...10...1819202122...3040...


Robotics: Human meets machine – The Sydney Morning Herald

Mechanical and robotic exoskeletons hold considerable promise, both as aids to the disabled and machines to increase the lifting power of worked in heavy industry, but so far the reality has lagged considerably behind the dream.

Mechanical and robotic exoskeletons hold considerable promise, both as aids to the disabled and machines to increase the lifting power of worked in heavy industry, but so far the reality has lagged considerably behind the dream.

One of the principle obstacles faced by designers in the need for frequent recalibration of exoskeleton settings. Each system, of course, has to be tweaked to suit its individual user, but it must also be adjusted to accommodate changes in movement styles or speed as the user becomes tired or switches from one function to another. Although technically possible, such alterations, done in downtime by a technician, are costly and tedious.

Scientists at the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon Universityin the US, however, have developed an exoskeleton system that incorporates feedback mechanisms powered by the person using it, allowing it to self-adjust to changing mechanical demands in real time.

The researchers call the system “human-in-the-loop optimisation” and have published their findings in the journal Science.

Led by DrJuanjuan Zhang, the scientists tested their new system by developinga ankle exoskeleton, suitable for use as either a prosthetic or to increase efficiency in jobs where lifting or climbing is a requirement.

When adjusted for optimum efficiency the ankle apparatus reduced the wearer’s metabolic energy consumption by around 25 per cent. The device was tried on a range of volunteers, all of whom were asked to move in 32 different patterns over the course of an hour.

“When we walk, we naturally optimise coordination patterns for energy efficiency,” said team member Steven Collins. “Human-in-the-loop optimisation acts in a similar way to optimise the assistance provided by wearable devices. We are really excited about this approach, because we think it will dramatically improve energy economy, speed, and balance for millions of people, especially those with disabilities.”

See the original post here:

Robotics: Human meets machine – The Sydney Morning Herald

Meet Israel’s next top robots – TNW

This post was originally published by NoCamels. Check out theirexcellent coverageand follow them down here: Imagine this: youre sitting in your house. Next to you, your companion robot turns its head and begins to converse, suggesting a TED talk you might like. A helper robot brings you a cup of tea. Your smart home control robot warns you that the iron is still on, and security bots climb the walls.

While it may sound like sci-fi, Israeli companies have already created robots that can do all of these tasks.

The robotics industry is exploding worldwide. Market research and intelligence firm, Tractica, predicts that the industry will grow from $34.1 billion in 2016 to $226.2 billion by 2021, with the growth driven primarily by non-industrial robots.

Its not hard to see why. Decreased costs of hardware and the free provision of software such as Amazon Alexa are making robotic development easier than ever.

Artificial intelligence, which is the ability of machines to learn from their environment and complete human-like tasks, is also transforming the robotics industry. Since IBMs supercomputer, Watson, defeated humans in the quiz show Jeopardy in 2011, resources and brain power have been poured into progressing AI to create more sophisticated robots.

With strengths in mathematics and hi-tech, companies and researchers in Israel are contributing more than their fair share of this brain power.

Mobileye, an Israeli company that uses AI to allow autonomous vehicles to navigate safely, was recently acquired by Intel for $15 billion. Mazor Robotics, an Israeli medical robot company, has revolutionized spinal surgery with their robotic system. Gal Kaminka, a professor at Bar-Ilan University and national robotics expert, is advancing robotic minds with funding from international organizations such as the U.S. Airforce.

In 2016, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed that, Just as we have become a leader in cybersecurity, we must also propel forward the robotics and automation industry in order to take a place at the forefront of the sector.

Here are some of the coolest robots developed by companies and researchers in Israel:

In the field of companion robots, Intuition RoboticsElliQstands out for its human-like persona.

The artificially intelligent robot improves the lives of the elderly by suggesting activities to keep them active, connecting them with family and friends, and reminding them about appointments and medication.

ElliQ can sense its environment, recognize faces, and communicate with people by talking and processing speech. Its advanced body language, gestures, and emotional range give it a personality that seems to transcend machinery.

Founded in 2015 by Roy Amir, Itai Mendelsohn, and Dor Skuler, the company has raised a total of $7 million from seed and Series A funding. While ElliQ hasnt yet been released on the market, avid consumers can sign up to be part of the testing phase.

Israeli robotics company Roboteam is planning to launch 10,000 consumer robots this year. Previously focused on military robots, Roboteam wants to create a new robot that helps people around the house.

Seven years ago I went to visit my dear grandma, says Yosi Wolf, cofounder of the company. When I saw her trying to carry a cup of tea and cookies and she was shaking.. I knew we could provide services to help elderly people.

According to Wolf, the robot will be 3 feet high with an interactive 10-inch display. It will be able to navigate around objects using 40 sensors, and it even has a tray to carry items.

Roboteam wants its robot to be the iPhone of consumer robotics, with a similar price point and sophisticated capabilities.

Founded in 2009 by Yosi Wolf and Elad Levy, the company has raised a total of $62 million in two funding rounds, with personal investment from the ex-CTO of Alibaba and co-founder of the Fenghe Investment Group, John Wu.

Guy Hoffman, a researcher at the Inter Disciplinary Center in Herzliya, has developed a social robot to control smart homes.

Shaped like a microscope,Vyomanages smart homes by turning devices on and off, providing status updates, and monitoring the house for security purposes. Vyo has facial recognition, and interacts through voice commands and verbal responses.

It also has an appealing personality. Hoffman is known for his work on robots that act like humans: he was catapulted to fame in 2009 for his engaging TED Talk onRobots with Soul.

Vyo is still in the developmental phase, but Hoffman already has a range of other robots with similar human-like personalities. For example, Travis is a speaker robot that dances to music.

Hoffmans work could change the way we interact with machines: research conducted by Hoffman and a team of robotics experts showed that people felt better about themselves after interacting with a robot that responded emotionally to them.

Professor Amir Ayali and a team of researchers at Tel Aviv University have developed a robot that could transform the way surveillance is conducted.

The four-inch longLocust Robotmimics the biological mechanism of jumping, and can reach a height of 11 feet more than twice the height of similar-sized robots, according to the researchers.

Able to be cheaply 3D printed (costing only around $100 USD), the robot is part of a wave of 3D printed robot designs that can easily be mass produced.

The robot would be useful in search and rescue missions and reconnaissance operations in rough terrain.

It has not yet been released on the market, and the team are working on developing the robots capacity to jump higher, fly, and even move with other robots in a swarm.

The Ben-Gurion University Robotics Lab, led by Dr. Amir Shapiro, is creating robots inspired by science fiction films. Designed to mimic animals (a technique known as biomimetics), the autonomous robots do work that is too dangerous or trivial for humans.

Snake-like robots have been designed to go into tight spaces on search and rescue missions. A fruit-picking robot, which Dr. Shapiro received a $1.3 million grant to develop, uses visual feedback to find and pick specific fruit. A wall-climbing robot, inspired by snails, can climb on almost any surface and has wide-ranging applications in intelligence gathering.

