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The all-female robotics team in Afghanistan who made a cheap ventilator out of Toyota parts – The National

Five girls in Afghanistan, aged between 14 and 17, have joined the fight against the coronavirus, designing a cheap ventilator that runs off the motor of a Toyota Corolla.

The all-female robotics team, aptly named the Afghan Dreamers, has long been more accomplished than average teenagers.

Tech entrepreneur Roya Mahboob founded the trail-blazing programme in the Afghani city of Herat, selecting young girls from high schools across the country, usually aged 14 or 15, for the programme.

It was a passion project for Ms Mahboob, a serial entrepreneur who became one of Afghanistans first female chief executives at 23, established a non-profit organisation to help young women to build digital literacy, and has since been named one of Time Magazines 100 most influential people.

Participants are selected for the Dreamers based on their entrance exam for the 9th and 10th grades, and the very best of them then get to join the national team the Afghan Girls Robotics Team for international competitions. There are about 50 participants in the Dreamers, and they stay in the programme for about two years.

In 2017, the national team made international headlines when their US visas were rejected not long before they were due to travel to an international robotics competition in Washington, DC. After individual appeals to the US Embassy in Kabul failed, the group took to social media to air their grievances. The teams' plight received international attention, and led to US President Donald Trump intervening on their behalf.

The Afghan Girls Robotics Team returned from that competition with a silver medal for courageous achievement won by their ball-sorting robot, designed to distinguish between contaminated and clean water.

Upon their return home, the girls were not only heroes, but inspiration for women seeking higher education in Afghanistan, where about 40 per cent of women are literate.

In the years since, that robotics team has graduated, and another has come to the fore. But Ms Mahboob has remained, spearheading a movement to tackle inequality with education.

"The only thing that we all want to do is help our people and our community. We will do anything to help them," she tells The National.

"I work with the girls, but mostly to co-ordinate. They are the real heroes."

Ms Mahboob now splits her time between New York and Kabul. She is currently in Afghanistan, initially to oversee the Brite conference (Building Resilience through Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship) another brainchild of hers which is due to take place in Kabul this June.

Other teams in the Afghan Dreamers have been working on big projects too, after all. One team was developing a device to help farmers with saffron picking. Another was building drones and robots to work in the mining sector.

But with cities under increasing lockdown in the country and the conference postponed, Ms Mahboob has turned her attention to ventilators.

"We don't know what's going to happen here in two or there weeks so we want to be prepared," she says.

Cases of Covid-19 are accelerating in Afghanistan. The first was reported in Herat, the country's third most populous city, on February 24. That number has since increased to 337, with seven deaths. But authorities fear it could get much worse and with a compromised health system and an insufficient number of ventilators, the authorities face a race against the clock.

Which is why, when the governor of Herat put out a public plea for more ventilators, five young women answered the call.

This team consists of five Dreamers aged between 14 and 17; captain Somaya Faruqi, Dyana Wahbzadeh, Folernace Poya, Ellaham Mansori and Nahid Rahimi. Ms Mahboob has been working with them for about a year.

They are currently working with two prototypes. One is a gear-based system based on a design from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US. The other uses parts from a Toyota Corolla.

The key to this MIT ventilator alternative was devising a mechanical system to operate the hand-operated plastic pouch, or Ambu bag, which hospitals have on hand in large quantities. An Ambu bag is designed to be operated by hand, by squeezing the bag, which pumps air into a patient's lungs. The mechanic version would cost about $200 to make. A company from Texas has now offered to help provide advice for the design and to connect them with others who can help them bring the concept to fruition.

For the other ventilator, the Toyota Corolla motor was used as it runs off a battery and is easily sourced in the country. And it costs just $300 to make.

Both needed to be made with local materials, Ms Mahboob says. That proved a challenge for the girls, as did working with a gear-based device, rather than their usual technological or robotic designs.

"The idea of these machines is that we use them for emergency cases, when there are no professional ventilators. The thing in Afghanistan is, we don't have enough ventilators, but that's the case for many other countries, even Italy or New York.

"If we don't have access to anything professional we can use these ones."

As cities across the country shut down, working on the designs became increasingly challenging, Ms Mahboob says. The girls' parents were concerned about them being out of the house as the pandemic raged on, but they were usually able to work together for a couple of hours a day.

"It's very difficult for the girls to come together in one place. The shops are closed, so we have to call so many people to open the shop someone who knows someone, who can open the store to get that part."

The team was still fine-tuning both designs, and working with doctors to test them.

However, since a new governor of Herat took over a few days ago, Ms Mahboob doesn't know what the immediate future of her designs is. She hopes the new governor will look favourably on their work.

"We want to make sure that the government and the community are excited about technology," she says.

"There are other focuses for government money to be spent, but in order to compete and prosper in the 21st century, all countries must be able to access the highest technology that's transforming our world.

"If these girls have access to the opportunity or the tools, their lives can be changed. But not only their lives, they can change their community, too."

Updated: April 9, 2020 09:00 PM

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The all-female robotics team in Afghanistan who made a cheap ventilator out of Toyota parts - The National

Mobile robotics market expected to soar to $23 billion in 2021 – TechRepublic

Disinfectant and other use cases will also propel the small drone delivery market in the US to reach $414 million by 2021, and $10.4 billion by 2030, according to ABI Research.

