing the sector which is how to improve the perception of employment within it, and to have it recognised for what it is challenging, rewarding, worthwhile and socially useful.

Of immediate help would be support from the Scottish Government for adult apprenticeships, which are denied the same levels of funding and are therefore less attractive to employers, who also pay adults higher pay rates.

Such career opportunities would be very attractive to the many people who are seeing their jobs disappear in sectors such as retail, and in other employment areas which are about to be ground under the wheels of the juggernaut of automation.

It is also important to emphasise that, apart from take home salaries which would be the envy of many graduates, the plumbing and heating industry can be a springboard for careers in management, sales, lecturing and entrepreneurship.

Of course, as well as maintaining the quality of intake, the sector has to ensure the capability of the existing offering.

Governmental announcements on climate change such as that of former Chancellor Phillip Hammond who said that gas boilers were to be phased out in new build homes by 2025 present opportunities but also challenges for the sector. Many firms have welcomed the opportunity and have enthusiastically moved on to ground and air source heat pumps.

Mixes of hydrogen and natural gas are being trialled for use in homes in conjunction with existing wet heating systems, again reducing our reliance on fast-diminishing carbon-based resources. However, we not only need to ensure that only qualified, skilled labour undertake this type of work but also that they are sufficient in numbers to do so.

Scotland has even more ambitious carbon reduction targets than the rest of the UK and, as well as phasing out combustion heat in new homes, there is a wealth of work to be done in retro-fitting existing stock with the latest energy-saving technology.

We are experiencing a sea change in attitude to energy use, with the wish to restrict carbon consumption moving quickly into the mainstream. Plumbers and heating engineers will be in the vanguard of this very necessary revolution.

Fiona Hodgson is chief executive of the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers Federation, the trade association for plumbing and heating businesses.

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Fiona Hodgson: Why plumbing industry is thriving in an age of robotics - HeraldScotland

A robotics researcher is sending drones where few have gone before – create digital

One case in which it has shone has been stope mapping, replacing old cavity monitoring systems a camera or lidar on a boom, inserted manually into a passage by a worker.

The onboard lidar and the SLAM simultaneous location and mapping algorithms allow a drone to operate inside a virtual safety sphere and avoid collisions while collecting 300,000 points per second through a constantly-spinning Velodyne puck lidar, creating a point cloud.

Data is logged onboard and processed afterwards at half the speed of the capture time.

Hovermap also has potential in search and rescue, asset inspection and other scenarios.

In the year since it started with $3.5 million in seed funding, Emesent has grown its team from seven ex-CSIRO members Hrabar and CTO Farid Kendoul are co-founders to 20 full-timers.

It has also established distribution channels, including in China, Japan, South Korea and the US, and is a key part of the only Australian team to qualify for the three-year DARPA Subterranean Challenge, which pushes teams to drive novel approaches and technologies to map, navigate, and search underground environments.

Its been a crash course in business, too, for Hrabar, who began his tertiary studies as a mechanical engineer at the University of Cape Town.

Towards the end of his bachelors degree, Hrabar developed an interest in connecting computers with machinery.

For my final project I ended up building an automated warehouse system out of Lego, but it was controlled from a computer. I was reading in barcodes from a scanner and controlling the warehouse, so it was scanning barcodes of products and then packing them on shelves and keeping track of inventory, he told create.

I think from early on I was interested in that connection. And then I actually was interested in doing animatronics.

Animatronics turned out to be puppetry, at the end of the day, and the lack of intelligence in the automatons meant he lost interest.

However, following a year as a consulting engineer in London, Hrabar did end up creating a quarter-scale, animatronic aardvark as part of his mechanical engineering masters.

Its movement was enabled by hobby servos and controlled by a Handy Board microcontroller. The animatron featured in a National Geographic wildlife film.

While completing his degree, Hrabar also took in two years of computer science studies to fulfil the prerequisites for beginning a PhD in robotics at the University of Southern California. His PhD work focused on stereo vision and optic flow for drone collision avoidance, working with petrol-powered, single-rotor drones.

Post-PhD, most of the drone work in the US at the time was in defence, said Hrabar. The required security clearance was not easy to achieve for a non-US citizen.