Although these dont seem as if they will be provided for consumer use, it might not be long before we see packs of animal robots deployed by larger organizations to complete tasks around us.

International investment and local talent continue to be funneled into the robotics industry. Given what this country has already achieved, we should expect a lot more exciting robotic developments in the future.

Israeli Technology News on NoCamels

Read next: Know Apples iOS 11 before its even released for only $29

Read more:

Meet Israel’s next top robots – TNW

NASA robotics summer camp coming to Beckley July 17-21 – Beckley Register-Herald

The NASA IV&V Educator Resource Center, NASA WV Space Grant Consortium, and Mountaineer Area Robotics (MARS) 2614 have teamed up with their partners in West Virginia to bring forward a robotic summer camp July 17-21 at the WV State Extension NASA SEMAA Lab in Beckley.

In a press release fromWorld Robot Olympiad (WRO), officials said this is the largest camp initiative ever, and will be a team-based program centered around learning to build, document, and program the LEGO EV3 robot and compete in the WRO.

Individuals or two- or three-person can register together for the camp, and students will work in teams of three at the camp.

The intent is for students who are new to LEGO Robotics or who are on existing First LEGO League (FLL) teams to form themselves into smaller groups so they can develop their technical and teamwork skills while competing.

Jim Higgins, president of Southern West Virginia’s Robotics Club, said instead of children working alone, they will get to bounce ideas off of each other to form the proper outcome.

“I believe it’s important for them to work in groups because they get to explore ideas different from their own and realize there is almost always more than one solution,” Higgins said.

Robots and iPads will be provided for teams who need one. Although a robot is not required, if you are an existing FLL team or have a LEGO EV3 robot,camp organizers prefer you bring your own laptop or tablet.

The camp will be organized in two different age categories: Elementary, for 9-12 year olds, and Junior, for 13-15 year olds.

Cost is $125 per student and includes four full days of camp from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., snacks and lunch each day, WRO team registration and a tournament Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with awards.

Huggins said if there are students interested in attending the camp and are not able to pay the $125 fee, NASA partners and the Robotics Club will work together to waive the fee if necessary.

“It’s short notice, and we are still wanting several students to sign up,” Higgins said. “This is something some kids won’t want to miss. They’ll work with several STEM initiatives and get to work with LEGOs, it’s going to be a really interesting time.”

To register a student or team for the camp, contact Annelise Williams at 304-367-8215 or visithttps://www.wro-usa.org/register. Registration is required before students arrive at the camp so staff will know the amount of resources necessary for the week.

“We’re all really excited for the week,” Higgins said. “It’ll be a great chance for kids to work together and solve something great.”

Email: jnelson@register-herald.com; follow on Twitter @jnelsonRH

Read the rest here:

NASA robotics summer camp coming to Beckley July 17-21 – Beckley Register-Herald

Seahawks Cornerback Richard Sherman Faces Off Against Compton Robotics Team – NBC Bay Area

WATCH LIVE

Seattle Seahawks All-Pro cornerback and Compton native Richard Sherman returned to the football field in Compton Tuesday to compete against one of the most accomplished teams to date in the Los Angeles area the Compton High Robotics Club.

The Seahawks cornerback competed against a different type of quarterback than he’s used to as part of Oberto Beef Jerky’s “The Jerky Challenge.” A football-throwing robot created by the robotics team attempted to throw footballs past Sherman and hit targets that hung from the goalposts.

“I love getting involved with initiatives that highlight positive programs in communities like my hometown of Compton, and I relish the opportunity to shut down this robot,” Sherman said prior to the event.

While Sherman did catch a few balls, he didn’t catch enough to win.

“The goal was to beat Richard Sherman, which we did,” Robotics Club member Mario Gonzalez said.

“You guys came and beat me at my own sport!” Sherman said.

After the event, Sherman delivered words of motivation during heartfelt comments to the Compton High students.

“I had a lot of days where I didn’t know what I was going to do or where I was going to go, didn’t know if I was good enough,” said the NFL player. “A lot of self-doubt, a lot of people doubting me.”

Angelica Hernandez, a student on the team, was impacted by Sherman’s visit.

“It’s inspiring to know that people like him know that there’s more potential in us and more potential in Compton,” she said. “Not just in sports but technology as well.”

Despite being a new team with limited resources, the Compton High Robotics club continues to upstage other clubs in competitions across the state.

Published 5 hours ago

See the article here:

Seahawks Cornerback Richard Sherman Faces Off Against Compton Robotics Team – NBC Bay Area

Five reasons to attend TC Sessions: Robotics next week at MIT – TechCrunch

Next week TechCrunch is hosting its first ever one-day event centered around robotics. Called TC Sessions: Robotics, there are still a few general admission tickets left which grant the holder access to the conference, workshops, and networking events. Plus there are going to be robots as far as the eye can see. We hope you can make it and heres why.

Join us next Monday, July 17, and get your ticket now before Kresges limited seating is sold out.

9:00 am 9:05 am Opening Remarks from Matthew Panzarino

9:05 am 9:25 am Whats Next at MITs Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory with Daniela Rus (MIT CSAIL)

9:25 am 9:50 am Is Venture Ready for Robotics? with Manish Kothari (SRI), Josh Wolfe (Lux Capital) and Helen Zelman (Lemnos)

9:50 am 10:10 am The Future of Industrial Robotics with Sami Atiya (ABB)

10:10 am 10:35 am Collaborative Robots At Work with Clara Vu (VEO), Jerome Dubois (6 River Systems) and Holly Yanco (UMass Lowell)

10:30 am 11:15 am WORKSHOP: Fresh Out of the MIT Lab with Robert Katzschmann, Claudia Perez DArpino and Andrew Spielberg

10:35 am 10:55 am Coffee Break

10:55 am 11:20 am Robots, AI and Humanity with David Barrett (Olin), David Edelman (MIT) and Dr. Brian Pierce (DARPA)

11:20 am 11:45 am Building A Robotics Startup from Angel to Exit with Helen Greiner (CyPhy Works), Andy Wheeler (GV) and Elaine Chen (Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship)

11:45 am 12:05 pm Imagineering Disney Robotics with Martin Buehler (Disney Imagineering)

12:15 pm 1:00 pm WORKSHOP: Educating the Next Generation of Roboticists with David Barrett (Olin College), Ryan Keenan (Udacity), and Dr. Robert McMahan (Kettering University)

1:00 pm 1:20 pm Robots at Amazon with Tye Brady (Amazon Robotics)

1:20 pm 1:55 pm Building The Robot Brain with Heather Ames (Neurala), Brian Gerkey (Open Robotics) and Deepu Talla (Nvidia)

1:55 pm 2:20 pm When Robots Fly with Buddy Michini (Airware), Andreas Raptopoulos (Matternet) and Jan Stumpf (Intel)

2:20 pm 2:40 pm Bringing Robots Home with Colin Angle (iRobot)

2:40 pm 2:50 pm Demo with Carl Vause (Soft Robotics)

2:50 pm 3:00 pm Demo with David Perry (Harvard University SEAS)

3:05 pm 3:25 pm Coffee Break

3:15 pm 4:00 pm WORKSHOP: Getting the Most Out of DARPA with Dr. Brian Pierce

3:35 pm 4:15 pm Robotics Startup Pitch-off

Contestants: CP Robotics, Hand4Help, Tangible Media Group and Franklin Robotics // Judges: Jeremy Conrad (Lemnos Labs), Helen Greiner (CyPhy Works), Daniel Theobald (Vecna Technologies) andMelonee Wise (Fetch Robotics).