The ability of mobile robotics to successfully disinfect, monitor, surveil, and handle and deliver materials will propel the market to $23 billion by 2021, according to ABI Research. "Crises shift perceptions on what is possible regarding investment and transformative action on the part of both private and government actors," said Rian Whitton, a senior analyst, in a statement. "By the time the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, robots will be mainstreamed across a range of applications and markets."

The coronavirus outbreak has been a good opportunity for companies to display robots for public applications, ABI Research said. One of the more popular examples has been the deployment of mobile unmanned platforms with ultraviolet (UV) light to disinfect facilities, the firm said. Danish company UVD Robots is reaping the benefits of this opportunity and is scaling up deployments of robots to disinfect hospitals, ABI Research said.

SEE: The finance robots are coming: 73% of organizations plan to replace humans with machines this year (TechRepublic)

Additionally, US-based Germ Falcon is offering a similar UV disinfection solution for aircraft, while Chinese TMiRob is deploying disinfection robots in Wuhan, according to the firm. "Automating disinfection is a key part of maintaining health and safety and could be one of the major bright spots in the response to COVID-19," Whitton said.

Drones have also been deployed to enforce curfews and surveil areas for security purposes, according to ABI Research. This represents a big opportunity for aerospace and drone companies to increase sales to government agencies, the firm said. ABI Research expects the small drone delivery market in the US to reach $414 million by 2021, and $10.4 billion by 2030.

In the short term, to enforce quarantine mandates, governments will need to increase their security apparatuses, as well as the productivity of their medical agencies, according to ABI Research. Robots will be key to achieving that through disinfection, monitoring, and surveillance, the firm said.

Furthermore, the shutting down of households and even ships represents a chance for robot delivery companies for both land and air to display their worth, the firm noted. The drone delivery market could take its experience with transporting supplies in the developing world and scale up operations in the most affected countries.

In the long-term, COVID-19 is leading to a significant reassessment of the global manufacturing supply chain, the firm believes. America's dependence on Chinese imports for basic equipment and medicines is becoming a contentious issue, and government representatives are already interpreting the crisis as a chance to revitalize the campaign to re-shore more manufacturing capacity to the domestic market, ABI Research said.

"If this translates into more significant measures by governments to diversify or re-shore the manufacturing of key goods, this could bode very well for the robotics industry, as such changes would require big increases in CAPEX and productivity improvements within developed countries," the firm stated.

COVID-19 represents a disaster for robotics vendors building solutions for developed markets in manufacturing, industry, and the supply chain, ABI Research said. But for vendors targeting markets closer to government, such as health, security, and defense, it represents a big opportunity, the firm said.

"Industrial players [should] develop customized solutions for non-manufacturing use cases or look to build comprehensive solutions for enabling a scale-up in medical supply manufacturing," Whitton recommended. "For mobile robotics vendors and software companies targeting more nascent markets, this represents a big chance to highlight the importance of robotics for dealing with national emergencies, as well as mitigating the economic shock."

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Mobile robotics market expected to soar to $23 billion in 2021 - TechRepublic

RISE Robotics Raises $3 Million in Additional Funding to Drive Forward the Electrification and Sustainability of Heavy Machinery – Business Wire

SOMERVILLE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--RISE Robotics, a leader in high-performance and cost effective electric linear actuation solutions, today announced it has raised $3 million in additional funding. The funding round was led by The Engine, the venture firm spun out of MIT that invests in early-stage Tough Tech companies that are solving the worlds most urgent problems, such as climate change, through the convergence of breakthrough science, engineering, and leadership.

RISE Robotics technology disrupts how linear actuators are engineered and makes the shift from diesel to electric systems possible, cost-effective, and environmentally responsible. Linear actuators create the push-and-pull movements in the mechanisms of heavy machinery which are essential for lifting and loading materials across many industries, including: construction, agriculture, and waste management. Without linear actuators excavators couldnt dig, garbage trucks couldnt crush, and forklifts couldnt lift.

The majority of heavy machines today rely on hydraulic systems, powered by diesel, to enable motion. It is the most essential, but also the most wasteful component in the overall motion system, producing an estimated 55 million tons of CO2 annually in the U.S. alone according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. As OEMs are forced to adapt their products to comply with imminent emissions regulations, the industry has struggled with the slow pace of innovation and high cost of using electricity as a power source for heavy machinery.

Hybrid and electric retrofits to existing hydraulic systems are more expensive than the existing diesel systems and are much harder to control. Hydraulics are slowing and literally weighing down the adoption of electrically powered heavy machines, said Arron Acosta, CEO and Co-founder of RISE Robotics. The RISE platform offers a completely new mechanical motion technology that makes electric-powered motor-to-movement solutions possible. Its a game changer for any manufacturer trying to electrify its heavy machinery.

The additional funding will support RISE Robotics work with a leading forklift manufacturer to accelerate the electrification of its machinery, increasing the performance of the manufacturers existing electric forklifts and enabling the electrification of its larger scale machinery, which is currently diesel-fueled.

Reed Sturtevant, a General Partner of The Engine, and angel investor Walter A. Winshall will join RISE Robotics Board of Directors.

It takes a lot to make a machine move. Displacing hydraulics is just the first application of RISE Robotics IP for improving motion and electrifying heavy machinery. Their research, approach and systems will be crucial in evolving how other key mechanical components work, but most importantly these innovations to the fundamentals of how machinery moves will lead the industry toward not just compliance with emissions standards but helping heavy machinery become an oil-free, zero emissions industry in the future, said Sturtevant.

