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Elon Musk and AI leaders call for a ban on killer robots – The Verge

Leaders in the fields of AI and robotics, including Elon Musk and Google DeepMinds Mustafa Suleyman, have signed a letter calling on the United Nations to ban lethal autonomous weapons, otherwise known as killer robots. In their petition, the group states that the development of such technology would usher in a third revolution in warfare, that could equal the invention of gunpowder and nuclear weapons.

Once developed, [autonomous weapons] will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend, write the signatories. These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways.

A revolution in warfare that could equal the invention of gunpowder

The letter is signed by the founders of 116 AI and robotics companies from 26 countries, and was published this weekend ahead of the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI). This was intended to coincide with the beginning of formal talks by the UN exploring such a ban. 123 member nations agreed to the talks which were triggered in part by the publication of a similar petition in 2015 but discussions have been delayed due to unpaid fees from member states.

The experts signing the letter say that autonomous weapons that kill without human intervention are morally wrong, and that their use should be controlled under the 1983 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). This UN agreement regulates the use of a number of types of weapons including land mines, fire bombs, and chemical weapons.

Signatories to the letter say the need to act is urgent. This is not a hypothetical scenario, but a very real, very pressing concern which needs immediate action, said signatory Ryan Gariepy, founder of Clearpath Robotics, in a press statement. We should not lose sight of the fact that, unlike other potential manifestations of AI which still remain in the realm of science fiction, autonomous weapons systems are on the cusp of development right now and have a very real potential to cause significant harm to innocent people along with global instability.

A number of nations are currently developing lethal autonomous weapons, including the US, China, Russia, and Israel. Some systems have already been deployed, like autonomous border turrets built by South Korean arms manufacturer Dodaam Systems. The turrets are equipped with machine guns and are technically capable of identifying and firing on targets without human intervention, although currently human operators have to authorize any lethal shots.

Proponents of autonomous weapons say such technology could reduce battlefield casualties, and would be able to discriminate more accurately between civilians and combatants. But critics says these attitudes will only lead to such weapons being deployed more frequently, and cite the use of drone strikes by the US, which have allowed the country to conduct persistent bombing campaigns across the Middle East.

At this point in time no country seems likely to slow its development of such weapons for fear that others will overtake them. A US department of defense report on the subject cited by the Financial Times urges increased investment in autonomous weapon technology, so that America may remain ahead of adversaries who also will exploit its operational benefits.

This sort of arms race mentality is exactly the situation that the AI and robotics experts want to avoid. As the petition submitted to the UN states: We do not have long to act. Once this Pandoras box is opened, it will be hard to close.

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Elon Musk and AI leaders call for a ban on killer robots – The Verge

Georgia Tech builds first-of-its-kind ‘Robotarium’ to advance robotics research (Video) – Atlanta Business Chronicle


Atlanta Business Chronicle
Georgia Tech builds first-of-its-kind 'Robotarium' to advance robotics research (Video)
Atlanta Business Chronicle
Georgia Tech has built a Robotarium the first of its kind at a research university to accelerate robotics research. The 725-square-foot Robotarium is a remotely accessible swarm robotics lab populated with almost 100 wheeled ground robots and

and more »

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Georgia Tech builds first-of-its-kind ‘Robotarium’ to advance robotics research (Video) – Atlanta Business Chronicle

Data Sheet: Uber CEO, Ellen Pao Speaks, Netflix Cash, Robotics Weapon Ban – Fortune

Jeff Immelt: Uber CEO? The GE chairman has reportedly emerged as the front-runner to lead the controversial ride-hailing company.

Ellen Pao has a new book. The former Kleiner Perkins investor shares details of her time at the venture firm and argues that gender discrimination lawsuits are far from over.

Teens love Apple’s iMessage.Why? Because they own iPhones, iMessage is already there, and third-party app support has breathed new life into the platform , argues one executive.

Netflix is still spendinga lot. The media company will spend $7 billion on content next year, up from $6 billion this year.

Can Electronic Arts cultivate a casual eSports customer base? With the National Football League.Madden NFL 18,and a new tournament, perhapswith sponsorships, ticket sales, merchandising, and broadcast rights to follow.

Ford’s Argo AI. The Pittsburgh company has $1 billion in backing from the Detroit automaker andnow finds itself fighting with the competition to recruit roboticists and machine learning experts.

Parts suppliers succumb to the Amazon effect. Plumbers, electricians, and contractors feel the pressure of the retailing giant .

Elon Musk calls for a robotics weapon ban. Along with 115 other experts, Musk called for strict oversightof autonomous weapons , a.k.a. “killer robots.”

Is this the new Nest thermostat? A well-known leaker of such things believes so.

Former 23andMe president joins Livongo. Andy Page, who left 23andMe earlier this year, joins a startup focused on chronic disease management .

Paul Allen makes a historic discovery.The USS Indianapolis, lost for 72 years, is found 18,000 feet below the surface of the Philippine Sea.

“After years of sitting too comfortably on the sidelines, here, at an important moment in history, [technology companies] appear to be stepping up against unquestionably evil ideologies. And because companies like Google or Facebook constitute a kind of modern infrastructure for social relations and how we get media, it can, as an observer, feel good to see them help cut off oxygen to the pernicious and insidious viewpoints now so plainly and terrifyingly in view.”

Navneet Alang, writing in The Week

Should Uber pay congestion charges? Nexar CEO Eran Shir makes an interesting argument for such a thing in The Information . He believes that “surge pricing” could be applied to a multimodal transportation network, citing as an example New York City, which remains without such things despite several attempts over the last decade. Looking out the windows of Fortune HQ to the fairly empty street belowand remembering the packed subway car I rode here earlier this morningI’m wondering if we’re thinking about this all wrong.

This edition of Data Sheet was curatedby Andew Nusca . Find past issues, and sign up for otherFortune newsletters .

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Data Sheet: Uber CEO, Ellen Pao Speaks, Netflix Cash, Robotics Weapon Ban – Fortune

This 3D-printed robotic arm is built for sign language | TechCrunch – TechCrunch

While we usually see robotics applied to industrial or research applications, there are plenty of ways they could help in everyday life as well: an autonomous guide for blind people, for instance, or a kitchen bot that helps disabled folks cook. Or and this one is real a robot arm that can perform rudimentary sign language.

Its part of a masters thesis from grad students at the University of Antwerp who wanted to address the needs of the deaf and hearing impaired. In classrooms, courts and at home, these people often need interpreters who arent always available.

Their solution is Antwerps Sign Language Actuating Node, or ASLAN. Its a robotic hand and forearm that can perform sign language letters and numbers. It was designed from scratch and built from 25 3D-printed parts, with 16 servos controlled by an Arduino board. Its taught gestures using a special glove, and the team is looking into recognizing them through a webcam as well.