A 2004 research internship at CSIRO in Brisbane working with Peter Corke (now Director at the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision and then a lab director at CSIRO) led to a move to Australia to work as a research scientist.

He worked with a group making drones smarter, while another focused on SLAM.

The next logical step was to put the two together, so that we could do SLAM on the drone in real time to help it navigate and collect that data for offline processing after the flight, he recalled.

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A robotics researcher is sending drones where few have gone before - create digital

Column | Outside the Surgical Suite: Robotic Solutions on the Battlefield and Beyond – MedTech Intelligence

When author Isaac Asimov introduced the world to the Three Laws of Robotics in his 1942 short story Runaround, little did he know that less than 45 years later the first non-laparoscopic robot, the Puma 560, would enter the surgical landscape. This would be followed several years later by the da Vinci robotic surgical system, now the standard robotic technique used by hospitals in the United States and many other countries when performing marginally invasive surgical procedures.

Or perhaps the visionary whose famous three laws were intended for human interactions with autonomous robots did indeed have prescient knowledge of the scientific breakthroughs that were to come. One can only wonder what Asimov would think of a surgical robotic solution that could be applied in war and disaster zonesand perhaps even one day in space.

While control, flexibility and precision are the hallmarks of the widely utilized da Vinci system, due to its bulk and need for fixed installation and a sterile, controlled temperature environment, it cannot be used in areas where it may be most neededbattlefields and natural disaster sites.

Presently, advancements are in process to bring surgical robotic application, guided by surgeons from remote locations, to battlefields and as close as the firing line. It is a methodology that has captured the attention, interest and positive reviews from the military and U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).

Dr. Darrin Frye of the DOD imparts oversight support and assistance with the research and development of Defense Health competences that will facilitate military healthcare providers in their responsibility to protect and treat those on the battlefield and in the air space. According to Dr. Frye, the present challenges inherent with evacuating the injured to treatment sites makes the prospect of surgical robotics technology of great promise and appeal to expeditionary medical and theater hospital specialists.

The product now in development marries elements of technologies that bear CE certification with a native design for field operations.

Currently, in the absence of a more effective solution, patients in war zones and disasters are triaged and transported to treatment centers for surgery. As a result, they receive only the most minimal of care during the first most critical hours following injury.

Present day robotic surgical solutions, because of their size, weight and aforementioned fixed installation and sterile environment requirements, cannot be applied at a war or other disaster site. Moreover, surgical robotics now in use do not convert from laparoscopic to open surgery functions fluidly and surgeons are required to operate in extremely close proximity to the injured.

The remote methodology soon to head to market comprises onsite containers with surgical robots and actual emergency rooms guided remotely by off-site surgeonsa superior alternative to transporting a critically wounded patient miles to a treatment center. Changes in todays battlefields and air space have made it challenging to evacuate patients to different locations for treatment, making surgical robotics technology particularly promising to expeditionary medical and theater hospital environments.

This advanced methodology is comprised of a number of surgical units with each unit maintaining a base with one degree of freedom (DoF), an anthropomorphous robotic arm with seven DoFs; an end-effector, mounted at the arm wrist, carrying three actuators that drive the surgical tool and a three DoFs surgical tool. The first six DoFs of the arm have torque sensing. Each surgical tool is comprised of a distal component, a rod and an interface component.

The digital component serves as the actual surgical tool, with capabilities as grasper, scissors and dissector. With two rotational joints, the tool can angle its tip around two perpendicular axes and has the capability to open and close its jaws. That, in combination with movement scaling estimated to surpass the accuracy of standard surgical robots by 10 times. The learning curve to use the surgical robot is relatively easy as the tool provides heightened vision, superior navigation and quality dexterity. More than noteworthy is that fact that units are limited to less than 300 pounds for easy transport using normal military vehicles.

This proprietary work in progress is being developed with artificial intelligence, making the technology fully autonomous. Its anticipated multi-capabilities would be well suited to environments outside the surgical suite due to its sensitivity, flexibility, size and cost efficiencies.

Modular in design, this pioneering technology allows for easy and quick set-up and makes multi-quadrant procedures possible. Other salient features include its facility to perform both laparoscopic and open procedures with microsurgery precision and inclusion of sensors and software to simplify the coordination of surgical movements. Compact and light, this robotic solution can be moved from one operating site to another within minutes.