RISE Robotics' co-founders Arron Acosta and Blake Sessions met while at MIT and formed the company with Toomas Sepp and Kyle DellAquila. The company was part of the Techstars accelerator and has received angel funding from notable Boston investors and advisors including John P. Strauss, William J. Warner, and Walter A. Winshall. RISE Robotics has two commercial agreements, one with a major manufacturer of lifting machinery, and another with the U.S. Air Force.

ABOUT RISE ROBOTICS

RISE Robotics is the leader in high-performance and cost effective electric linear actuation solutions. RISE helps designers embrace high-efficiency, fuel saving actuation solutions that compete with hydraulic cylinders. Designed for medium and heavy duty applications, the RISE Cylinder provides fuel and emissions reductions, improves productivity and extends machine life. Find RISE online: https://www.riserobotics.com/

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RISE Robotics Raises $3 Million in Additional Funding to Drive Forward the Electrification and Sustainability of Heavy Machinery - Business Wire

Robots Welcome to Take Over, as Pandemic Accelerates Automation – The New York Times

The recycling industry was already struggling before the pandemic. Now, an increasing number of cities are suspending recycling services, partly out of fear that workers might contract the coronavirus from one another while sorting through used water bottles, food containers and boxes.

One solution: Let robots do the job.

Since the coronavirus took hold in the United States last month, AMP Robotics has seen a significant increase in orders for its robots that use artificial intelligence to sift through recycled material, weeding out trash.

Some facilities that were looking at getting one or two robots are now saying, We need quite a bit more, said the Colorado companys chief executive, Matanya Horowitz. Its all moving quite fast.

Before the pandemic, automation had been gradually replacing human work in a range of jobs, from call centers to warehouses and grocery stores, as companies looked to cut labor costs and improve profit.

But labor and robotics experts say social-distancing directives, which are likely to continue in some form after the crisis subsides, could prompt more industries to accelerate their use of automation. And long-simmering worries about job losses or a broad unease about having machines control vital aspects of daily life could dissipate as society sees the benefits of restructuring workplaces in ways that minimize close human contact.

Pre-pandemic, people might have thought we were automating too much, said Richard Pak, a professor at Clemson University who researches the psychological factors around automation. This event is going to push people to think what more should be automated.

The grocery industry is leaning more on automation to free up employees to deal with the crush of demand during the pandemic.

Brain Corp, a San Diego company that makes software used in automated floor cleaners, said retailers were using the cleaners 13 percent more than they were just two months ago. The autonomous floor care robots are doing about 8,000 hours of daily work that otherwise would have been done by an essential worker, the company said.

At supermarkets like Giant Eagle, robots are freeing up employees who previously spent time taking inventory to focus on disinfecting and sanitizing surfaces and processing deliveries to keep shelves stocked.

Retailers insist the robots are augmenting the work of employees, not replacing them. But as the panic buying ebbs and sales decline in the recession that is expected to follow, companies that reassigned workers during the crisis may no longer have a need for them.

The role of a cashier is also changing. For many years, retailers have provided self-checkout kiosks. But those machines often require intervention by workers to help shoppers navigate the often fickle and frustrating technology.

The pandemic is prompting some stores to adopt even more aggressive contactless options. From farm stands to butchers, merchants are asking customers whenever possible to use mobile payment services like PayPal or Venmo. Banking regulators in Europe last week increased the amount of money that shoppers can pay through their mobile devices, while reducing some authentication requirements.

While fully automated stores, such as Amazon Go, might have seemed like a technological curiosity a few months ago, they are likely to become a more viable option for retailers.

No one would probably have thought of a cashiers job as being dangerous until now, Mr. Pak said.

Mark Muro, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who studies labor markets, said that with companies hurting for cash, the pressure to replace humans with machines becomes even more intense.

People become more expensive as companies revenues decline, he said.

A new wave of automation could also mean that when companies start hiring again, they do so in smaller numbers.

This may be one of those situations when automation does substantially depress rehiring, Mr. Muro said. You may see fewer workers when the recovery does come.

Even some conversations are being automated away. With closed offices keeping many of its workers away, PayPal has turned to chatbots, using them for a record 65 percent of message-based customer inquiries in recent weeks.

PayPal is also using automated translation services so its English-speaking representatives can help customers who dont speak English.

The resources we are able to deploy through A.I. are allowing us to be more flexible with our staff and prioritize their safety and well-being, PayPal said in a statement.

YouTube said in a blog post that with fewer people in its offices around the world, machines are doing more content moderation.

We will temporarily start relying more on technology to help with some of the work normally done by reviewers, the company said. This means automated systems will start removing some content without human review.

Recycling is one industry that may be altered permanently by the pandemic. Some workers, who earn as little as $10 an hour, have been concerned about coming to work during the crisis and some cities have been scrambling to find enough protective gear for all of their employees. Federal health officials have assured them that the risks of transmission from household refuse is low. But workers in recycling facilities often work side by side sorting material, making social distancing difficult.

At AMP Robotics, executives like Mr. Horowitz say their robots will enable recycling facilities to space out their employees, who stand at conveyor belts weeding through the used plastic and paper.

Another benefit of the bots: They cant get the virus, Mr. Horowitz said.