4:15 pm 4:35 pm The Age Of The Household Robot with Gill Pratt (Toyota Research Institute)

4:35 pm 4:55 pm Fireside Chat with Rodney Brooks (Rethink Robotics)

4:55 pm 5:05 pm Demo with Bruce Welty (Locus Robotics)

5:05 pm 5:15 pm Demo with Sangbae Kim (MIT Biomimetic Robotics Laboratory)

5:15 pm 5:20pm Wrap Up

5:20 pm 7:00 pm Reception

DARPA The mission of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is to prevent and create strategic surprise by developing breakthrough technologies for national security. The agencys project-oriented approach to science and engineering, however, is different both in approach and execution from other U.S. governmental funding agencies. In this workshop, DARPA leadership will discuss the Agencys vision and goals, provide overviews of each of the organizations technical offices, in addition to an explanation of the mechanics of working with DARPA. The objective of the workshop is to elicit help in fomenting institutional evolution in Americas broader science and technology ecosystem that is needed to better and more rapidly respond to future challenges.

MIT CSAIL MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory is tasked with researching activities around the bleeding edge of technology. Attendees of this workshop will get an insiders look at some of the hottest projects being developed in CSAILs labs and engineering bays. Robert Katzschmann will present Soft Robotics and the teams creative approach to allowing robots to manipulate objects. Claudia Perez DArpinos presentation will demonstrate how robots can learn from a single demo and Andrew Spielberg will explain a novel process to create and fabricate robots.

Building Roboticists David Barrett, a professor of mechanical engineering at Olin College, Ryan Keenan, curriculum lead for Udacity, and Dr. Robert McMahan, President of Kettering University will lead a workshop discussing their views on the best way to train the next generation of roboticists. Each of these educators leads vastly different programs, but the aim is universal: to train the next generation of globally competitive engineers. Its important that these students learn through hands-on experience how to not only write code, but deploy code in a viable manner that results in a sustainable product.

See the original post:

Five reasons to attend TC Sessions: Robotics next week at MIT – TechCrunch

Why I Think Home Robots Will Become Invisible – IEEE Spectrum

Photo-illustration: IEEE Spectrum; Roomba image: iRobot In this guest post, Joe Jones, the inventor of the Roomba, argues that home robots will follow computers into the shadows.

How many computers do you own?

If you picked a number close to three (say, laptop, tablet, and smartphone) youre way off. The answer is probably dozens. There are computers in your car, in your appliances, in your thermostat, and maybe even in your light bulbs. Every year the number goes up.

Today, visible computers are just the slimmest tip of the iceberg. Most computers are hidden away, quietly performing their jobs without you even being aware of the work they do for you. Thats as it should be. You have no interest in the computers themselves, you just want certain tasks done.

Cute, social robots currently get a lot of press, but are these engaging devices early emissaries of our robotic future? Are we entering an era where no one would dream of living without a cheerful electromechanical companion? In my view, companion robots offer novelty over utility, but once the novelty wears off, its only utility that people will pay for.

Rather than being front and center, home robots, I believe, will follow computers into the shadows. Why? Because people dont want robots. (I say this despite 30-plus years as a practicing roboticist.) Consumers want a spotless floor; not a machine buzzing around underfoot. Every morning, you want to find your dresser filled with clean clothes; you have no need to socialize with a laundry-bot no matter how exuberant it may be. People want the things a robot can do for them; the robot itself may just get in the way.

Acknowledging that consumers dont love robots the way we do might help roboticists build better products. The robot, I think, should not be an end in itself but instead should be the simplest, most cost effective way to deliver what our customers truly want. Furthermore, if a proposed robot is not the simplest, most cost effective solution to a problem consumers want solved, then we shouldnt build that robot.

In the fairytale of the shoemaker and the elves, the shoemaker awakens each morning to find that his work is done. Discovering how the work was accomplished requires effort on the part of the shoemaker. This, I think, is good inspiration for robot developers.

Home robotics hasnt achieved that happy ideal yet. We can program Roomba to emerge and work when no one is home, but its still necessary to empty the dirt compartment and clean the brushes. My newest robot, Tertill, which is available on Kickstarter, is another step in the direction of invisibilitydelivering a weed-free garden with almost no attention from the gardener.

I look forward to the day when the logistics of home life will simply run smoothly and no one need trouble themselves with the details. Unless they want to.

Joe Jones is co-founder and CTO of Franklin Robotics, which is developing a solar-powered garden-weeding robot named Tertill. Previously, he was co-founder and CTO of Harvest Automation and a senior roboticist at iRobot, where he was the co-inventor of the Roomba vacuuming robot. Follow him on Twitter: @JoeRobotJones

IEEE Spectrums award-winning robotics blog, featuring news, articles, and videos on robots, humanoids, drones, automation, artificial intelligence, and more. Contact us:e.guizzo@ieee.org

Sign up for the Automaton newsletter and get biweekly updates about robotics, automation, and AI, all delivered directly to your inbox.

What problems do engineers need to crack before they can deliver the proverbial Rosie the Robot? 13Jan2016

Tomorrows robots will become true helpers and companions in peoples homesand heres what it will take to develop them 29May2014

Google, Microsoft, and Apple are investing in robots. Does that mean home robots are on the way? 2Jan2014

The French company worked in secret for two years to create Pepper. Now Japanese telecom giant SoftBank is ready to sell it to consumers 26Dec2014

Most people think they intuitively know the answer. But when pressed for details, they often stumble 13Dec2011

The famed MIT roboticist is launching a crowdfunding campaign to bring social robots to consumers 16Jul2014

The inventor of the Roomba tells us about his new solar-powered, weed-destroying robot 6Jul

With an easy-to-use interface based on MIT’s Scratch, you can command Cozmo to do complex tasks without any programming experience 26Jun

Clever little cubes automate robotic craft projects for kids 13Jun

Billed as a Replacement for Man, the Hughes Mobot combined strength with a delicate touch 26May

At-home telepresence gets significantly more affordable, although it’s still not cheap 13Apr

Giving a Roomba a tail makes it easy for humans to understand its “feelings” 16Feb

One day, robots like these will be scampering up your steps to drop off packages 9Feb

Take a walk, a jog, or a bike ride with 19 kg of stuff autonomously following you 2Feb

A $35 kit turns a little legged robot into an autonomous interactive critter 24Jan

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos 13Jan

With an endearing design and a projector in its butt, Mykie is here to help you cook 11Jan

Many of the social robots introduced at CES look similar. Are they all copying Jibo? 6Jan

A Bosch-backed startup introduces a cute little mobile robot 3Jan

For this radio-controlled lawn mower, the garden of tomorrow never arrived 22Dec2016

Follow this link:

Why I Think Home Robots Will Become Invisible – IEEE Spectrum

Robotics Monday kicks off in Butte – NBC Montana

BUTTE, Mont. – Monday marked the start of Robotics Monday in Butte. Its an event aimed at improving science, technology, engineering and math skills in Butte elementary and middle school kids.