At a cost of 50% less per procedure than the standard da Vinci method, the remote technology is not only price effective, but can perform five to 10 times higher the number of procedures per tool and be used in any procedure.

The benefits of deploying life-saving artificial intelligence procedures to the battlefield, to regions hit by natural or man-made disaster and perhaps eventually to space is now beyond the imagine phase and entering the stringent certification process. What do you think would Isaac Asimov be impressed or merely say, I told you so.

Surgeons recently demonstrated that autonomous robotic soft tissue surgery outperforms standard clinical methods.

Identifying user needs and actually turning them into actionable inputs during the design process can be a challenge.

All of the issues that ECRI calls out on its list are preventable, so device manufacturers and healthcare providers should take serious note.

How can medtech manufacturers navigate the roadblocks?

Continued here:

Column | Outside the Surgical Suite: Robotic Solutions on the Battlefield and Beyond - MedTech Intelligence

Taking a look at how the robotics field is growing at UTM – The Medium

One of the several areas the University of Toronto Mississauga is focusing on expanding is the innovative field of robotics. The Medium spoke to Julian Sequeira, a fourth-year computer science student at UTM and the events coordinator of the UTM Robotics Club, about robotics at UTM and the exciting projects the robotics club is currently working on.

The UTM Robotics Club was founded in September 2019 after Dr. Florian Shkurti, an assistant professor of mathematical and computational sciences at UTM, advised his CSC477: Introduction to Mobile Robotics students that it was the ideal time to start a robotics club since UTM was making a big investment into robotics. Sequeira and four other students thought it was a great idea so they worked together to initiate a robotics club at UTM.

As Sequeira details, UTM launched a couple of robotics classes last fall [and] hired three robotics professors. The professors bring with them expertise and innovation: Dr. Jessica Burgner-Kahrs, a worldwide expert in continuum robotics; Dr. Florian Shkurti, who completed his Ph.D. in computer science and robotics from McGill University; and Dr. Animesh Garg, who previously completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford University. There are [also] plans to offer more robotics courses next year, hire a couple more professors in robotics, and offer a robotics specialist for students. Sequiera furthermore recalls Shkurti mentioning that there will be a new building for robotics at UTM along with ten fully-featured robotic arms and facilities for robotics clubs and grad students.

The robotics club offers an opportunity for students to work with physical hardware since there are no relevant classes currently being offered. The club offer[s] workshops on Arduinos [and] 3D printers, and, essentially, offers an avenue for students to build things on a physical level. The club is also a great opportunity for first and second-year students who are interested in robotics but cannot enrol in the third and fourth-year classes just yet.

The club is working on a few different projects. The first one is a self-balancing pendulum[for which they are currently] printing parts and [plan to] later write code to make it self balancing. Another project is a a self-driving car project spearheaded by students who are taking an independent study class with Shkurti. The aim is to program the car so that it can drive around campus and pick up trash. Right now, the team is training a neural net on [the car], which, in laymans terms, [means] that [the team] drives it around the Deerfield building, taking pictures and controlling it with a joystick. If [the car] see a picture of a wall, the joystick input would be to turn left or right so it doesnt crash into a wall, [and] later, when it is driving autonomously, it will see the wall, and based on the training it has, it will go left or right to avoid that wall. The team will also be training a neural net on the car to teach it what items are garbage.

The third project UTMs robotics club is working on involves training a drone to recognize different gestures, and based on those gestures, do something. As of now, they have trained it to follow faces. For instance, if the drone sees and recognizes a team members face and the person turns twenty degrees to the right, the drone will also turn twenty degrees to the right.

The club holds weekly sessions where members can come in and work on projects. It helps if you have some computer science background, but if you do not, its completely fine. Everyone is welcome to join. The executives are always willing to mentor participants and to try finding something they can work on or get excited about. In the future, the team looks forward to grow[ing] alongside UTM investing in robotics.