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Robots Welcome to Take Over, as Pandemic Accelerates Automation - The New York Times

Robots Are Here to Make Your Job Safer and Cleaner – Competitive Enterprise Institute

Human beings have long worried about new machinery, computers, and robots displacing human workers and causing economic hardship, with recent one recent poll finding that 76% of Americans believe that inequality between the rich and the poor would increase if robots and computers perform most of the jobs currently being done by humans. The skyrocketing unemployment figures related to the current coronaviruspandemic arent doing much these days to reassure people about their long-term employment future, either. But the risks being highlighted by Covid-19 should actually lead us to appreciate the great potential automated workplace technology has for making our lives better, safer, and healthier.

In todays New York Times, Michael Corkery and David Gelles report on trends in automation that will end up shielding human workers from jobs and job tasks that could increase their health risks. AMP Robotics, for example, is producing trash-sorting robots that can separate recyclable material like used food containers, freeing up human workers for duties that are less likely to carry a risk of infection. Many other industries are moving ahead with automated machines and software that will reduce safety risks from work that has to be done high above the ground, in tightly enclosed spaces, or surrounded by unsafe air.

Replacing one or more workers with a new automated system also doesnt mean that those workers are going to remain (or even become) unemployed. Theres a constant churn of jobs in a large economy, and a large company that saves money on labor costs in one area may well re-deploy employees to other tasks. Any job is really a bundle of job duties, and some of those duties are more valuable, and more amenable to automation, than others. Robot tech is overwhelmingly taking over the duties that are the most repetitive, dangerous, and dirty, leaving him workers with job options that are more creative, safe, and clean.

Former NPR Planet Money host Adam Davidson writes in his recent book The Passion Economy about automation of something that we usually dont think of as a robot-ready taskbeing a good manager. He studied how the salad chain Sweetgreen trained and recruited their workforce, and found out that they were using a sophisticated software program to help nudge and guide their store managers. By dispensing encouragement and extending training and advancement opportunities more strategically, the company is able to keep their frontline employees happier, better identify prospects for advancement, and make each location more profitable. Their software didnt replace managers, but it provided a valuable tool for leveraging their existing abilities, like giving a warehouse worker a pneumatic lifting suit.

Positive stories about win-win results from the march of automation are everywhere in our economy, but they dont get publicized and repeated often enough. The workers who are told they should be the most worried about their jobs being stolen by robots are, in fact, the ones who will likely benefit the most from future jobs that will be safer and more pleasant. We just need our political leaders not to stop this progress with bad policies.

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Robots Are Here to Make Your Job Safer and Cleaner - Competitive Enterprise Institute

The intelligent soft robotics market is anticipated to grow at a robust CAGR of 37% on the basis of capacity during the forecast period from 2019 to…

NEW YORK, April 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --

Global Intelligent Soft Robotics Market to Reach $2.16 Billion by 2024

Key Questions Answered in this Report:

Read the full report: https://www.reportlinker.com/p05881512/?utm_source=PRN

Why should an investor consider venturing into the intelligent soft robotics market, and what are the future growth opportunities? For a new company looking to enter into the market, which areas could it focus upon to stay ahead of the competition? How do the existing market players function to improve their market positioning? How does the supply chain function in the intelligent soft robotics market? Which companies have been actively involved in innovation through patent applications, and which products have witnessed maximum patent applications during the period 2016-2019? Which product and technology segments are expected to witness the maximum demand growth in the intelligent soft robotics market during 2019-2024, and how is their growth pattern across different regions and countries? Which are the key application areas in the intelligent soft robotics market? Which regions and countries are leading in terms of having robotic setups, and which of them are expected to witness high demand growth during 2019-2024?

Global Intelligent Soft Robotics Market Forecast, 2019-2024

The global intelligent soft robotics market analyzed is expected to showcase healthy growth.The intelligent soft robotics market is anticipated to grow at a robust CAGR of 37% on the basis of capacity during the forecast period from 2019 to 2024.

The demand for intelligent soft robotic solutions has massively grown in the past years.High environmental concerns have resulted in the transformation of various industries and led to innovation of multiple technologies that enable the usage of renewable sources of energy.

Intelligent soft robotics addresses the ongoing issue of handling delicate objects that able to present an extensive amount of opportunities to revolutionize the working principle of different end-user industry such as food & beverage, logistics, space, defense and healthcare.

The intelligent soft robotics market is currently in its upscaling phase.The concept of soft robotics has been gaining traction owing to the rising need for automation.

However, even though the technology is theoretically much researched and studied, the practical operation is still upscaling and has not reached the stage of full-fledged commercialization.Most of the intelligent soft robotics are being operated on a pilot basis with the help of government funding and subsidies.

Currently, the establishment of intelligent soft robotic manufacturing is expensive, but with the materialization of learning curves, the high capital cost is anticipated to decline.

Expert Quote

"Rising demand for logistics in the e-commerce industry for the order fulfilment is one of the primary drivers for the adoption of robotics. E-commerce players such as Amazon Inc. (U.S.), and Walmart (U.S.) have substantial opportunities to adopt intelligent soft robotics in their warehouses. Moreover, the adoption of robots in the food industry has been significantly growing over the years in every step of food processing for enhanced operational efficiency. Other industries such as defense and healthcare are among the early adopters of intelligent soft robots boosting the growth of the intelligent soft robotics market."