Children put Legos together and programmed their projects into computers.

Kristel Callahan, the director of Sylvan Learning Center, says she sees a big need in Butte for more opportunities for youth to learn critical STEM skills.

“That’s what’s going to be happening. Kids are going to need those skills to get a job pretty soon. So that’s one of the things Sylvan came up with,” Callahan said.

The program runs every Monday in July at the Sylvan Learning Center on Harrison Avenue. It is not too late to sign up.

Read more here:

Robotics Monday kicks off in Butte – NBC Montana

Robotics competition held at Taylor Sportsplex – Southgate News Herald

The Big Bang happened in Taylor July 7-8 when the Taylor Schools robotics program held its annual invitation of the same name.

In all there were 23 schools from the U.S. and Canada represented.

Joe Horth, the robotics director for the school, said this was a bigger version of the invitational they started hosting last year, but that he would like to see it continue to grow.

The competition was outside of the traditional high school competitive season, but if Horth has his way, that might change in the future as well. He said the school might attempt to host a high school district competition in the future.

The competition was held in the Belle Tire Arena, with the staging held at the other ice arena. The ice surfaces at both arenas are down during the summer months.

Read more here:

Robotics competition held at Taylor Sportsplex – Southgate News Herald

Robots to haul luggage, and fight crime, in train stations – CNET

Robots will carry luggage, assist lost travelers, clean floors and catch shoplifters in Japan’s railways.

Traveling can be a pain, especially when lost luggage, delayed flights and confusing train station layouts are the norm.

Japan is hoping to make traveling safer, and maybe even more fun, by adding robots to give a helping mechanical hand at train stations.

East Japan Railwayslast week announced the creation of JRE Robotics Station, a company that will design robots to help travelers navigate train stations and get to their trains on time.

Other robots will be designed to carry luggage — mainly assisting travelers with disabilities, not merely those who hate to lug around heavy suitcases.

The robots will also be programmed to understand a variety of languages to accommodate foreign visitors. Other robots will be designed to clean floors and otherwise tidy up the train stations.

Security robots that can detect shoplifters are also part of the new initiative. The idea of futuristic RoboCops makes sense considering the railway company also manages a number of hotels and shopping centers in Japan.

But if you want to see this new robotic workforce in action, you may have to wait awhile. JRE Robotics Station has yet to announce when the robots will be in place to servetravelers.

17

The coolest robots from UK Robotics Week 2017

Read the rest here:

Robots to haul luggage, and fight crime, in train stations – CNET

Second edition of Springer Handbook of Robotics – Robohub

The Second Edition of the award-winning Springer Handbook of Robotics edited by Bruno Siciliano and Oussama Khatib has recently been published. The contents of the first edition have been restructured to achieve four main objectives: the enlargement of foundational topics for robotics, the enlightenment of design of various types of robotic systems, the extension of the treatment on robots moving in the environment, and the enrichment of advanced robotics applications. Most previous chapters have been revised, fifteen new chapters have been introduced on emerging topics, and a new generation of authors have joined the handbooks team. Like for the first edition, a truly interdisciplinary approach has been pursued in line with the expansion of robotics across the boundaries with related disciplines. Again, the authors have been asked to step outside of their comfort zone, as the Editorial Board have teamed up authors who never worked together before.

No doubt one of the most innovative elements is the inclusion of multimedia content to leverage the valuable written content inside the book. Under the editorial leadership of Torsten Krger, a web portal has been created to host the Multimedia Extension of the book, which serves as a quick one-stop shop for more than 700 videos associated with the specific chapters. In addition, video tutorials have been created for each of the seven parts of the book, which benefit everyone from PhD students to seasoned robotics experts who have been in the field for years. A special video related to the contents of the first chapter shows the journey of robotics with the latest and coolest developments in the last 15 years. As publishing explores new interactive technologies, an App has been made available in the Google/IOS stores to introduce an additional multimedia layer to the readers experience. With the app, readers can use the camera on their smartphone or tablet, hold it to a page containing one or more special icons, and produce an augmented reality on the screen, watching videos as they read along the book.

For more information on the book, please visit the Springer Handbook website.

The Multimedia Portaloffers free access to more than 700 accompanying videos. In addition, a Multimedia App is now downloadable:AppStoreandGooglePlayfor smartphones and tablets, allowing you to easily access multimedia content while reading the book.

Continue reading here:

Second edition of Springer Handbook of Robotics – Robohub

INGDAN.com Achieves Success with Intel on Cultivating Robotics Ecosystem – PR Newswire (press release)

Last July, INGDAN.com and Intel teamed up to create a robotics innovation ecosystem, aimed at promoting technological advancement of the industry, incubation, and professional operations. Founding the first ever “Robotics Innovation Center” in Shanghai, as well as INGDAN.com’s new closed ecosystem for resource matching and sharing, strengthened the Company’s leading position in the robotics industry — namely product design, manufacturing, and financing. The ecosystem currently accommodates more than 1,000 robotics companies and 300 upstream suppliers, reached the Company’s expectations.

Cogobuy’s partnership with Intel was also formed to boost development in the industry. The Company hosted the Intel AI and Robotics Innovative Ecosystem Forum, and a robotics competition, on July 6. The event focused on the future of AI and robotics boom, and showcased Cogobuy’s leading position in the robotics ecosystem alliance. Many AI and robotics industry experts, promising company founders, government officials, market leaders, and investors participated in the event. We also witnessed the rise of promising teams in the competition securing growth momentum for the industry.

Mr. Jeffrey Kang, CEO of Cogobuy Group, said: “After recent calls by Chinese government for a robotics revolution, China’s robotics industry is booming. According to the latest forecast from the International Data Corporation(IDC), China will more than double its spending on robotics and related services, from $24.6 billion in 2016 to $59.4 billion in 2020.

Our partnership with Intel to promote robotics innovation will facilitate the industry’s overall efficiency and help more companies manufacture their designs. We are proud to have achieved the establishment of the new robotics ecosystem, and together with Intel, we plan to make it the most cost-effective one in China.”

About Cogobuy GroupCogobuy Group is the largest e-commerce service platform serving the electronics manufacturing industry in China. Through the e-commerce platform, which includes a direct sales platform, an online marketplace, and a dedicated team of technical consultants and professional sales representatives, the Company provides customers with comprehensive online and offline services across pre-sale, sale and post-sale stages. The Company serves mainly SME electronics manufacturers.