Right now, its just the one hand so obviously two-hand gestures and the cues from facial expressions that enrich sign language arent possible yet. But a second coordinating hand and an emotive robotic face are the next two projects the team aims to tackle.

The idea is not to replace interpreters, whose nuance can hardly be replicated, but to make sure that there is always an option for anyone worldwide who requires sign language service. It also could be used to help teach sign language a robot doesnt get tired of repeating a gesture for you to learn.

Why not just use a virtual hand? Good question. An app or even a speech-to-text program would accomplish many of the same things. But its hard to think less of the ASLAN project; taking an assistive technology off the screen and putting it in the real world, where it can be interacted with, viewed from many angles, and otherwise share the physical space of the people it helps, is a commendable goal.

ASLAN was created by Guy Fierens, Stijn Huys and Jasper Slaets. Its still in prototype form, but once its finalized the designs will be open sourced.

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This 3D-printed robotic arm is built for sign language | TechCrunch – TechCrunch

5 Passive Cooling Alternatives Using Robotics and Smart Materials – ArchDaily

5 Passive Cooling Alternatives Using Robotics and Smart Materials

The IAAC (Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia) has developed a series of advanced materials and systems for air conditioning and passive ventilation, allowing homes to reduce interior temperatures up to 5 degrees lower while saving the electricity consumption caused by the traditional air-conditioning. The systems are made from long-lifespan materials, which lower the costs of maintenance in the long-term and can be used as low-cost alternative building technologies.

The projects highlightedare the Breathing Skin, Hydroceramics, Hydromembrane, Morphluid and Soft Robotics – all developed by students of the IAAC’s Digital Matter Intelligent Constructions (conducted by Areti Markopoulou). The passive air-conditioning of spaces is investigated using a combination of new materials that mimic organic processes, adaptive structures and Robotics that help regulate temperature and create sustainable micro climates.

Facades and light structures like Hydroceramics, Breathing Skin or Hydromembrane have been developed by the IAAC during recent years. By creating a series of systems that act like a second skin in buildings, IAAC transforms a buildings thermoregulation to imitate the human body -transpiring water to regulate the temperature.

Hydroceramics is a faade system made of clay and hydrogel panels capable of cooling building interiors up to 5 degrees. Hydrogel capsules have the capacity to absorb up to 500 times their own weight in water to create a construction system that “breathes” through evaporation and perspiration.

Unlike Hydroceramics, parallel inventions Hydromembrane and Breathing Skin are based on compounds made with fine membranes and intelligent fabrics for buildings that act as a second “respiratory” skin for constructions capable of self-regulating the humidity and climate of indoor and outdoor spaces.

Each system uses materials that have a high capacity of water absorption, which is later released by evaporation – creating a cooling effect in warm environments. As an example, Breathing Skin absorbs up to 300 times its volume in water in a relatively short period of time thanks to the presence of superabsorbent polymer called sodium polyacrylate.

IAAC has also designed more alternatives that focus on structures and applied robotics in the new bioclimatic architecture. Morphluid or Soft Robotics (SORO) are created as passive shading systems using “live roofs” that regulate the amount of light and heat entering the spaces.

Soft Robotics is a lightweight and sensitive robotic shading device that attempts to create microclimate by controlling sunlight, ventilation and temperature to humidify the atmosphere. This robotic prototype adopts different sizes and shapes as the artificial “sunflowers” that project shade the moment its integrated liquid element is evaporated by the heat of the sun.

Morphluid is also based on the transition of liquids as an activator that modulates the roof and adjusts the environment by means of shading. Morphluid integrates two water tanks into a movable structure (a roof, a window) that tilts when the water in one of the tanks evaporates, allowing shade to continuously project and refresh the environment.

The IAAC academic director and project manager, Areti Markopoulou, highlights “the potential of advanced systems and materials to help us have the most pleasant temperature in our homes through more sustainable buildings that breathe and behave the living things and interact with their environment.” Markopoulou Also highlighted the importance of this innovation to energy saving, since “passive air-conditioning materials and systems are based on principles of physics such as evaporation to cool spaces.”

To learn more about eachproject, check out the gallery below:

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5 Passive Cooling Alternatives Using Robotics and Smart Materials – ArchDaily

The Robots Will Be Soft and Cuddly and Heal Their Own Wounds … – WIRED

Seppe Terryn/Science Robotics

Poke a hole in a human and something remarkable happens. First of all, you go to jail. But meanwhile, the wound heals itself, filling in the missing tissue and protecting itself from infection. Poke a hole in a robot , however, and prepare for a long night of repairs. The machines may be stronger than us, but theyre missing out on a vital superpower.

Until now. Researchers at Belgiums Vrije Universiteit Brussel report this week in Science Robotics that theyve developed a squishy, self-healing robot. Cut it open, apply heat, let it cool down again, and the wound heals itself. While self-healing materials are nothing new, their application in so-called soft robotics a relatively new kind of pliable machine that uses pneumatics or hydraulics to movecould be big. Think Terminator-style robots that automatically heal bullet wounds. OK, maybe dont think of that.

Seppe Terryn, Science Robotics

To build their squishbot, the researchers crafted an elastomer, a elastic variety of polymer. Its network of microscopic chains are held together by something called a Diels-Alder reaction , which is temperature-sensitive. So these bonds break when you heat them and reform as they cool. On the microscopic level, there is enough mobility to seal the gap, says electromechanical engineer Seppe Terryn , lead author on the paper. And then if we decrease the temperature again the entire network will be formed again. Think of melting down a cube of Jell-O, then putting it back in the fridgethe difference being that this polymer goes back to its original shape and strength after injury. Also, its more expensive and less tasty.

Now, of course itd be ideal if the soft robot could heal itself without the application of heat, but in a way theres an advantage here. This means also that we can do the healing in a controlled way, says Terryn. So in the long term, the robots can decide when is the best time to start the healing and start heating up.

That, though, would require that the robot knows its injured. So what the team is working on next is a material loaded with sensors that could tell exactly where a wound opens up, then deploy targeted heat to the area to heal it. The robot could even start preemptively healing if it detects microcuts from normal wear and tear.

Seppe Terryn, Science Robotics

This system, then, very much mimics the way an animal seals up a wound. That’s opposed to other self-healing materials already out there which, for instance, use embedded microcapsules to release healing agents. (These are better for rigid structures like glass, not floppy robots. That and they don’t need temperature changes to work.) What Terryn and his team are doing instead is adapting an existing technology. “They’re taking these Diels-Alder polymers that have been shown before to have reversible covalent bonds and making use of them in these very biomimetic applications,” says North Dakota State University’s Michael Kessler, who also works in self-healing materials.

In addition to this system needing heat to work, another downside is that the healing isnt wildly efficient. The main concern with the material proposed in this paper is the time and the heating required for healing, says roboticist Pietro Valdastri of the University of Leeds. Depending on the application, 40 minutes at 80 degrees centigrade plus cooling time can be too long to wait.