Scope of the Intelligent Soft Robotics Market

The Intelligent Soft Robotics Market provides detailed market information for segmentation such as type, end user, component, mobility, and region. The purpose of this market analysis is to examine intelligent soft robotics in terms of factors driving the market, trends, technological developments, and competitive benchmarking, among others.

The report further takes into consideration the market dynamics and the competitive landscape, along with the detailed financial and product contribution of the key players operating in the market. While highlighting the key driving and restraining forces for this market, the report also provides a detailed study of the industry that has been analyzed.

The intelligent soft robotics market is segregated by region under four major segments, namely North America, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and Rest-of-the-World.

Key Companies in the Intelligent Soft Robotics Market

The key market players in the Intelligent Soft Robotics Market include Cyberdyne Inc. (Japan), Ekso Bionics Holdings Inc. (U.S.), Empire Robotics, Inc. (U.S.), F&P Personal Robotics (Switzerland), FANUC Corporation (Japan), Franka Emika GmbH (Germany), GLI Technology Limited (China) and Soft Robotics, Inc. (U.S.), among others.

Countries Covered North America U.S. Canada Europe Germany U.K. Switzerland Italy Sweden Rest-of-Europe Asia-Pacific China Japan South Korea India Rest-of-Asia-Pacific Rest-of-the-World Middle East and Africa Latin America

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NVIDIA : Robotics Duo Digs Into the Weeds with Winning AI Project at Hacketer.io – Marketscreener.com

Kevin Patel and Nihar Chaniyara grew up among rural India's herbicide-treated crops of corn, sugarcane and mangos. Today they cultivate organics with data, vision models and GPUs.

Twenty-somethings from farming families, they developed Nindamani, an AI-driven, weed-removal robot prototype that took top honors at the recent AI at the Edge Challenge on Hackster.io.

Hackster.io is an online community of developers, engineers and hobbyists that drew more than 2,500 registrants and 80 submissions from 35 countries for the NVIDIA-supported contest.

The students from sun-kissed Gandhinagar - in India's western Gujarat Province - are among 10 winners in the competition that called on participants to use the Jetson Nano Developer Kit.

Clever engineers, Patel and Chaniyara designed multiple iterations of their mechanical weeding arm for metal fabrication. For its brains, they trained Mask R-CNN using cloud GPUs to distinguish weeds from plants. Mask R-CNN is a deep neural network that separates different objects in images or videos. Jetson Nano does inference.

Late nights of work paid off. The Nindamani project landed first place in the autonomous machines and robotics category.

'About 90 percent of my relatives are in the farming sector, so you can understand how I'm relating to this problem,' Patel said.

Their home region produces rice, cotton, potatoes, cauliflower and other staples. Yet farmers there - like elsewhere - face labor shortages and herbicide concerns.

Patel and Chaniyara surveyed more than 8,000 farmers in and around the area for input on the problems and the kind of solutions they need.

'They need this kind of AI and some kind of robotic automation technology so they can solve the labor problem and the chemical spraying,' said Patel. 'This can also help yield and profit.'

The Nindamani prototype joins a wave of so-called swarm farming efforts in robotics to harvest AI for efficiency and sustainability. For India's vast farms that feed nearly 1.4 billion people, advances in agriculture technology matter.

Swarm farming robots are designed to tackle tasks with a 'swarm' of multitasking robots - sprayer, weeder, seeder, harvester, hauler - as modular machines. They're developed to stay busier than traditional single-purpose tractors, consume less energy and cost less.

Nindamani is in its early days as a prototype, but the idea is to also lower the costs of machinery for farmers who might otherwise turn to herbicides.

'Weeding is very tedious work, and that is where the automation and the robotics come in,' said Chaniyara.

Disclaimer

Nvidia Corporation published this content on 10 April 2020 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 10 April 2020 18:07:06 UTC

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NVIDIA : Robotics Duo Digs Into the Weeds with Winning AI Project at Hacketer.io - Marketscreener.com

Much-maligned robots may become heroes in war on coronavirus – The Japan Times

San Francisco Long maligned as job-stealers and aspiring overlords, robots are being increasingly relied on as fast, efficient, contagion-proof champions in the war against the deadly coronavirus.

One team of robots temporarily cared for patients in a makeshift hospital in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the COVID-19 outbreak began.

Meals were served, temperatures taken and communications handled by machines, one of them named Cloud Ginger by its maker CloudMinds, which has operations in Beijing and California.

It provided useful information, conversational engagement, entertainment with dancing, and even led patients through stretching exercises, CloudMinds president Karl Zhao said of the humanoid robot.

The smart field hospital was completely run by robots.

A small medical team remotely controlled the field hospital robots. Patients wore wristbands that gathered blood pressure and other vital data.

The smart clinic only handled patients for a few days, but it foreshadowed a future in which robots tend to patients with contagious diseases while health care workers manage from safe distances.

Patients in hospitals in Thailand, Israel and elsewhere meet with robots for consultations done by doctors via videoconference. Some consultation robots even tend to the classic checkup task of listening to patients lungs as they breathe.

Alexandra Hospital in Singapore will use a robot called BeamPro to deliver medicine and meals to patients diagnosed with COVID-19 or those suspected to be infected with the virus in its isolation wards.

Doctors and nurses can control the robot by using a computer from outside the room, and can hold conversations with the patient via the screen and camera.