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Taking a look at how the robotics field is growing at UTM - The Medium

Construction Workers Embrace the Robots That Do Their Jobs – WIRED

The International Union of Operating Engineers has plenty of big toys at its training center in Crosby, Texas, but one that began rolling across the 265-acre campus last week is an oddity. The modified Caterpillar 336 excavator can use onboard computers and sensors to perform by itself some of the work the center trains human operators to do, such as digging trenches for gas pipelines or wind turbine foundations.

The IUOEs new robotic excavator is the result of an unusual partnership with Built Robotics, a San Francisco startup that sells a box that can enable a backhoe or bulldozer to pilot itself for some tasks. It contains a high-powered computer, motion and angle sensors, and a laser scanner called a lidar commonly used in self-driving cars.

Although Builts product is designed to remove workers from the cab of construction equipment, IUOEs director of construction training, Chris Treml, says the union wants to train its members to work with the technology. Operating engineers are always on the cutting edge of technology, he says.

After construction workers describe an excavation using GPS coordinates, the vehicle can drive itself across a site to its starting point and go to work.

The IUOE was founded in 1896 and its logo features a steam gauge with the needle at 420 pounds per square inch, the operating pressure of some steam engines. Its training center teaches members to use remotely operated robotic equipment such as drones and mini-cranes, as well as fine-grade GPS equipment to guide construction vehicles to grade dirt at precise angles.

Treml says members now need to get familiar with autonomous construction equipment, because it too is set to become a standard part of the industry. The last thing I want to see is people losing their jobs, he says. But this is something thats out there and its going to be part of our industry, and so we want to be a part of it. Built plans to help IUOE expand its fleet of autonomous vehicles over the coming year.

While a vehicle is in autonomous mode, a single worker needs to stay on hand in case of problems.

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Construction Workers Embrace the Robots That Do Their Jobs - WIRED

Numina Group, Waypoint Robotics to Launch Innovative Autonomous Batch Cart Order Fulfillment Solution – Supply and Demand Chain Executive

Numina Group and Waypoint Robotics have teamed up to create a powerful autonomous batch order automated order picking solution.

Numina Groups Real-time Distribution Software, RDS Batch Bot Voice Picking Application integrates with Waypoint Robotics Vector Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) to provide an innovative, highly efficient order picking solution. The RDS automation module uses pick by voice commands to direct operator zone movement and picking tasks while coordinating the Waypoint Vector AMR batch cart movement throughout the distribution center. Using the Kingpin technology, the AMRs efficiently pick up and move carts with heavy and/or large quantities of orders, allowing the operators to focus on the high value order picking duties. The Vector AMR Kingpin connects and drops carts quickly, resulting in higher hourly throughput per cart, and a more efficient pick, pack and ship operation.

The solution simultaneously coordinates both the Waypoint AMR and order picking to eliminate wasted operator walk time and fatigue caused by manually pushing carts with up to 600 pounds of products throughout the DC. RDS directs the Vector AMR with Kingpin pick and drop technology, so the pick carts automatically move to each shelf or rack location. At pick completion, RDS directs the AMR to transport the finished carts to packing workstations. Vector combined with the RDS Batch Bot solution provides higher order fulfillment efficiency, reducing labor costs by 40% or more compared to a manual cart picking process.

Numina Groups RDS Warehouse Execution and Control Software Suite now includes a new Batch Bot Module to optimize, manage and track (AMR) activities, says Numina Group chief executive officer Dan Hanrahan. The new software module extends the capabilities of our RDS Pick by Voice picking application so both the workers and the autonomous batch cart movements are coordinated throughout pick and pack. The Batch Bot module includes order release and prioritization, cartonization pick to carton, put to light order consolidation and labor and order tracking performance metrics reporting.

Waypoints Kingpin is the first of its kind dual-use module that enables Vector and MAV3K AMRs to automatically load and unload payloads as well as hitch and transport carts of all sizes, says Waypoint Robotics chief executive officer Jason Walker. Now you dont have to dedicate a robot for one task or another, with Kingpin you can do both. This combined with Numina Groups RDS order fulfillment automation suite creates a powerful but easy to use solution to improve worker productivity and safety by reducing the heavy lifting

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Numina Group, Waypoint Robotics to Launch Innovative Autonomous Batch Cart Order Fulfillment Solution - Supply and Demand Chain Executive

Robots Are Helping to Eliminate Coronavirus Transmission – ETF Trends

By now, everyone is well aware of the preventative measures for avoiding the coronavirus pandemic, which could be as simple as normal hygienewashing hands for example. However, robots are taking coronavirus containment to another level, especially in areas where the likelihood of contracting the virus is highhospitals for example.

