Robot mission aborted inside Fukushima reactor

February 17, 2017

Tokyo Electric Power company has said that a ‘scorpion’ robot sent into a Japanese nuclear reactor to learn about the damage suffered in a tsunami-induced meltdown had its mission aborted after the probe ran into trouble. TEPCO, the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant, sent the remote-controlled device into the No. 2 reactor where radiation levels have recently hit record highs. The ‘scorpion’ robot, so-called because it can lift up its…


Who needs friends when you have a robot arm at your desk?

February 10, 2017

At work, a typical desktop consists of a dual monitor- if you’re luck a wireless keyboard and mouse – maybe a good sound system, the odd telephone maybe? Standard really. But do you know what can take your desk from 0-10 – a programmable robot arm that can pass you drinks and high-five you every morning to get you in the mood for work. The arm in question is the…


Eric, the UK’s first robot, gets an upgrade

February 7, 2017

Roboticist and artist Giles Walker has created a replica of Captain William Richards and Alan Herbet Reffell’s robot, which first debuted in the 1920s and helped to form early impressions of robots. Like his predecessor, the robot is able to stand, from an initial seated position; turn his head in the direction of onlookers; raise his arms, and talk. Eric’s public unveiling in 1928 saw the metal man rising from…


Boston Dynamics create a performing robot on wheels

February 3, 2017

A recent video that turned up on YouTube from Boston Dynamics is a genuine attention-grabber. This time the robot’s name is the Handle. Various tech sites reported the robot has not been officially announced by the company; the video was taken by someone attending the company presentation. Why has it grabbed so much attention? Well, for one, the presenter, Marc Raibert, founder of Google’s Boston Dynamics, jokingly said the audience…


2016 Breaks records for North American robot orders and shipments

The leading advocate in North America for safety and innovation in robotics, the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), has announced that in 2016 the North American robotics market broke all-time records for orders and shipments. During the year, 34,606 robots valued at approximately $1.9bn were ordered in North America, representing growth of 10 percent in units over 2015. The automotive industry experienced another strong year with orders growing 17%. Units shipped…

February 2, 2017

Ocado go bananas over their fruit-picking robot

February 1, 2017

British online grocery store Ocado has been on the hunt for a robot. It wants to even further automize its grocery process by getting a robot to pick and pack orders. So in coordination with the SoMa Project — a robotics project funded by the European Union — Ocado has been testing and developing possible solutions. The team’s been working on this project for 18 months, but today’s the first…


TI extends flight time and battery life of quadcopters and drones

January 18, 2017

Texas Instruments has introduced two circuit-based subsystem reference designs that will help manufacturers add flight time and extend battery life to quadcopters and other non-military consumer and industrial drones used to deliver packages, provide surveillance or communicate and assist at long distances. “Flight time continues to be a top design challenge for recreational quadcopters and professional drones, especially those being used by companies for beyond visual line-of-sight operation. Delivery companies want…


Robots to displace jobs, but more gradually than suggested

January 16, 2017

The march of automation will displace jobs more gradually than some alarming forecasts suggest. A measured pace is likely because what is technically possible is only one factor in determining how quickly new technology is adopted, according to a new study by the McKinsey Global Institute. Other crucial ingredients include economics, labor markets, regulations and social attitudes. The report, which was released Thursday, breaks jobs down by work tasks —…


A robot you can trust not to kill you

January 11, 2017

To demonstrate how a new force-sensing control scheme he designed was able to detect the contact and instantly stop the robot, Sami Haddadin once attached a knife to a robot manipulator and programmed it to impale his arm. Which it didn’t. Now Haddadin wants to make that same kind of safety feature, which has long been limited to highly sophisticated and expensive systems, affordable to anyone using robots around people. Sometime in…


Intelligent robot plays chess for fun

January 9, 2017

Developed by engineers in Taiwan, a robot can pour coffee and move chess pieces on a board against an opponent, but he’s looking for a real job. The robot developed by Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute, which spent the week playing games against opponents at the Consumer Electronics Show, was displaying what developers call an, “intelligent vision system.” which can see its environment and act with greater precision than its peers….