The robot reduces the number of touch points with patients who are isolated, thereby reducing risk for healthcare workers, the hospitals health innovation director Alexander Yip told local news channel CNA.

Robotic machines can also be sent to scan for the presence of the virus, such as when the Diamond Princess cruise ship cabins were checked for safety weeks after infected passengers were evacuated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Additionally, hospitals are turning to robots to tirelessly rid room, halls and door handles of viruses and bacteria.

U.S. firm Xenex has seen a surge in demand for its robots that disinfect rooms, according to director of media relations Melinda Hart.

Xenexs LightStrike robots have been used in more than 500 healthcare facilities, with the number of deployed bots rising due to the pandemic, Hart said.

We are getting requests from around the world, Hart said.

In addition to hospitals, were being contacted by urgent care centers, hotels, government agencies and pharmaceutical companies to disinfect rooms.

Shark Robotics in France began testing a decontamination unit about a month ago and has already started getting orders, according to co-founder Cyril Kabbara.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused robotics innovation to accelerate, according to Lesley Rohrbaugh, the director of research for the US Consumer Technology Association.

We are in a time of need for some of this technology, so it seems like benefits outweigh costs, Rohrbaugh said.

Artificial intelligence, sensors and other capabilities built into robots can push up prices, as can the need to bolster high-speed internet connections on which machines often rely, according to Rohrbaugh.

Innovations on the horizon include using drones equipped with sensors and cameras to scan crowds for signs of people showing symptoms of coronavirus infection.

A team at the University of South Australia is working on just that, in collaboration with Canadian drone-maker Draganfly.

The use will be to identify the possible presence of the virus by observing humans, said university professor Javaan Singh Chahl.

It might form part of an early warning system or to establish statistically how many people are afflicted in a population.

His team is working on computer algorithms that can spot sneezing or coughing, say in an airport terminal, and remotely measure peoples pulses and temperatures.

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Much-maligned robots may become heroes in war on coronavirus - The Japan Times

Review: Neato Robotic’s Botvac D7 is the Robot Vacuum I’ve Always Wanted – The Mac Observer

Neato Robotics sent me the Botvac D7 robot vacuum and I really enjoy it. Ive never had a robot vacuum before so I cant compare it to other products, but if youve specifically looked at the D7 before, I recommend it.

This is Neatos top-of-the-line model. This also means top-of-the-line pricing. At US$829.99 it doesnt come cheap, but Neato also has cheaper models like the US$399.99 Neato D3. Of course, lower pricing means less battery life and fewer features, so you get your moneys worth.

The main thing that impresses me about the D7 is how smart it is. You dont have to do much besides emptying the dustbin and making sure there are no cords to get stuck on. Every time it starts, it turns around to note the location of its charger. It then methodically travels around your house, vacuuming everywhere it can reach.

If it runs out of battery, which lasts up to two hours, it drives back to the charger, and once it has a full battery again its smart enough to finish exactly where it was cleaning.It uses laser navigation, which Ive learned is better than other robot vacuums that use infrared cameras.

Speaking of cameras, if youve read my articles regularly, youll know Im privacy-conscious. I was satisfied by Neatos privacy policy, and it doesnt sound like the company wants to share indoor maps of your house like iRobot did. And the fact that the D7 doesnt have cameras puts my mind at ease.

Additionally, you donthave to connect it to Wi-Fi, either. You wont be able to use the app for advanced features, but theres still a physical button on the robot vacuum to turn it on, reset it, and choose the cleaning mode. But as I noted above, even if hackers took control of it in a worse-case scenario, there are no cameras to spy on you anyway.

Something else I liked was that the robot came fully assembled with two spare filters. All I had to do was set it up with Neatos app and let it charge. The package also comes with a physical No-Go Line. Its a flat, magnetic strip you can tape on the floor. Use it if theres an area of your house that you dont want the robot vacuum to enter. You can use the app to create multiple, virtual No-Go Lines as well.

Neatos app is simple and intuitive to use. You can install it on your iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch to start, pause, or stop cleaning from afar, plus get notifications about the robots status. The app shows you a map of your home that the D7 created, and it supports multiple floor plans for homes with more than one story. You can zoom in, use spot cleaning so it will clean certain areas of the house, manage the cleaning profile, and set a cleaning schedule. You can manually drive the robot, too.

There are two cleaning modes in the profile. Eco is a lighter, quieter cleaning run and Turbo is a louder, more powerful mode with maximum suction. Theres also a toggle called Extra Care, so it will take extra care when navigating around your home.All of Neatos robots are in the shape of a D; in other words it looks like a standard manual vacuum. The advantage it has over round robots is the ability to clean corners.

The most recent app update added support for Siri Shortcuts. Its cool to be able to use voice commands to tell the robot to start cleaning, pause cleaning, or send it back to the charger. If you have the D7 model, you can use voice commands to clean zones, a.k.a. certain areas of your house.

As you can see, Im quire pleased with my robot vacuum. I decided that hes a boy and his name is Archie. I did curse at him a couple of times (No dont run over my toes you $%&#@!). But otherwise he works great and cleans well. The D7 can handle most any surface, and if it gets stuck it will just shut down. Pick him up, nudge him a couple of times, and he will resume cleaning as if nothing happened.

Company: Neato Robotics

List Price: $829.99

We Like It. You Should Get It.