For further information, please refer to the Company’s website at http://www.cogobuy.com/

About INGDAN.comINGDAN.com is a platform dedicated to connecting global intelligent hardware entrepreneurs and China-based supply chain resources. The platform provides information on hardware innovation, supply chain data and supply chain demand docking for global IoT innovators and entrepreneurs. It is a one-stop hardware innovation business platform with its core being the “supply chain.”

For further information, please refer to the Company’s website at http://www.ingdan.com/

View original content:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ingdancom-achieves-success-with-intel-on-cultivating-robotics-ecosystem-300485016.html

SOURCE Cogobuy Group

http://www.cogobuy.com/

Read the rest here:

INGDAN.com Achieves Success with Intel on Cultivating Robotics Ecosystem – PR Newswire (press release)

For Afghan girls’ robotics team, US visa denial was last of many hurdles – The Denver Post

By Pamela Constable, The Washington Post

KABUL, Afghanistan When six Afghan teenage girls were denied U.S. visas to enter an international robotics contest in Washington set for later this month, the unexplained decision seemed to be punishing the very ambitions U.S. agencies have long advocated for girls in Afghanistan, where many are denied educational opportunities.

But the story is more complicated than that.

Afghanistan, beset by insurgent violence and economic uncertainty, is suffering from a massive brain drain, according to Afghan and U.S. officials. Scholarship students, academic fellows and teachers who receive temporary visas to visit the United States often vanish into immigrant communities instead of returning home.

The growing phenomenon has made U.S. officials especially wary of approving visa requests even for applicants like the robotics students who may otherwise deserve them if they decide there is a risk the person will fail to return home.

It is sad to say, but some of them do not come back, said Elham Shaheen, a senior official at the Ministry of Higher Education who manages foreign-study policies. He said 10 percent of all Afghans who are awarded temporary visas for academic purposes in the United States or Europe defy immigration rules to remain there permanently.

Female students and faculty members, facing extra frustrations at home, are no exception. Several years ago, Shaheen said, 12 female university lecturers won scholarships to obtain MA degrees in economics in Germany. Of the 12, he said, 11 of them escaped.

American officials here and in Washington have refused to discuss the case of the robotics team, but several pointed out that U.S. law presumes all temporary visa seekers intend to remain in the United States unless they are able to prove they have compellingly strong ties to their country.

Two members of the team, interviewed Thursday from their home city of Herat, said U.S. consular officers had asked about their ties to Afghanistan, whether they had relatives in the United States and whether they intended to return home after the competition.

Youth teams from about 150 countries will face off next week in the FIRST Global Challenge contest, created to promote international student interest in science, technology and math. Only one other team, from Gambia, was turned down.

Each of us gave them written guarantees from two government employees vouching for our return, said Rodaba Noori, 16, a member of the Afghan team that built a ball-sorting robot. This is our country. We have our life and family here, she said. How could we abandon them and not return after the competition?

Obtaining a visa, though, is just the last of many daunting hurdles the female students face in their efforts to advance academically long before they can even dream of traveling abroad.

Afghan families often oppose their daughters attending universities in Kabul or other cities, fearing for their safety and exposure to young men. Agencies that offer domestic scholarships, such as the nonprofit Asia Foundation, often have to negotiate with families or agree to support a male relative who can accompany the girl each semester.

Girls are also at a disadvantage in English and math, because Afghan families are more willing to pay for boys to take private classes. As a result, more girls fail college-entrance exams. To help even the balance, USAID sponsors exam-prep classes for girls, and education officials have established a 30 percent female quota for all in-country scholarships.

There is a chain of barriers for Afghan girls that requires a network of support to overcome, said Razia Stanikzai of the Asia Foundation in Kabul, whose job is to promote Afghan female students participation in science and technology.

Many Afghans, however, view these as male fields, and families may try to steer daughters into nursing or teaching instead. To overcome such stereotypes, Stanikzais program sponsors science fairs at provincial schools, where girls demonstrate projects to fathers and male community elders. We dont want girls sitting at home and being told that science and technology are for boys, she said.

Even students at such elite institutions as the American University in Afghanistan, where the U.S. Embassy has funded more than 400 scholarships for women, face prejudice. Two female information technology students said that in most of their classes, all of the other students were male and that some of their friends and relatives had no idea what they were studying or why.

Some of them tell us to change majors, to do something more acceptable like nursing or arts, said Shamim Ali, 26, whose dream is to start her own IT company. This is a traditional society, and even the concept of IT is strange. People think we are going to become mechanics or electricians and climb up on ladders.

When it comes to studying abroad, there are many opportunities, such as the Fulbright program, which has sent 535 Afghan students among them, 102 women to the United States since 2002. There are also closer international universities in countries such as India, Iran and Bangladesh, which Afghan officials are promoting as cheaper, more comfortable places to study at a time of growing anti-Muslim sentiment in the West.

Yet even accomplished female students can be thwarted by family resistance and competing cultural priorities. Education officials described cases in which applicants for foreign scholarships turned out to be married, pregnant and unable to accept by the time their tickets and visas came through.

One woman in Kabul named Raihana, 27, who obtained a scholarship to study economics in Bangladesh, said her older brother, the senior male in the family, at first refused to let her to go, but her younger and more liberal brother finally persuaded him.

Since my father was dead, he felt he had to take responsibility for me and my safety, the woman said, but the real reason was that he was married and he did not want his wife to study or travel. If I went, she would be jealous and complain.

The members of the robotics team said they, too, encountered initial resistance from their parents not only to travel to the United States for the robotics contest, but also to fly cross-country to Kabul, with its constant news of insurgent bombings, to apply for their visas.

We finally convinced them, and in the end they were very happy, but it was a difficult path, said Yasamin Yasinzada, 16, who said her dream is to be a pioneer in robotics and set an example for other girls. She said it was much easier for boys, because they are allowed to travel, but it helped that our coach was going with us.

Despite her disappointment at being turned down to visit the United States, where the robot will now appear at the competition without its creators, Yasinzada said she still hopes to study abroad.

The specific place doesnt matter, she said. I just want to learn, interact, see other ways of life, come back home and put it all into practice.

Read more here:

For Afghan girls’ robotics team, US visa denial was last of many hurdles – The Denver Post

New Horizon 2020 robotics projects, 2016: CYBERLEGs++ – 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).

Every week, euRobotics will publish a video interview with a project, so that you can find out more about their activities. This week features CYBERLEGs++: The CYBERnetic LowEr-Limb CoGnitive Ortho-prosthesis Plus Plus.

Objectives

The goal of CYBERLEGs++ is to validate the technical and economic viability of the powered robotic ortho-prosthesis developed within the FP7-ICT-CYBERLEGs project. The aim is to enhance/restore the mobility of transfemoral amputees and to enable them to perform locomotion tasks such as ground-level walking, walking up and down slopes, climbing/descending stairs, standing up, sitting down and turning in scenarios of real life. Restored mobility will allow amputees to perform physical activity thus counteracting physical decline and improving the overall health status and quality of life.

