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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Talking hospital robots in Norway

S:t Olavs hospital in Trondheim, Norway has hired seven talking robots for transportation of containers wiithin the hospital building. The autonomously moving robots ask people to move when blocking their way.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Motoman takes the lead with 2 hands

Yaskawa Motoman SDA-10

In an interview with John P. Desmond of Online Newsletter Robotic Trends Craig Jennings CEO of Motoman, one of the worlds´s leading industrial robots manufacturer with nearly 200.000 robots worldwide, explained the innovative idea with a two hand industrial robot.

Motorman is targeting a new market for manual labor-intensive operations. Human tasks such as handling, manipulation and assembling can now be automated with two hand robots. The price for a dual-arm 15 axes, 20 kg payload robot is about $110.000. That price makes it very competitive with the total cost of labor i China according to Jennings. The advantages with robots are also no risk of intellectual property theft, having full flexibility to meet varying production needs, being very responsive to production changes. New applications for two hand robots are drug discovery robotics, clinical lab robotics, alternative energy production, such as solar reflector panels, humanoid robotics, aerospace.

If Jennings is right a new wave of industrial entrepreneurship and robocraft could hit local markets and revitalize local production all over the world from Kiruna to Cape Town. With one two hand intelligent robot in every workshop local production may become competitive again as an alternative to centralized mass production in low labor cost countries with all its negative consequences for humans, nature and climat.

Why not develop a tree, four, five hand robot that can do thing we never dreamed about. There is room for smarter robots in the future, be sure! Multi hand robot - a markets signal worth watching!

Read: Motoman Expands Into Humanoid Robotics: A Conversation with Craig Jennings Industrial Automation Robotics Trends

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Who will win the game?

Robot intelligence vs. dog intelligence is the latest fight between technology and nature. Who will win the game?

Big robotic dog

This prototype of a 4-legged robot that can navigate rugged, complex and slippery terrain was developed by Boston Dynamics with help from Foster Miller, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Harvard University Concord Field Station. Development is funded by the DARPA Defense Sciences Office.
BigDog is the size of a large dog or small mule, measuring 1 meter/40” long, 0.7 meters/ 28” tall and 75 kg/ 165 pounds weight. The robot is powered by a gasoline engine driving a hydraulic actuation system; its legs are articulated like an animal’s, and have elements that absorb shock and recycle energy from one step to the next just as animals and humans do.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Dextre the two armed space robot

Dextre is the official name of the Special Purpose dexterous Manipulator (SPDM is said to be the most sophisticated robot ever sent into space. Unlike the rest of the crew, Dextre is making a one-way trip. The robot will become a permanent resident of the International Space Station, where it will assist or replace human astronauts on spacewalks to maintain the space station. Dextre has a sense of touch is capable of working on nearly 140 different parts of the station.

The robot can be teleoperated by the station's crew or by Earth-based controllers.that will be an essential tool for repairing and maintaining the International Space Station. It is designed to remove and replace smaller components on the Station exterior, where precise handling is required.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Korean robots will build skyscapers by 2010

By 2010, the Korean Construction and Transportation Ministry hopes to have an almost completely automated construction process in place for skyscaper projects that could cut labor costs by up to a third, project timelines by 15 percent, and reduce the number of construction-related injuries on these typically dangerous projects. This will boost overall productivity by 25 percent. The Ministry plans to inject $17 million (W16 billion) 2008-2011 to put these robotic builders to work.

Korea has developed the core technology for building high-rises without human workers and is going ahead with the process of applying the technology to nuts-and-bolts building projects. It will create a construction process almost totally automated, taking advantage of 12 high-tech patents including so-called "intelligent" cranes and the world's first bolt-tightening robots.
Industry insiders also expect this breakthrough to lower the number of accidents at job sites, address the labor shortage stemming from an aging society, and step up Korea's competitiveness in building super-sized structures.

Swedish Construction Robot lifts 14 tons

Swedish construction service group Skanska has developed a new construction robot for housing construction. Constructing a house on the ground independed of weather conditons and without scaffold and cranes is the innovative idea Skanska has tested in a full scale trial with its new construction robot that can lift 12 tons with millimeter precision. The robot assembles building elements and lifts heavy parts upp from the gound to next level. The advantages with this method are less time of construction, lower costs, easier planning and safer working environment. Video (in Swedish only).

Robot dogs can substitute live pets

Wolfgang Heller with his robot dog Aibo

A study by Saint Louis University found that a lovable pooch named Sparky and a robotic dog, AIBO, were about equally effective at relieving the loneliness of nursing home residents and fostering attachments. If humans can feel an emotional bond with robots, even fairly simple ones, some day they could not just be our assistants, but also our companions.

Friday, March 07, 2008

iCub robot learns baby talk

iCub will be the first robot in the world which will learn, think and talk like a human with help of specialists who research how parents teach children to speak. Over the next four years robotics experts in the European ITALK project will work with language development. The experiments with the iCub robot will include activities such as inserting objects of various shapes into the corresponding holes in a box, serialising nested cups and stacking wooden blocks.