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I Spent the Night With Yelps Robot Security Guard, Cobalt

But thats now. Self-healing will only get better from here, and surely will be essential for soft robots, which today are typically made of fabrics like polyester. After all, the whole point of a robot soft is it can interact with humans without killing them and pick up squishy objects like tomatoes.

That and they pack well: A four-foot-long soft robot arm can deflate and ship in far less space than a traditional robot arm. And thats important because soft robots are going places. Having a robot that doesn’t need to be pulled out for repair, says roboticist Jon Pompa of soft robot outfit Pneubotics , if you could identify some failure modes and have the materials of the robot do some kind of self-repairing stuff, that would be a really excellent argument why to use them in extreme environments.

For instance, if you pack a soft robot in a rocket and fire it to Mars to do some construction ahead of human habitation, youre screwed if it springs a leak and deflates mid-mission. But what Terryns team has shown is that you could theoretically have an injured soft robot deflate itself and heat up to repair the wound. That would save you a lot of money and heartache.

So get ready to see a lot more soft robots and, at some point, soft robots you can stab without getting in trouble. Sorry, I’m still thinking about Terminator .

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The Robots Will Be Soft and Cuddly and Heal Their Own Wounds … – WIRED

Jamaican students on historic robotics feat – Jamaica Gleaner

It was long ago in a silver screen near us when R2-D2, C-3PO, or more recently BB8, awed and mesmerised us with their ability to assist humans and other living species in galaxy light years away. These alphanumeric science fictional droids and technologies from the future are become as real as humanity’s quest to find life on Mars.

In Jamaica, a group of students are translating their interest in the sciences into creating functional pieces of automated machinery robotics is slowly spiking interest of students. A group of them made their mark at the world’s first International Robot Olympics for High School Students inAlexandria, Virginia.

“This was a historical feat,” said Lesleyann Samuel, president of Union of Jamaican Alumni Associations (USA) Inc (UJAA). “To our knowledge, this is the first time that Jamaica has been represented in an international robotics competition.”

Jamaica was represented by a team of students from five schools Jamaica College, Calabar High School, Immaculate Conception High School, Kingston College and St George’s College.

Beyond putting their techie caps on, the team members had to work seamlessly and in sync in a co-ed scenario and to work with students from other countries.

“The programme is intended to create platform to get youngsters from different parts of the world and different cultures to come together and solve global problems,” said Samuel.

UJAA was responsible for organisation, coordination, project management, and interfacing with First Global, the organisers of the Robotics Olympics.

“Did not hear about the competition till January, and between then and July we made it happen,” Samuel said, commending Karlene Largie, director at UJAA and robotics project team leader, for ensuring that everything went smoothly and seamlessly.

An engineer herself, she is excited about the prospects of girls making inroads into technology.

“We (girls and boys) do things differently,” Samuel said. “But the key is diversity, which is a strong thing, and we can complement each other in whatever we do.”

She started a robotics club with assistance from volunteers from Jamaica College robotics team at her alma mater Immaculate Conception High in 2010.

This, she said, was demonstrated at the Robot Olympics, where all teams were given the same piece parts and asked to build a robot that could perform a specific set of functions.

“FIRST has chosen to work with the National Academy of Engineering to define a theme each year,” Samuel said. “This year, the theme was ‘Providing Access to Clean Water.’ The tasks of the robot were intended to replicate tasks needed to assist with addressing this global objective.”

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a non-profit organisation started in 1989, to encourage youth in America to pursue STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) the Robot Olympics is one of their initiatives to popularise the sciences.

The robot built by Team Jamaica performed well in the games the team won four out of six matches, and was placed 48th out of 165 teams.

Armed with the success of their maiden voyage UJAA, Samuel informed, is hoping to bring a FIRST Technology Challenge for high schools in Jamaica in 2019.

“By having a competition in Jamaica, we allow all secondary schools to participate in a local competition without the expense of each of them travelling to the USA to compete,” she said.

Samuel is upbeat on the prospects, and what such participation can do to the psyche of the students helping them to get a fresh perspective on life, broaden their thinking and horizons.

“This global competition is conducted in a unique way,” she said. “In the initial rounds, teams of three (arbitrary) countries compete against another team of three countries.”

Aside from not knowing each other, they had language and cultural challenges, and in order to win, the students found ways to collaborate and cooperate for the greater good connecting technology with terra firma.

“This experience can be life-changing, as we expose our children not only to the technical aspects of the challenge,” she said, “but also to the realities of what it takes to solve our global challenges.

“We cannot teach this in a classroom.”

It is the age of technology and we are slow learning to cohabit on the third planet of this solar system of the Milky Way Galaxy with Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence.

Science fiction is not so fictional after all …

amitabh.sharma@hotmail.com

Originally posted here:

Jamaican students on historic robotics feat – Jamaica Gleaner

Business Showcase : Fastbrick Robotics – Irish Tech News

By@SimonCocking

Describe the company the elevator pitch

Fastbrick Robotics Limited (ASX:FBR) is an Australian robotic technology company developing and commercialising digital construction technology solutions.

Fastbrick Robotics revolutionary bricklaying machine, the Hadrian X, represents the first application of our underlying intellectual property portfolio.

The Hadrian X is a globally patented 3D robotic bricklaying system, and marks the transition of automated machinery from the secure and controlled nature of indoor factories and laboratories to the dynamically stabilised robots (DSR) that operate outdoors in uncontrolled environments.

Fastbrick Robotics is committed to improving the safety, speed, accuracy, cost and waste management in the global construction industry through utilising the worlds latest innovations in mobile robotic technology.

How are you different?

The robotics sector globally has tremendous growth and presents significant opportunity for those with relevant intellectual property, and the underpinning technology that enables the Hadrian X associated with dynamic stabilisation, has widespread potential applications beyond robotic bricklaying.

While the Hadrian X is not the first robotic bricklaying machine, it is the first machine that is fully-automated from start to finish meaning that the entire brickwork of a house could potentially be completed in as little as 15 hours without the need for human intervention.

Fastbrick Robotics is pleased to have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: https://t.co/8swHPHlJ1c pic.twitter.com/JVKjmVDkpj

Fastbrick Robotics (@_Fastbrick) August 16, 2017

Why will the company/product do well?

Fastbrick Robotics has a suite of protected intellectual property that extends well beyond the Hadrian X bricklaying machine and we have hardly scratched the surface in exploring other possible markets and applications for this technology. We are therefore very excited by the unquantifiable potential for the company and its technology and about the additional applications and opportunities beyond the Hadrian X. Having said that, the delivery of the Hadrian X is certainly the companys priority at the moment.