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Review: Neato Robotic's Botvac D7 is the Robot Vacuum I've Always Wanted - The Mac Observer

Will Americans Warm Up To Robots In Place Of Workers Amid Threat Of Being Exposed To Virus? – Kaiser Health News

Before the pandemic, automation had been gradually replacing human work in a range of jobs, but the pandemic could speed up that process as society sees the benefits of restructuring workplaces in ways that minimize close human contact. In other health and technology news: Alexa's role in the pandemic, telemedicine use, and security concerns.

The New York Times:Robots Welcome To Take Over, As Pandemic Accelerates AutomationThe recycling industry was already struggling before the pandemic. Now, an increasing number of cities are suspending recycling services, partly out of fear that workers might contract the coronavirus from one another while sorting through used water bottles, food containers and boxes. One solution: Let robots do the job. Since the coronavirus took hold in the United States last month, AMP Robotics has seen a significant increase in orders for its robots that use artificial intelligence to sift through recycled material, weeding out trash. (Corkery and Gelles, 4/10)

The New York Times:How Do I Get Help? Dying Coronavirus Patient Asked AlexaThey lived about 20 minutes apart in Michigan, but when a cousin gave the sisters Lou Ann Dagen and Penny Dagen each an Amazon Echo Show last year to make video calls, they would keep each other company for hours on end. The virtual assistant Alexa connected them during meals and discussions about what was on television. I think she just wanted to know that I was there, Penny Dagen, 74, said of her sister, who lived in a nursing home. (Vigdor, 4/9)

Mass INC Polling Group:Telemedicine Use Has Nearly Tripled Among Mass. Residents, Poll ShowsAs Massachusetts approaches a projected surge of COVID-19 cases, residents remain keenly aware of a widespread shortage of tests and protective medical gear. But as the health care system seizes under the weight of coronavirus, one sector of it is growing by leaps and bounds: telemedicine. A rapidly growing share of residents are "seeing" their doctors over the phone or computer, according to data from the latest MassINC/Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts coronavirus tracking poll. (Duggan, 4/9)

WBUR:Psychiatrists Lean Hard On Teletherapy To Reach Isolated Patients In Emotional PainPsychiatrist Philip Muskin is quarantined at home in New York City because he's been feeling a little under the weather and doesn't want to expose anyone to whatever he has. But he continues to see his patients the only way he can: over the phone. (Noguchi, 4/9)

KQED:Security Concerns Prompt Berkeley Unified To Suspend Use Of Zoom For ClassesAround the country, fear over organized Zoombombing campaigns have prompted school leaders to drop Zoom, while others have switched to alternative platforms. School meeting disruptions and reports of racist and pornographic imagery being shown to young children led the FBI to warn schools about using Zoom, and law enforcement agencies have said they'll take on Zoombombers. (Rancao, 4/9)

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Will Americans Warm Up To Robots In Place Of Workers Amid Threat Of Being Exposed To Virus? - Kaiser Health News

Universal Robots Launches ActiNav, the World’s First Autonomous Bin Picking Kit for Machine Tending Applications – AiThority

ActiNav From Universal Robots (URF) Is a New Ur+ Application Kit for Companies of All Sizes That Simplifies the Integration of Autonomous Bin Picking of Parts and Accurate Placement in Machines Using UR Cobots. ActiNav Synchronously Handles Vision Processing, Collision-Free Motion Planning and Autonomous Real-Time Robot Control, Eliminating the Complexity and Risk Usually Associated With Bin Picking Applications.

The complexity of automated bin picking is well-known throughout the industry, requiring huge efforts in both integration and programming. Today, most bin picking products are solely focused on the vision aspect of bin picking and often require hundreds of lines of additional programming to bridge the gap from pick to place especially if the place is not just dropping into a box or tote but accurately inserting the part into a fixture for further processing. ActiNav Autonomous Bin Pickingchanges all that, allowing manufacturers with limited or no bin picking deployment expertise to quickly achieve high machine uptime and accurate part placement with few operator interventions.

ActiNav combines real-time autonomous motion control, collaborative robotics, vision and sensor systems in one easy to use, fast to deploy and cost-effective kit. The system requires no vision or robotic programming expertise, but is instead based on a teach-by-demonstration principle using a six-step, wizard-guided setup process integrated into the UR cobot teach pendant. ActiNav can be easily and quickly deployed by manufacturers in-house automation teams or through assistance from a Universal Robots distributor or integrator to deliver increased productivity, quality and efficiency.

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Machine tending has always been one of the mainstay applications for our collaborative robot arms, says VP of Product and Applications Management atUniversal Robots, Jim Lawton. We discovered a significant market need for a simple solution that enables UR cobots to autonomously locate and pick parts out of deep bins and place them precisely into a machine. This is not pick and drop; this is accurate pick and part-oriented placement.

ActiNav isavailablethrough URs distribution channel and via the newUR+ Application Kits platform, an expansion of the cobot pioneers successful UR+ ecosystem of components certified to work seamlessly with UR cobots. Like other UR+ application kits, ActiNav is developed with in-depth application knowledge that eliminates the duplication of engineering efforts when deploying widely used applications. ActiNav works with URs UR5e and UR10e e-Series cobots, a UR+ component or user-defined end effector, and application-specific frame or fixture as needed. The kit includes the Autonomous Motion Module (AMM) and ActiNav URCap user interface software, along with a choice of 3D sensors.