By demonstrating in an operational environment (TRL=7) from both the technical and economic viability view point a modular robotics technology for healthcare, with the ultimate goal of fostering its market exploitation CYBERLEGs Plus Pus will have an impact on:

Society: CLs++ technology will contribute to increase the mobility of dysvascular amputees, and, more generally, of disabled persons with mild lower-limb impairments; Science and technology: CLs++ will further advance the hardware and software modules of the ortho-prosthesis developed within the FP7 CYBERLEGs project and validate its efficacy through a multi-centre clinical study; Market: CLs++ will foster the market exploitation of high-tech robotic systems and thus will promote the growth of both a robotics SME and a large healthcare company.

Partners SCUOLA SUPERIORE SANTANNA (SSSA) UNIVERSIT CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN (UCL) VRIJE UNIVERSITEIT BRUSSEL (VUB) UNIVERZA V LJUBLJANI (UL) FONDAZIONE DON CARLO GNOCCHI (FDG) SSUR (OSS) IUVO S.R.L. (IUVO)

Coordinator Prof. Nicola Vitiello, The BioRobotics Institute Scuola Superiore SantAnna, Pisa, Italy nicola.vitiello@santannapisa.it

Project website http://www.cyberlegs.org

Watch all EU-projects videos

If you enjoyed reading this article, you may also want to read:

See allthe latest robotics newson Robohub, orsign up for our weekly newsletter.

Go here to read the rest:

New Horizon 2020 robotics projects, 2016: CYBERLEGs++ – Robohub

For Afghan girls’ robotics team, US visa denial was last of many hurdles – Chicago Tribune

When six Afghan teenage girls were denied U.S. visas to enter an international robotics contest in Washington set for later this month, the unexplained decision seemed to be punishing the very ambitions U.S. agencies have long advocated for girls in Afghanistan, where many are denied educational opportunities.

But the story is more complicated than that.

Afghanistan, beset by insurgent violence and economic uncertainty, is suffering from a massive brain drain, according to Afghan and U.S. officials. Scholarship students, academic fellows and teachers who receive temporary visas to visit the United States often vanish into immigrant communities instead of returning home.

The growing phenomenon has made U.S. officials especially wary of approving visa requests – even for applicants like the robotics students who may otherwise deserve them – if they decide there is a risk the person will fail to return home.

“It is sad to say, but some of them do not come back,” said Elham Shaheen, a senior official at the Ministry of Higher Education who manages foreign-study policies. He said 10 percent of all Afghans who are awarded temporary visas for academic purposes in the United States or Europe defy immigration rules to remain there permanently.

Female students and faculty members, facing extra frustrations at home, are no exception. Several years ago, Shaheen said, 12 female university lecturers won scholarships to obtain MA degrees in economics in Germany. Of the 12, he said, “11 of them escaped.”

American officials here and in Washington have refused to discuss the case of the robotics team, but several pointed out that U.S. law “presumes” all temporary visa seekers intend to remain in the United States unless they are able to prove they have compellingly strong ties to their country.

Two members of the team, interviewed Thursday from their home city of Herat, said U.S. consular officers had asked about their ties to Afghanistan, whether they had relatives in the United States and whether they intended to return home after the competition.

Youth teams from about 150 countries will face off next week in the FIRST Global Challenge contest, created to promote international student interest in science, technology and math. Only one other team, from Gambia, was turned down.

“Each of us gave them written guarantees from two government employees vouching for our return,” said Rodaba Noori, 16, a member of the Afghan team that built a ball-sorting robot. “This is our country. We have our life and family here,” she said. “How could we abandon them and not return after the competition?”

Obtaining a visa, though, is just the last of many daunting hurdles the female students face in their efforts to advance academically – long before they can even dream of traveling abroad.

Afghan families often oppose their daughters attending universities in Kabul or other cities, fearing for their safety and exposure to young men. Agencies that offer domestic scholarships, such as the nonprofit Asia Foundation, often have to negotiate with families or agree to support a male relative who can accompany the girl each semester.

Girls are also at a disadvantage in English and math, because Afghan families are more willing to pay for boys to take private classes. As a result, more girls fail college-entrance exams. To help even the balance, USAID sponsors exam-prep classes for girls, and education officials have established a 30 percent female quota for all in-country scholarships.

“There is a chain of barriers for Afghan girls that requires a network of support to overcome,” said Razia Stanikzai of the Asia Foundation in Kabul, whose job is to promote Afghan female students’ participation in science and technology.

Many Afghans, however, view these as “male” fields, and families may try to steer daughters into nursing or teaching instead. To overcome such stereotypes, Stanikzai’s program sponsors science fairs at provincial schools, where girls demonstrate projects to fathers and male community elders. “We don’t want girls sitting at home and being told that science and technology are for boys,” she said.

Even students at such elite institutions as the American University in Afghanistan, where the U.S. Embassy has funded more than 400 scholarships for women, face prejudice. Two female information technology students said that in most of their classes, all of the other students were male and that some of their friends and relatives had no idea what they were studying – or why.

“Some of them tell us to change majors, to do something more acceptable like nursing or arts,” said Shamim Ali, 26, whose dream is to start her own IT company. “This is a traditional society, and even the concept of IT is strange. People think we are going to become mechanics or electricians and climb up on ladders.”

When it comes to studying abroad, there are many opportunities, such as the Fulbright program, which has sent 535 Afghan students – among them, 102 women – to the United States since 2002. There are also closer international universities in countries such as India, Iran and Bangladesh, which Afghan officials are promoting as cheaper, more comfortable places to study at a time of growing anti-Muslim sentiment in the West.

Yet even accomplished female students can be thwarted by family resistance and competing cultural priorities. Education officials described cases in which applicants for foreign scholarships turned out to be married, pregnant and unable to accept by the time their tickets and visas came through.

One woman in Kabul named Raihana, 27, who obtained a scholarship to study economics in Bangladesh, said her older brother, the senior male in the family, at first refused to let her to go, but her younger and more liberal brother finally persuaded him.

“Since my father was dead, he felt he had to take responsibility for me and my safety,” the woman said, “but the real reason was that he was married and he did not want his wife to study or travel. If I went, she would be jealous and complain.”

The members of the robotics team said they, too, encountered initial resistance from their parents – not only to travel to the United States for the robotics contest, but also to fly cross-country to Kabul, with its constant news of insurgent bombings, to apply for their visas.

“We finally convinced them, and in the end they were very happy, but it was a difficult path,” said Yasamin Yasinzada, 16, who said her dream is to “be a pioneer in robotics and set an example for other girls.” She said it was “much easier for boys, because they are allowed to travel, but it helped that our coach was going with us.”

Go here to see the original:

For Afghan girls’ robotics team, US visa denial was last of many hurdles – Chicago Tribune

Stay-at-home dad takes top prize in robotics contest – North Platte Telegraph

Kevin Knoedlers robot had a mission: After a Martian habitat was damaged by a dust storm, the robot had to align an antenna, deploy a solar panel, walk up stairs to the habitat, and find and repair a leak.