The Hadrian X represents a quantum leap in digital construction technology and this breakthrough threatens to shake up one of the oldest and largest industries in the world, the construction industry. We know that the digital age of construction is here right now and that the use of robots outside factory walls for purposes including construction is also a reality right now. We intend to lead the charge in this emerging space of digital construction and also explore other markets and applications for our enabling technologies. While many people around the world once objected to automation and the use of robots in factories, so it is that this technology presents as disruption to markets such as construction. The prevalent use of robotics in factories today speaks for itself and we can not only see the same evolution happening with robots outside but we are leading the charge. Our dynamic stabilisation technology now makes this a reality.

People need houses and the world has a shortage of them along with bricklayers. With the valuable end prize of reducing cost, time, and waste while improving safety and accuracy in the building process, the world is watching this technology very closely as it threatens to shake up the way houses and other structures are built.

The industry and the market we are addressing with the Hadrian X is extremely large and the commercial prize is very big, and we are a long way ahead of any other company in terms of the technology we have developed. The potential applications for our enabling technology are potentially endless and we are currently exploring these as part of our broader company strategy.

With the market now closed, Fastbrick Robotics $FBR finishes a stellar day as one of the biggest movers on the @ASX. pic.twitter.com/KUDeqxAQjJ

Fastbrick Robotics (@_Fastbrick) August 16, 2017

Where are you based?

Perth, Western Australia.

When was the company launched?

Fastbrick Robotics was publicly listed on the ASX in November of 2015 via an oversubscribed reverse takeover, and subsequently raised AUD $5.75 million.

What have been your biggest wins to date?

At the end of 2016, we were named Western Australian Innovator of the Year. This success continued in 2017 when we won the Most Disruptive Technology category at the WAITTA INCITE Awards, and most recently when we announced an agreement with industry giant Caterpillar (see our website atwww.fbr.com.au), and when Caterpillar became a shareholder of Fastbrick Robotics Ltd as part of the same deal.

What type of people (market segment) are you trying to attract to your product?

Weve had a significant amount of interest from both individuals, companies and governments of countries around the world. As a result, we are still working through the details of a fully integrated market strategy that may now be influenced by our recent agreement with Caterpillar Inc.

Tell us about your team?

Our team is primarily made up of both mechanical and software engineers that have been working extremely hard to develop the underlying technology behind the Hadrian X. While we have a reasonably young team, our engineers represent the peak of innovation and have established themselves as leaders in their respective fields. The technical teams are led by founder/Executive Director/Chief Technical Officer Mark Pivac.

We also have a very strong commercial managerial team led by our Managing Director, Mike Pivac, who are leading the company towards the commercialisation of our technology and ensuring a secure and profitable future.

What are your long-term plans for your product/company?

The overall long-term plan is to cement our position as a global leader in the field of robotics, particularly in relation to digital construction solutions. However, our primary focus now is commercialising the Hadrian X and bringing this unique technology to the world.

How do people get in touch with you?

The best way to contact us is via the contact form on our website atwww.fbr.com.au. Alternatively, you can keep in contact with us through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Facebook:www.facebook.com/fastbrickrobotics

Twitter:www.twitter.com/_Fastbrick

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [emailprotected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

AustraliaBusiness ShowcaseFastbrick RoboticsRobotics

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Business Showcase : Fastbrick Robotics – Irish Tech News

New Horizon 2020 robotics projects, 2016: ILIAD – Robohub

In 2016, the European Union co-funded 17 new robotics projects from the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for research and innovation. 16 of these resulted from the robotics work programme, and 1 project resulted from the Societal Challenges part of Horizon 2020. The robotics work programme implements the robotics strategy developed by SPARC, the Public-Private Partnership for Robotics in Europe (see the Strategic Research Agenda).

EuRobotics regularly publishes video interviews with projects, so that you can find out more about their activities. This week features ILIAD: ntra-Logistics with Integrated Automatic Deployment: Safe and Scalable Fleets in Shared Spaces

ILIAD is driven by the industry needs for highly flexible robot fleets operating in spaces shared with humans. The main objectives are care-free, fast, and scalable deployment; long-term operation while learning from observed activities; on-line, self-optimising fleet management; human-aware fleets that can learn human behaviour models; compliant unpacking and palletising of goods; and a systematic study of human safety in shared environments, setting the stage for future safety certification.

ILIADs focus is on the rapidly expanding intralogistics domain, where there is a strong market pull for flexible automated solutions, especially ones that can blend with current operations. The innovations developed in ILIAD target key hindrances identified in the logistics domain, and are essential for independent and reliable operation of collaborative AGV fleets. The expected impact extends to most multiple-actor systems where robots and humans operate together.

REBRO UNIVERSITET UNIVERSITY OF LINCOLN UNIVERSIT DI PISA LEIBNIZ UNIVERSITT HANNOVER ROBERT BOSCH GMBH KOLLMORGEN AUTOMATION AB ACT OPERATIONS RESEARCH ORKLA FOODS LOGISTIC ENGINEERING SERVICES LTD

Achim J. Lilienthal

ILIAD

Watch all EU-projects videos

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New Horizon 2020 robotics projects, 2016: ILIAD – Robohub

Build It Workspace robotics summer camp taught computer-aided design – Orange County Breeze

An instructor shows a student how to use Fusion 360 computer-aided design software during Build It Workspace’s competitive robotics summer camp. Photo courtesy of Build It Workspace.

During Build It Workspaces competitive robotics summer camp, approximately 20 students and young adults received training in prominent computer aided design (CAD) software, Fusion 360, as a joint venture with KETIV, a local engineering consulting firm.The camp is lead by local First Robotics Competition (FRC)Team #6220, the same team which has previously won the FRC Orange County Regionals a first for the Los Alamitos community.

Build It Workspace owner Mark Lengsfeld said, These children are our future engineers.They grab onto robotics and never look back.In the Build It camps and classes, the children are exposed to and taught mastery over a variety of technology and engineering concepts.

Jack van der Linden, engineer of Team #6220, said, The kids are learning the inner workings of parts and pieces and of how things work.

Also in attendance was nearby FRC Team #4999 hailing from the Long Beach area. Brian Mongkolpoonsuk and Alex Alvarez representatives of KETIV provided invaluable CAD training to be utilized for the next competitive season. Team #4999will apply these new skills to aid in the design and constructions of a racing robot for use in the Fall competition.

A student at Build It Workspaces competitive robotics summer camp manipulates a design in Fusion 360. Photo courtesy of Build It Workspace.

Fusion 360 is a product of Autodesk Inc. a provider of leading CAD software.

Build It Workspace is a engineering-based educator and frequently partners with Southern California schools.Programs range from in-school to after-school, as well as Teach the Teacher.

KETIV is a business consulting firm that helps people build better products by providing tools, training, and support to facilitate informed decisions in the earliest stages of development.