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While there is a variety of approaches to automating machine tending stations, many of which include implementing trays, bowl feeders or conveyors to get the parts to the machine, Lawton explains how ActiNav bypasses this step. Parts are often already in bins, so the most flexible and scalable option is to deliver that bin of parts to the machine and then pick them directly from the bin and place them into the machine, he says. This minimizes floor space and reduces the need for part-specific tooling.

ActiNav autonomously inserts parts into CNC or processing machines such as drilling, deburring, welding, trimming or tapping. The high-resolution 3D sensor and CAD matching enables high-accuracy picks powered by ActiNavs Autonomous Motion Module (AMM) that determines how to pick the part, then controls the robot to pick the part and place it in a fixture each time. The autonomous motion control enables ActiNav to operate inside deep bins that hold more parts; something that standalone bin picking vision systems struggle to accomplish.

IDCs Research Director covering robotics, Remy Glaisner, is closely following the market for automated machine tending solutions. Today more than ever, technology users are looking to preserve the integrity and continuity of business operations, he says. In that context, simplifying the integration or redeployment of highly flexible robotic systems becomes a critical capability for manufacturers and other industrial users.In many ways, ActiNav will set a new level of operational expectations regarding the future of intelligent systems.

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Universal Robots Launches ActiNav, the World's First Autonomous Bin Picking Kit for Machine Tending Applications - AiThority

Robots may become heroes in war on coronavirus – Raw Story

Long maligned as job-stealers and aspiring overlords, robots are being increasingly relied on as fast, efficient, contagion-proof champions in the war against the deadly coronavirus.

One team of robots temporarily cared for patients in a makeshift hospital in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the COVID-19 outbreak began.

Meals were served, temperatures taken and communications handled by machines, one of them named Cloud Ginger by its maker CloudMinds, which has operations in Beijing and California.

It provided useful information, conversational engagement, entertainment with dancing, and even led patients through stretching exercises, CloudMinds president Karl Zhao said of the humanoid robot.

The smart field hospital was completely run by robots.

A small medical team remotely controlled the field hospital robots. Patients wore wristbands that gathered blood pressure and other vital data.

The smart clinic only handled patients for a few days, but it foreshadowed a future in which robots tend to patients with contagious diseases while health care workers manage from safe distances.

Checkup and check out

Patients in hospitals in Thailand, Israel and elsewhere meet with robots for consultations done by doctors via video conference. Some consultation robots even tend to the classic checkup task of listening to patients lungs as they breathe.

Alexandra Hospital in Singapore will use a robot called BeamPro to deliver medicine and meals to patients diagnosed with COVID-19 or those suspected to be infected with the virus in its isolation wards.

Doctors and nurses can control the robot by using a computer from outside the room, and can hold conversations with the patient via the screen and camera.

The robot reduces the number of touch points with patients who are isolated, thereby reducing risk for healthcare workers, the hospitals health innovation director Alexander Yip told local news channel CNA.

Robotic machines can also be sent to scan for the presence of the virus, such as when the Diamond Princess cruise ship cabins were checked for safety weeks after infected passengers were evacuated, according to the US Centers for Disease Control.

Additionally, hospitals are turning to robots to tirelessly rid room, halls and door handles of viruses and bacteria.

US firm Xenex has seen a surge in demand for its robots that disinfect rooms, according to director of media relations Melinda Hart.

Xenexs LightStrike robots have been used in more than 500 healthcare facilities, with the number of deployed bots rising due to the pandemic, Hart said.

We are getting requests from around the world, Hart said.

In addition to hospitals, were being contacted by urgent care centers, hotels, government agencies and pharmaceutical companies to disinfect rooms.

Shark Robotics in France began testing a decontamination unit about a month ago and has already started getting orders, according to co-founder Cyril Kabbara.

Worth the price?

The coronavirus pandemic has caused robotics innovation to accelerate, according to Lesley Rohrbaugh, the director of research for the US Consumer Technology Association.

We are in a time of need for some of this technology, so it seems like benefits outweigh costs, Rohrbaugh said.

Artificial intelligence, sensors and other capabilities built into robots can push up prices, as can the need to bolster high-speed internet connections on which machines often rely, according to Rohrbaugh.

Innovations on the horizon include using drones equipped with sensors and cameras to scan crowds for signs of people showing symptoms of coronavirus infection.

A team at the University of South Australia is working on just that, in collaboration with Canadian drone maker Draganfly.

The use will be to identify the possible presence of the virus by observing humans, said university professor Javaan Singh Chahl.

It might form part of an early warning system or to establish statistically how many people are afflicted in a population.

His team is working on computer algorithms that can spot sneezing or coughing, say in an airport terminal, and remotely measure peoples pulses and temperatures.

2020 AFP

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Raw Story is independent. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.

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Robots may become heroes in war on coronavirus - Raw Story

Robotics – Wikipedia

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

Design, construction, operation, and application of robots

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Current and potential applications include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Control systems may also have varying levels of autonomy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Robotics - Wikipedia

What Is Robotics? Types Of Robots | Built In

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What Is Robotics? Types Of Robots | Built In

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

Abstract

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And those students ran with the idea.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Unified Sports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more:

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

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

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

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

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

They are both year nine students from Mount Maunganui College.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continued here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See more here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Originally posted here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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