Not only did the 1990 North Platte High School graduates robot took home the top prize in a virtual-reality competition it completed its mission on the first run. In addition to a $50,000 bonus for the clean run, Knoedler won $125,000 for first place in the late June competition.

But tinkering with robots isnt Knoedlers profession. Knoedler is a stay-at-home father. He moved to Newbury Park, California, after graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with his bachelors degree in engineering. He worked in programming before taking on his role as a stay-at-home dad 10 years ago, while his wife, a chemical engineer, works in the semiconductor industry. His children are 8 and 11.

Knoedler said his interest in the robotics competition was somewhere between a hobby and based on my previous work.

The Global Space Robotics Challenge aimed to engage citizen solvers, according to a NASA press release. NASA officials hope that someday, robots can arrive on missions ahead of astronauts and set up habitats and life support systems. Eventually, robots may even begin preliminary scientific research, according to the release.

When the competition was announced last August, 400 teams from 55 countries pre-registered. Ninety-two competed in the qualification round, and the top 20 advanced, each earning $15,000.

Knoedler said that as a high school student in North Platte, he didnt jump into programming.

It was more just learning the basics, he said. Math. Science. How to study, how to learn.

Regardless, Knoedler gives credit to his teachers in North Platte for igniting the spark.

Knoedler said a big chunk of his prize money will go to taxes. Hell use the rest of it for future robotics projects and for his childrens college savings fund.

Knoedler has seen his kids show a little interest in robotics already.

Its hard to say at this point, he said.

See the rest here:

Stay-at-home dad takes top prize in robotics contest – North Platte Telegraph

Sexbot brothels? What we might see in an era of sex robots – CNET – CNET

From delivery drones to automated cars, robots are on the rise — and that includes bots you can have sex with, thanks to the growing number of companies working to bring artificially intelligent sex dolls to the masses.

The Foundation for Responsible Robotics, which calls for “accountable innovation for the humans behind the robots,” sees sexualized robots creeping up on the horizon, so it put together a comprehensive report on the subject. It’s a fascinating read, covering evolving societal attitudes, ethical implications and sociological concerns.

Theentire report’s worth a look, but here are seven key takeaways.

The report cites a number of studies on whether people would have sex with a robot, and points to a wide range of responses. For instance, 9 percent of respondents to a Huffington Post survey expressed interest in the idea; another survey found 66 percent of men and about half as many women would want to give sexbots a go. Still another poll found that 86 percent of respondents believed a robot would be able to satisfy their sexual desires, suggesting potential for the market to grow as attitudes toward sex robots evolve.

The report also examines what future relationships with sex robots might look like, and draws comparisons to professional sex workers, many of whom say, according to the report, that high-paying clients often want to drink, socialize and do drugs together to form the pretense of a relationship in addition to having sex.

While the technology needed to make sex robots into drinking buddies is likely a long way off, the report points to men who say they’ve formed emotional connections with inanimate dolls. These sorts of “fictive relationships” are a little like imaginative play, the report says, and social acceptance of these kinds of relationships will be needed for more people to feel comfortable entering into them.

In another of the many surveys cited in the report, respondents were asked if sex robots were an acceptable substitute for prostitutes. On a scale of one to seven, with one being unacceptable and seven being acceptable, the survey results averaged out to a perhaps surprisingly high six. This, coupled with the fact that bordellos of inanimate sex dolls are already on the rise in Asia, leads the authors of the report to conclude that sex robot brothels might be a logical next step.

The report points out that there’s no question creating humanoid sex robots based on pornographic representations of female anatomy objectifies women. Still, it asserts much of sexual societies already feed off of that sort of objectification, and goes on to suggest sex robots could ultimately serve more to reinforce existing mindsets than to create new ones. There’s not a lot of research here, though, especially with regard to under-represented communities.

The authors of the report and the scholars they cite are fairly unified in the belief that the advent of sex robots could lead to greater social isolation. One big factor: Sex robots are easy to have sex with, and people who use them could be put off by the additional communication and social interaction that goes into a traditional sexual experience. They also express concern that sex robots could desensitize users to intimacy and empathy.

9

RealDoll wants to build you a sexbot

The report goes on to discuss the potential therapeutic value of sex robots for people with social disorders or physical disabilities or even the elderly. There’s some history to draw from here — namely nursing homes that use semi-robotic dolls to provide companionship for their residents, including patients suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. Still, there are ethical questions with regard to dolls like these, even before you bring sex into picture. Some authors argue they infantilize the elderly, and others question whether those suffering from mental disabilities can truly provide informed consent.

The report cites controversial suggestions that sex robots could ultimately be used to stem the rise of sexual assault, rape and pedophilia by providing people predisposed to those acts with a non-human outlet. In addition to questioning the legality of such dolls (specifically those that depict children), the report’s authors express skepticism about the proposed benefits, and even question whether they could actuallyencourage harmful behavior.

It’s Complicated: This is dating in the age of apps. Having fun yet? These stories get to the heart of the matter.

Tech Enabled: CNET chronicles tech’s role in providing new kinds of accessibility.

The rest is here:

Sexbot brothels? What we might see in an era of sex robots – CNET – CNET

Teradyne: Robotics And Assisted Driving Will Drive Growth – Seeking Alpha

Finding value in the technology space looks incredibly hard at the moment and the tech heavy Nasdaq sits on its all-time high. In such an environment and with the bull market entering its 9th year after the Global Financial Crisis, it becomes harder and harder to find value. What I would search right now is structural growth stories with very strong market positions. I believe Teradyne (TER) fits my criteria. Structural growth is coming predominantly from exposure to robotics and to the increasing use of sophisticated microchips in many applications (automotive and assisted driving above all). At the same time, the market position appears very solid: in testing equipment, Teradyne holds approximately 50% of the market, with small market share gains over the past few years. In robotics, the company holds a 60% share of the cobots market.

Company description

First, let me give you a brief description of the markets in which the company operates: testing equipment and robotics.

On the first front, the focus is on semiconductor testing, but it also includes wireless and computer storage testing. In a nutshell, we are talking about large machines that test the functionality of hardware components for laptops and smartphones and also semiconductors for a wide variety of other applications (including the automotive sector). This explainer video from the company may help in understanding what we are talking about:

On the robotics side, the company bought Universal Robots (UR) of Denmark in 2015. Unlike traditional automation robots, UR offers collaborative robots (also known as cobots). These are much smaller than traditional robots, have force-limited joints that allow them to be operated alongside humans, are extremely flexible in performing different tasks, and can be programmed by a shop floor operator with a few easy moves. These characteristics make them affordable for small enterprises (a cobot can have a cost of around $100,000 or less rather than millions for a typical high-end robotic machine), and the payback is generally less than 12 months.