Continued here:

Build It Workspace robotics summer camp taught computer-aided design – Orange County Breeze

Hartford robotics team teaches at the Dodge County Fair grandstands – WiscNews

The robotics team from Hartford Union High School took time to give fairgoers a shot at controlling one of their award-winning robots through some obstacles near the Dodge County Fair grandstand.

We think its really cute because the kids get to drive the robot, said team member Maddy Jacobi, 15.

The team is called Oriole Assault (Team 1091), which is part of the FIRST Robotics. The organization is meant to bring mentors and young students together to build science, engineering and technology skills. The 15-year-old team is composed of 21 high school students and more than seven mentors. It took the team six weeks to construct its robot.

Near the fair grandstands Thursday morning, the team maneuvered its robot through a set of obstacles. The robot could transport a large yellow gear from one station to another and is able to hoist itself off the ground, making it look like the machine is doing a pull-ups. All of the obstacles gain the team points in competition.

This year, the team took third place overall in the Seven Rivers Regional in La Crosse, and it took third place in the Wisconsin Regional in Milwaukee. According to the teams website, it has competed in nine FIRST Robotics Challenges.

Its our teams goal to one year make it to nationals, Jacobi said.

Oriole Assault is the first group of its kind to host a robotics demonstration at the Dodge County Fair. Jacobi said the team wanted to do a demonstration at the fairgrounds because, compared to other teams, they are small and they want to get their work in front of people.

In addition, she said the team is mostly boys and its important for her to show girls that they can work on a team like Oriole Assault.

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Hartford robotics team teaches at the Dodge County Fair grandstands – WiscNews

HEXA, The Facehugger Mech, Could Be The Perfect Gateway Project Into Robotics – Gizmodo Australia

Flying drones may be all the rage, but spare a thought for all those ground-based robots trying to make it in the world. Vincross’ HEXA is one such gadget a six-legged, fully-programmable sci-fi droid that promises to be a gateway project into the field of robotics.

HEXA is currently being funded via Kickstarter, with the campaign already exceeding its relatively low-ball target of $US100,000. At the time of writing, there’s still 26 days to go, so it should hopefully bring in a lot more than that.

As for the robot itself, it weights 1.75kg and can carry 1.5kg. Physical dimensions differ wildly between the official website and Kickstarter campaign, which I’m guessing is down to the spider-like legs. Taking this into account, it can be anywhere from 40-50cm wide and 12-15cm tall.

Housed inside is a 1GHz dual-core ARM Cortex A9 processor, which makes it about as powerful as a late-2011 iPhone 4s. This is coupled with 8GB of storage, a 720p camera, infrared transmitter and an accelerometer. Connectivity comes in the form of 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and yes, it can act as a wireless access point.

In terms of battery life, well, this is where it gets confusing. Like the dimensions, there are discrepancies between the specifications listed on the website and those on the Kickstarter page. The site promises four hours per charge, while the Kickstarter ranges from 45 minutes to three hours. Recharge times on the Kickstarter are also more conservative from two hours to four for wireless charging.

The HEXA can be all yours for $US499 at the lowest pledge tier, which doesn’t appear to include shipping. The good news is both Australia and New Zealand are valid shipping destinations.

[Vincross, via The Awesomer]

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Last week, Netflix’s Death Note adaptation premiered in New York City and the screening gave its creators a chance to respond to the widespread criticism of the film’s whitewashing of Japanese characters and context. Their responses aren’t exactly encouraging, but at least they’re talking?

Photo. AP There are plenty of people who enjoy the warm sadness cowboy drink known as whiskey. While some might have a John Wayne instinct to drink it neat, the real aficionados know that adding a few drops of water to the drink can improve and expand its flavour profile. Now, in the great whiskey war of whether or not one should add water, some chemists have chosen a side. they say yes, you should add water to your whiskey.

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HEXA, The Facehugger Mech, Could Be The Perfect Gateway Project Into Robotics – Gizmodo Australia

Leetonia to offer robotics club for county districts – SalemNews.net

LEETONIA The Leetonia school district will offer a robotics club for county districts through its manufacturing academy beginning this school year.

At a meeting this week regarding the manufacturing academy piloted at the Leetonia K-12 campus during the 2016-2017 school year, Leetonia Schools Superintendent Rob Mehno announced the academy will offer a robotics club for Columbiana County school districts. With the approximately $9,000 remaining from an Local Government Innovative Fund (LGIF) grant to pilot the manufacturing academy last year, the program will be providing a Vex Robot and professional development to each county district. A final competition would be held in the spring.

He said he hopes the robotics club will pique the interest of students for the academy, which offers a credentialed path to graduation for students at each county school.

The Vex Robot provides hands-on curriculum to develop problem solving skills and learn programming foundations, according to Mehno.

With the Vex Robot, students will learn to assemble the robot, plus the programming curriculum to prepare the robot for autonomous tasks. The robot will also have to be modified for competition, which will incorporate fundamentals such as math by requiring students to program distances.

Its an introduction into what programmers actually do in the real world, Mehno said. The goal is for students to understand how to code and move onto other activities such as creating apps. They are developing the background to move forward.

VEX kits inspire students to become the problem solvers of the future. The VEX EDR system creates the excitement of building robots to immerse students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) concepts, said Rob Smith, consultant for IST Ohio, which provided the robot kits. VEX EDR can be integrated into the classroom or used as a stand-alone teaching tool in after-school robotics clubs. Versatile construction elements allow for multiple solutions to accomplish the same goal. The vex components are built around each other to ensure seamless integration without frustration.

The competition provides the platform that enables students to strive to be what they want to be. They compete at regional, then state, and if they are up to the challenge, even qualify and compete at VEX worlds. The VEX Competition provides multiple learning skills both hard and soft-skills. Teamwork is key. We are generating the workforce for the future.

Beyond the Vex Robot, Mehno said he sees the program advancing to the Ramtec industrial credentialed robot for the club. The Ramtec (Robotics & Advanced Manufacturing Technology Education Collaborative) robot is a proven collaboration for meeting Ohios training needs in advanced manufacturingaerospace and aviation, polymers and chemicals, biohealth, agribusiness and Food Processing and Automotive, according to information provided by Smith.

John Dilling of the Columbiana County Educational Service Center, the manufacturing academys fiscal agent, said the robotics club will be looking at professional development in December with the competition in the spring.

khowell@salemnews.net

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Leetonia to offer robotics club for county districts – SalemNews.net

Wilton Library’s robotics team seeking new member – Thehour.com

WILTON Singularity Technology, Wilton Librarys robotics team, is looking for a rising eighth- or- ninth-grade student to join TAP, the Test and Prototype group for the main team.

The mission of TAP is to support the main robotics team, while learning and growing STEM skills. The ideal candidate is not only interested in designing, building, programming and testing a robot, but is also a team player who is willing to perform other tasks, such as organizing materials, fundraising and recording progress in a scientific notebook whatever it takes to make the team successful.