One Danish company, UVD Robots, is making machines that can help disinfect these high-risk areas.

Per an IEEE Spectrum report, these robots are able to disinfect patient rooms and operating theaters in hospitals. Theyre able to disinfect pretty much anything you point them ateach robot is amobile array ofpowerful short-wavelengthultraviolet-C(UVC) lightsthatemit enough energy to literally shred the DNA or RNA of any microorganismsthat have the misfortune of being exposed to them.

The initial volume is in the hundreds of robots; the first ones went to Wuhan where the situation is the most severe, UVD Robots CEOJuul Nielsen toldIEEE Spectrum.Were shipping every weektheyre going air freight into China because theyre so desperately needed. The goal is to supply the robots to over 2,000 hospitals and medical facilities in China.

^SPKR data by YCharts

The robots could be coming to a local hospital near you, and it would serve traders best to capitalize on this move to robotics with ETFs like theRobotics & AI Bull 3X ETF(NYSEArca: UBOT). Traders looking to capitalize on the move to robotics can use UBOT as a tool.

UBOT seeks daily investment results equal to 300 percent of the daily performance of the Indxx Global Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Thematic Index, which is designed to provide exposure to exchange-listed companies in developed markets that are expected to benefit from the adoption and utilization of robotics and/or artificial intelligence.

The robotics space is certainly in a push-pull dichotomy of investors capitalizing on the latest in disruptive technology, while at the same time, getting push back from those threatened by the wider adoption of robots. The fears are warranted given that robotics technology has the capacity to supplant human jobs.

Key characteristics of UBOT:

For more market trends, visitETF Trends.

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Robots Are Helping to Eliminate Coronavirus Transmission - ETF Trends

Diakont Receives Emerging Technology Award For Robotic Online Tank Floor Inspection Services – Robotics Tomorrow

Diakont was presented with the Emerging Technology Award for their online robotic tank floor inspection technology during this years Global Tank Storage Awards, hosted by Tank Storage Magazine at the StocExpo Conference in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Diakont was presented with the Emerging Technology Award for their online robotic tank floor inspection technology during this year's Global Tank Storage Awards, hosted by Tank Storage Magazine at the StocExpo Conference in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Tank Storage Magazine is the leading industry publication dedicated to the bulk liquid storage sector.

Legacy methods of petroleum tank floor inspections conducted via human entry expose personnel to toxic substance and confined space hazards. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 166 confined space fatalities in 2017, as well as 531 fatalities due to harmful substance or environmental exposure. Diakont's robotic inspection services eliminate this risk, since the robots enter the tank instead of the personnel. The Diakont inspection robots incorporate multiple sensor arrays, including high-resolution ultrasonic, for conducting the structural examination as well as navigating and mapping the tank space.

Edward Petit de Mange, Managing Director for Diakont, was excited to accept this award on Diakont's behalf. "We are humbled by this honor because it affirms industry trust in this paradigm shift in inspection methodology. This technology is a game-changer for petroleum facility operators; allowing for more frequent inspections of these critical assets, at lower cost, while reducing environmental impact and increasing personnel and public safety."

The Emerging Technology Award is presented to a cutting-edge technology that allows forward-thinking storage terminals to keep pace with a rapidly changing working environment. Winners of this year's Global Tank Storage Awards were selected by a panel of executives and professionals from the global tank storage industry. Diakont was one of 11 awardees recognized at the ceremony in Rotterdam. The award-winning teams include CLH, Sprague Operating Resources, Toptech Systems, and more.

About Diakont

Diakont is a global technology company with a technical center based in Carlsbad, California, USA. The company's mission is to provide high-tech solutions that enhance the safety and economy of the most demanding applications. Diakont currently has a global workforce of over 1,300 highly-skilled professionals whose work supports the pipeline, energy generation, and manufacturing industries.

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Diakont Receives Emerging Technology Award For Robotic Online Tank Floor Inspection Services - Robotics Tomorrow


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