Stock performance in the last few years

I believe that looking at the chart of Teradyne shares since the financial crisis provides some very interesting information on the different growth stages:

TER data by YCharts

The first phase (20092011) coincided with the launch and extraordinary growth in the high-end smartphone market, coupled with a still decent computer equipment market. The stock quadrupled during this period. Between 2011 and 2016, shares stopped growing altogether in the context of a flat underlying market. Even though the number of smartphones and semiconductors in general increased, so did the testing capacity of the machines. This increase in equipment productivity, coupled with some in-house, cheap testing solutions developed by low-end smartphone manufacturers, led to an overall stagnant market. The third phase started in late 2016, with shares finally breaking out of the range and the company beating earnings and raising guidance more than once. This may just be the beginning, and several growth drivers seem to be supporting the trend.

The growth drivers

First of all, we have some rapidly expanding markets. Automotive is a very interesting growth story. Microchips used in the auto industry need to go through very extensive testing due to the high performance and extended lifespan required. At the same time, cars are becoming more and more connected (think assisted/autonomous driving and electric vehicles), with many high-end electronic and computer-based options now becoming widely available on low cost/high volume models. The slide below, from a recent Infineon (OTCQX:IFNNF) presentation, shows the range of sensors that are currently marketed in the automotive division and how their presence will dramatically increase over the next few years:

Source: Infineon investor presentation June 2017

Another factor to take into consideration is the ever-increasing complexity of app processors. Added complexity means extended testing times and a reduction in the productivity gains that prevented the testing equipment market from growing over the past few years (more limited parallel testing potential).

The third growth driver can be found in robotics and the increasing range of applications for cobots. This market is currently very small (around $200 mln worldwide) but growing at around 50% per annum and expected to grow at similar levels over the next few years. I am always skeptical about these very high growth markets as I remember the disaster in 3D printing stocks. Here is what I like about this sector: there is a much broader range of applications for all sorts of industries, a simple setup process but, most importantly, a very clear and easy to measure payback period, as cobots substitute manual work. I also like Universal Robots dominant market share in cobots (around 60%), a market that they effectively invented. But more importantly, UR is aggressively working on the creation of a broad ecosystem of third party hardware and software to adapt cobots to perform more and more industry specific tasks and is rapidly expanding its global distribution network. I believe these efforts will help the company maintain a solid position in a rapidly expanding market.

The financials and valuation

In the most recent quarter, Teradyne announced results that beat guidance and expectations and provided guidance for the second quarter that was higher than consensus. The company also increased its view on the size of the overall market for testing equipment even from its recent January estimate. What I find particularly encouraging is the breadth of the revenue/orders beat with automotive, mobility, image sensor, and memory all driving orders higher in the quarter and Universal Robots increasing sales 117% yoy. Surely, Universal Robots still represents a small part of the business (around 8% of total sales in Q1), but with sales growth of 117% yoy in the quarter and new orders up 150% yoy, we can expect this division to become sizable and soon capable of moving the needle.

The company has plenty of liquidity, with net cash of more than $1 bn (17% of the market cap) on the balance sheet and a plan to distribute more than $250 mln during 2017 through dividends and buybacks. From a valuation perspective, the stock is trading on 15.7x consensus 2017 earnings. This is not significantly above the average forward P/E of the past few years even though growth expectations have increased over the last 12 months.

Conclusions

Over the past 12 months, the stock appreciated significantly and is up roughly 50%. I generally find it very difficult to recommend an investment in a stock that has already seen such a significant growth, and, to be honest, I wish I discovered Teradyne earlier. That said, Teradyne still trades at a significant discount to Nasdaq on consensus P/E (15.7x vs. 19.5x) despite clear signs that we may be close to a shift in growth expectations in the industry. Risks are those typical of high growth technology industries, with price deflation and an increasing competition in robotics being the most significant. However, I believe the solid level of market share in both semi test equipment (50%) and cobots (60%) will certainly help Teradyne reap the benefits of a re-acceleration in growth that doesn’t seem to be fully appreciated by investors.

Disclosure: I am/we are long TER.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Follow this link:

Teradyne: Robotics And Assisted Driving Will Drive Growth – Seeking Alpha

Camp sparks kids’ interest in robotics – South Strand news

The Waccamaw Neck Branch Library hosted a new camp this summer for students to gain hands-on experience in robotics and programming.

Sixteen students ages 9 to 16 signed up for LEGO Robotics Camp and were split into pairs to build and program their own robots.

Children’s librarian Amy King said she tried to keep the numbers down so students could have the chance to program on their own.

“This is a more advanced program,” King said. “We wanted students to be able to get their hands on a robot.”

Students at the camp included newbie programmers and seasoned pros, including two-year library robotics team veteran Ellie Keesee.

“My favorite part of the camp is programming,” Keesee said. “The camp teaches us a lot about it.”

King and computer programmer Amanda Blair assisted the students throughout the camp. King and Blair also both volunteer to coach robotics during the school year; King at the library and Blair at Socastee Elementary School.

The library received the camp’s robots through an eco literacy grant, and King said she hopes to use this new technology to help build robotics programs at schools in the area.

The library has been home to its own robotics team for two years, but is now looking to play more of a supporting role for Georgetown County schools.

“There’s a huge learning curve when you start a team,” King said. “New programs can be difficult to learn. We want to reach out and help coaches and students with robotics.”

The Georgetown and Carvers Bay branch libraries will also be hosting robotics camps in the coming weeks to expose students to computer programming.

More here:

Camp sparks kids’ interest in robotics – South Strand news

Gambia robotics students granted US visas after rejection – ABC News

The mentor for a Gambian student team says the five teens have been granted United States visas after initially being denied the chance to compete in a prestigious international robotics contest in Washington.

Mucktarr Darboe, an education and science ministry director, said after Thursday’s interview at the U.S. Embassy the students were given visa letters and will pick them up Monday. Darboe said he was denied one because the U.S. is not currently granting visas to Gambian government officials. The team will be met by the Gambian American Association in Washington.

Gambia and Afghanistan were the only two countries among more than 160 that did not get visas. Gambia recently ousted a dictator by electing a president who promises democratic reforms.

The robotics competition is being held July 14-16.

Link:

Gambia robotics students granted US visas after rejection – ABC News

Israel’s Mazor Robotics sees record Q2 revenue – Reuters

TEL AVIV, July 6 (Reuters) –

* Mazor Robotics, an Israeli maker of guidance systems for spine and brain surgeries, said on Thursday it expects to report record revenue of $15.4 million for the second quarter, up from $8.3 million a year earlier.

* During the second quarter, the company received 19 system orders, of which 16 were for the Mazor X system from U.S. customers. In addition, the company received orders for three Renaissance systems.

* “Our second quarter performance reflects the market’s enthusiasm for the Mazor X system and demand continues to grow,” said Ori Hadomi, Mazor’s chief executive officer.

* The company intends to report its financial results for the second quarter on Aug. 1. (Reporting by Tova Cohen)

* Has capital resources to fulfill ongoing commitments, obligations, to assume funding requirements between now and end of 2017 Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

* Yokogawa Electric’s group operating profit probably jumped 18% on year to around 6 billion yen in the April-June quarter – Nikkei

See the original post:

Israel’s Mazor Robotics sees record Q2 revenue – Reuters


...10...1819202122...3040...