This position requires a twice-week commitment (Thursday and Friday afternoons), attendance at competitions and extra effort as needed. TAP begins this fall in September and finishes in March or April, depending on how well the team does at competitions.

If interested, the student should send an email to slauricella@wiltonlibrary.org with the subject line TAP Robotics. Team captains and mentors will be talking to candidates over the summer.

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Wilton Library’s robotics team seeking new member – Thehour.com

The Robots Will Be Soft and Cuddly and Heal Their Own Wounds – WIRED

Seppe Terryn/Science Robotics

Poke a hole in a human and something remarkable happens. First of all, you go to jail. But meanwhile, the wound heals itself, filling in the missing tissue and protecting itself from infection. Poke a hole in a robot , however, and prepare for a long night of repairs. The machines may be stronger than us, but theyre missing out on a vital superpower.

Until now. Researchers at Belgiums Vrije Universiteit Brussel report this week in Science Robotics that theyve developed a squishy, self-healing robot. Cut it open, apply heat, let it cool down again, and the wound heals itself. While self-healing materials are nothing new, their application in so-called soft robotics a relatively new kind of pliable machine that uses pneumatics or hydraulics to movecould be big. Think Terminator-style robots that automatically heal bullet wounds. OK, maybe dont think of that.

Seppe Terryn, Science Robotics

To build their squishbot, the researchers crafted an elastomer, a elastic variety of polymer. Its network of microscopic chains are held together by something called a Diels-Alder reaction , which is temperature-sensitive. So these bonds break when you heat them and reform as they cool. On the microscopic level, there is enough mobility to seal the gap, says electromechanical engineer Seppe Terryn , lead author on the paper. And then if we decrease the temperature again the entire network will be formed again. Think of melting down a cube of Jell-O, then putting it back in the fridgethe difference being that this polymer goes back to its original shape and strength after injury. Also, its more expensive and less tasty.

Now, of course itd be ideal if the soft robot could heal itself without the application of heat, but in a way theres an advantage here. This means also that we can do the healing in a controlled way, says Terryn. So in the long term, the robots can decide when is the best time to start the healing and start heating up.

That, though, would require that the robot knows its injured. So what the team is working on next is a material loaded with sensors that could tell exactly where a wound opens up, then deploy targeted heat to the area to heal it. The robot could even start preemptively healing if it detects microcuts from normal wear and tear.

Seppe Terryn, Science Robotics

This system, then, very much mimics the way an animal seals up a wound. That’s opposed to other self-healing materials already out there which, for instance, use embedded microcapsules to release healing agents. (These are better for rigid structures like glass, not floppy robots. That and they don’t need temperature changes to work.) What Terryn and his team are doing instead is adapting an existing technology. “They’re taking these Diels-Alder polymers that have been shown before to have reversible covalent bonds and making use of them in these very biomimetic applications,” says North Dakota State University’s Michael Kessler, who also works in self-healing materials.

In addition to this system needing heat to work, another downside is that the healing isnt wildly efficient. The main concern with the material proposed in this paper is the time and the heating required for healing, says roboticist Pietro Valdastri of the University of Leeds. Depending on the application, 40 minutes at 80 degrees centigrade plus cooling time can be too long to wait.

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But thats now. Self-healing will only get better from here, and surely will be essential for soft robots, which today are typically made of fabrics like polyester. After all, the whole point of a robot soft is it can interact with humans without killing them and pick up squishy objects like tomatoes.

That and they pack well: A four-foot-long soft robot arm can deflate and ship in far less space than a traditional robot arm. And thats important because soft robots are going places. Having a robot that doesn’t need to be pulled out for repair, says roboticist Jon Pompa of soft robot outfit Pneubotics , if you could identify some failure modes and have the materials of the robot do some kind of self-repairing stuff, that would be a really excellent argument why to use them in extreme environments.

For instance, if you pack a soft robot in a rocket and fire it to Mars to do some construction ahead of human habitation, youre screwed if it springs a leak and deflates mid-mission. But what Terryns team has shown is that you could theoretically have an injured soft robot deflate itself and heat up to repair the wound. That would save you a lot of money and heartache.

So get ready to see a lot more soft robots and, at some point, soft robots you can stab without getting in trouble. Sorry, I’m still thinking about Terminator .

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The Robots Will Be Soft and Cuddly and Heal Their Own Wounds – WIRED

Robots Have Quietly Become Ohio’s Booming Workforce – Cleveland Scene Weekly

Over the last decade or so, automated labor has grown as a robust presence throughout the state and its impact is starting to be more directly seen and felt, both commercially and politically

This week, the Brookings Institute released a new study looking at the regional locations of industrial robots. Or, in the institutes phrasing, ‘automatically controlled, reprogrammable machines capable of replacing labor in a range of tasks.

A closer look at the Brookings study shows where, exactly, in Ohio these robots are most likely to be found. Both Toledo, with nine robots for every 1,000 people, and the Youngstown-Warren-Boardman metro area, with 4.5 robots per 1,000 people, rank in the top 10 of the 100 largest metro areas from the study.

The Youngstown-Warren area is a bit more interesting, though. While that metro are has famously struggled with the shrinking steel manufacturing economy, its beginning to see success in more high-tech jobs, like the Youngstown Business Incubator which has a focus on additive manufacturing (aka 3D printing).

And its that sort of development that could help serve a region that, as The Daily Beast notes, is already home to thousands of companies producing metals, plastics, and polymers as well as the regions biomedical, automotive, and defense industries.

But this isnt the only area of robotics thats made a big impression in Ohio. Gov. Kasich made a big push to set aside a few stretches of highway throughout the state as Smart Mobility Corridors, including a stretch near Columbus.

There are also efforts to bring such tests to corridors throughout Northern Ohio, too.

The central Ohio hub, a 35-mile stretch of State Route 33 around Marysville, is being wired with fiber optic cables for data collection. Ohio State and Honda are both nearby, as are the Transportation Research Center and NHTSA Vehicle Research Test Center. And Wind River, a subsidiary of Intel, has already announced a program with OSU, the TRC, and the city of Dublin to test self-driving vehicles on this stretch of road.

As for the larger impact of robot labor, the Brookings study points toward, but stops short of, larger conclusions behind the placement of these industry robots, including economic anxiety around robots taking human jobs and the political impact.

And that political impact is certainly worth paying attention to. That Daily Beast story highlights the disconnect between the growing high-tech industry in Youngstown and the manufacturing plans that President Trump has touted for the area, promising that cracking down on the unbalanced steel trade of other nations will magically revive an industry that many consider long gone from the area.

To see the other side of the impact of robotics, though, look no further than the Carrier plant near Indianapolis. Despite President Trumps boast of saving jobs at the factory last fall, it was later determined that many of those supposedly saved jobs will be lost to automation at the plant. More robots.

Brookings plans to release another study later this year that more closely examines the disruption to metro areas brought by the changing robotics world. We can only hope that Brookings doesn’t hire robot researchers to taint the data.

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Robots Have Quietly Become Ohio’s Booming Workforce – Cleveland Scene Weekly

Robotic Industries Association – Robotics Online (press release)

Robotic Industries Association Posted 08/17/2017

Organization’s Research Provides Guide for Robotics and Automation Sales, Likelihood of Additional Growth in 2017

ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN The Association for Advancing Automation (A3), the leading global advocate for the benefits of automating, announced today the results of its research on robotics and automation trends, sales, and growth. A3 provides quarterly statistical reports to its members for benchmarking and business intelligence purposes. As expected, many records were set in the areas of robotics, machine vision, motion control and motor technology for the first half of 2017.

A snapshot of some of A3’s research findings includes:

Robotics The North American robotics market had its best opening half ever to begin 2017, setting new records in all four statistical categories (order units, order revenue, shipment units, and shipment revenue). In total, 19,331 robots valued at approximately $1.031 billion were sold in North America during the first half of 2017, which is the highest level ever recorded to begin a year. These figures represent growth of 33% in units and 26% in dollars over 2016. Automotive related orders grew substantially in that time, increasing 39% in units and 37% in dollars, while non-automotive orders also grew 21% in units and 10% in dollars over the first half of 2016.

Motion Control & Motors For the first half of 2017, orders for motion control and motor products amounted to $1.622 billion, up 14% over the first six months of 2016. Shipments totaled $1.757 billion, up 10% over the first half of 2016, and the fastest growing categories in that timeframe, in terms of shipments, were Motion Controllers (21% to $97 million), Sensors & Feedback Devices (20% to $76 million), Actuators & Mechanical Systems (17% to $318 million), and AC Drives (17% to $199 million).

Vision & Imaging In 2017, the machine vision market in North America also posted its best first half performance compared to any other year. A total of $1.241 billion was sold in the first six months of the year, with an increase of 11% over the same period in 2016. Machine vision component markets were up 11% in total to $177 million and systems increased 10% to $1.058 billion. Some notable growth rates were: Lighting (20% to $35 million), Smart Cameras (16% to $183 million), and Optics (16% to $20 million).

Experts expect software to trend up, cameras, lighting, and imaging boards to be flat, and optics to trend down over the next six months. Additionally, expectations are for Application Specific Machine Vision (ASMV) systems to increase and smart cameras to remain flat in the next two quarters.

A3 Expertise A longtime advocate for and supporter of the robotics, machine vision, motion control and motor markets, A3 is comprised of three sister associations: the Robotic Industries Association (RIA); the Advancing Vision + Imaging Association (AIA); and the Motion Control & Motor Association (MCMA). A3 is currently at a record combined membership of 1,064 as of July 31, 2017.

“Year over year, our membership has been on a steady growth trajectory, the result of more companies understanding, and embracing, the direct impact automation can have on their bottom line,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of A3. “We look forward to the continued advancement of our industry and helping companies of all sizes access the connections, information, and training they need to succeed with automation.”

A3 On the Road A3 will host several events in the fall of 2017 that support the organizations and industries noted in its research findings. They include:

For more details or to sign up, visit the A3 website.

About Association for Advancing Automation (A3) The Association for Advancing Automation is the global advocate for the benefits of automating. A3 promotes automation technologies and ideas that transform the way business is done. A3 is the umbrella group for Robotic Industries Association (RIA), AIA – Advancing Vision + Imaging, and Motion Control & Motor Association (MCMA). RIA, AIA, and MCMA combined represent over 1,060 automation manufacturers, component suppliers, system integrators, end users, research groups and consulting firms from throughout the world that drive automation forward.

For more information, visit: A3. RIA. AIA. MCMA.

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Robotic Industries Association – Robotics Online (press release)

Are Amazon’s robots job robbers or dance partners? – The Providence Journal

From the sharp stones wielded by our early ancestors to the internet, every step in the evolving relationship between humans and their tools has awakened new possibilities, and new fears. The bottom line on ‘bots: There will be human displacement, but fresh opportunities, too.

NORTH READING, Mass. Every day is graduation day at Amazon Robotics.

Here’s where the more than 100,000 orange robots that glide along the floors of various Amazon warehouses are made and taught their first steps.

Here they practice their first pirouettes. And heavy lifting too, as they twirl while hauling shelves filled with cinder blocks.

And finally once they’ve been given the green light by their makers about 38 robots assemble in a tight four-row formation and in orderly fashion wheel themselves up onto pallets that will be shipped to one of the 25 Amazon warehouses that employ automatons.

Amazon staffers call it the “graduation ceremony,” and it takes place several times a day. So far this year the company has graduated more than 55,000 robots.

These robots, and the thousands of Amazonians who build, program and use them, are laying out the next episode in a very old story the evolving relationship between humans and their tools.

From the sharp stones wielded by our early ancestors to the internet, every step along the way has awakened new possibilities, and new fears too.

Now, it’s the turn of robotics, a discipline that after decades of experimentation and recent big leaps in artificial intelligence has finally reached a maturity that allows mass deployment.

“We’re at an inflection point the ability of robots to be useful at a low-cost point,” said Beth Marcus, a robotics expert and startup founder who recently joined Amazon Robotics as a senior principal technologist.

This latest wave of automation has spurred anxiety among scholars and policymakers. They warn it might contribute to a growing economic divide, in which workers with more education or the right skills reap the benefits of automation, while those with inadequate training are replaced by robots and increasingly left out of lucrative jobs.

It’s not a novel concern: Spinning jennies, which revolutionized the weaving industry, sparked similar resistance in 19th-century England. And in the 1960s, the U.S. government created a task force to study the impact of technology on livelihoods.

“If we understand it, if we plan for it, if we apply it well, automation will not be a job destroyer or a family displacer,” President Lyndon Johnson said at the time.

History has shown that, over time, job losses in rapidly advancing sectors are offset by gains in other activities spurred by a growing economy.

That perspective doesn’t quell contemporary concerns. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has proposed taxing robots to pay for other jobs, such as teachers. Some scholars also seem to be losing faith in the old playbook.

“There’s never been a worse time to be a worker with only ‘ordinary’ skills and abilities to offer, because computers, robots and other digital technologies are acquiring these skills and abilities at an extraordinary rate,” Massachusetts Institute of Technology professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee wrote in their 2014 book, “The Second Machine Age.”

In a recent report, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said that technology is contributing to the disappearance of middle-skill jobs, both in manufacturing and in clerical work, even though it helps create both highly skilled and low skilled positions.

Amazon is the poster child for automation, and not only because of the orange warehouse robots. Its machine-learning software lets the company predict customer behavior. New retail concepts, such as the Amazon Go convenience store in downtown Seattle, heavily rely on sensor technology in an effort to do away with the need for cashiers.

Amazon is also working hard to have drones deliver items to people’s homes, a move that may replace a lot of delivery drivers.

But automation certainly hasn’t slowed down Amazon’s colossal appetite for people. The company’s payroll expansion has long exceeded revenue growth: In the quarter that ended last June, its workforce grew by 42 percent to 382,400 jobs, versus sales growth of 25 percent.

It’s hard to say, in the case of Amazon, how many potential human jobs have gone to the robots, or inversely, how many new positions have been created to handle this new feature of working life.

But Amazon says that warehouses equipped with robotics typically see “greater job creation with more full-time employees,” due to the increased volume of orders these centers can handle. Amazon also says automation has meant the creation of desirable, high-skilled jobs designing robots and teaching them how to do things, as well as middle-skilled jobs such as repairing the robots, or simply focusing on more sophisticated warehouse tasks while letting machines do the boring stuff.

Marcus says that there are plenty of tasks humans will monopolize for a long time.

“There are many things humans do really well that we don’t even understand yet,” she said.

Amazon Robotics’ facility, in suburban Boston, was first established by Kiva Systems, a company founded on the concept of flipping warehouse logistics around. Instead of having workers walk to products, it sought to bring items to the workers. The solution: flat, wheeled robots called “drive units” that navigate a warehouse by reading stickers on the floor, all while carrying merchandise on their backs.

Amazon bought Kiva in 2012 for $775 million in cash and started introducing the robots into its warehouses in 2014.

Since then, the robotics facility stopped selling to other customers, while its orange robots, now in their fourth generation, have come to play an important part in Amazon’s operations. In fact, robotics seem to be more important to Amazon’s bottom line than to other tech giants also making big bets in the field, such as Google, experts say.

A few steps into the Amazon Robotics building, a small sign warns visitors in jest to please not feed the robots.

Some 500 employees work in the facility, mostly engineers and scientists, as well as technicians who assemble the robots. The hardware side is led by Parris Wellman. As a kid he wanted to build cars and went on to earn a mechanical-engineering degree at the University of Pennsylvania. There, studying under prominent roboticist Vijay Kumar, Wellman discovered robots. After a Ph.D. from Harvard and a few years in biotech and in medical devices, he joined Amazon Robotics, returning to what he calls his “first love.”

What he likes about the opportunity is that he can build something and deploy it en masse pretty quickly.

Another interesting aspect of the work, he said, is that the roboticists get plenty of feedback from the warehouse associates who will be dealing directly with the robots. For example, associates helped designers pick out the color of the new lightweight shelves that the robots carry: yellow, because that makes it easier to see the items they carry.

And it was a maintenance worker at a warehouse who designed, and patented with Amazon’s help, a metal rod that staffers use to push inactive robots around the factory floor (it’s easier than picking up the 750-pound devices).

“Innovation is not restricted to a particular set of people,” Wellman said.

One of these centers is in DuPont, Washington, a warehouse dedicated to mid-size and large items, where 500 humans work alongside hundreds of robots. There the automatons have the run of the core of the warehouse, a maze brimming with metal shelves stocked with merchandise.

They operate in a different space from the humans, who are mostly on the outskirts of the facility. But they work together in an elaborate, seemingly seamless dance.

This interaction with the robotic workforce has created new types of roles.

Barry Tormoehlen, a former electrician and conveyance mechanic, is one of a dozen people at DuPont who do preventive maintenance on the drive units, vacuum their interiors, “wipe them down” every once in a while and fix them when needed.

Over time, Tormoehlen has learned to recognize the individual units, which each have a number and a maintenance history of their own. The collaboration between these robots and humans has created a local folklore.

Workers have painted some of the robots to give them personality: A robot with fiery flames on its sides is known as the “devil drive.” Another, decorated by warehouse workers in blue and yellow instead of the usual orange, is dubbed “The Minion,” after animated characters who have the same color pattern.

During a recent visit to the DuPont center, 29-year old Ashley Parks, a former medical assistant from Yelm, Washington, stowed newly arrived items of various shapes and sizes onto a shelf atop “The Minion.”

“They kind of dance around you,” she said of the automatons, adding that they make her more efficient in her job.

As for fears of one day losing her job to a machine, she seemed nonchalant. “I don’t think they’re going to take away our jobs,” she said. “They stay on their side, I stay on my side.”

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Are Amazon’s robots job robbers or dance partners? – The Providence Journal

KES Robotics Club comes first in national competition after disaster averted, heading to worlds – The Hants Journal


The Hants Journal
KES Robotics Club comes first in national competition after disaster averted, heading to worlds
The Hants Journal
After weeks and months of intense coding and late nights of robot building, a scrappy team from King's-Edgehill School in Nova Scotia ended up placing first against 12 other teams from Quebec and Ontario during the Canadian qualifier for the World

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KES Robotics Club comes first in national competition after disaster averted, heading to worlds – The Hants Journal

Kids equipped for futureafter success with robotics – The West Australian

Pilbara students proved their mastery with robots at the RoboCup Junior WA competition in Perth last week.

Six teams from Wickham, Tambrey and Baynton West primary schools excelled at their first time at the annual educational robotics tournament, competing in dance and rescue challenges with a range of advanced robots.

A four-person team from Tambrey Primary, consisting of Year 6 students Ben Gillon, Daniel Dang, George Ralph and Trey Jankowski, won gold in the competition primary dance competition, beating 54 other teams.

Their creative dance, The 4 Wall-Es, involved several robots acting out Pixar film Wall-E.

Two Pilbara teams also collected medals in the primary rescue category.

Kade Higgins and William Kinninmont, of Wickham Primary School, won silver while Bailey Smith, of Baynton West Primary, took home bronze.

It comes after the first Pilbara RoboCup Junior event, which was also the first in regional WA, was held at Wickham Primary School in June.

Scitech Statewide director Nick Wood said the Pilbara students had excelled at their first showing at the Perth event. The Pilbara teams demonstrated a high skill level and strong problem-solving abilities I think that is testament to the efforts of students, teachers and the school communities to make robotics and coding part of the core school activities, he said.

All the Pilbara schools Scitech work with have done a fantastic job integrating technology into the classroom, and the students are going from strength to strength in coding and computing as well as literacy, numeracy and problem solving.

Tambrey Primary principal Troy Withers said its teams gold medal in the primary dance vision was a fantastic result and the school community was very proud.

Theyve gotten a fair bit out of it and had to get out of their comfort zone, he said. That division was about combining their own physical movement with what the robots were doing, but they pulled it off really well.

Mr Withers said the teams success had inspired other students to take more interest in robotics.

Wickham Primary deputy principal and STEM co-ordinator Melissa Reimers said the results showed how much robotics and STEM talent there was among children in the Pilbara.

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Kids equipped for futureafter success with robotics – The West Australian


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