Robots 1011


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  • Volkswagen demonstrates “Temporary Auto Pilot” (w/ Video) At the final presentation of the EU research project HAVEit (Highly Automated Vehicles for Intelligent Transport), Prof. Dr. JürgenLeohold, Executive Director Volkswagen Group Research, is presenting the “Temporary Auto Pilot” by Volkswagen: Monitored by the driver, the car can drive semi-automatically up to a speed of 130 kilometres per hour on motorways. It represents a link between today’s assistance systems and the vision of fully automatic driving. The EU funded R&D project HAVEit (“Highly Automated Vehicles for Intelligent Transport”) was set up to develop research concepts and technologies for highly automated driving. This will help to reduce the drivers’ workload, prevent accidents, reduce environmental impact and make traffic safer
  • This modular, lightweight, carbon fiber reinforced plastic gripper is able to flexibly grasp and handle aircraft components. It was developed by the Fraunhofer Project Group Joining and Assembly FFM. (© Fraunhofer IFAM) Fraunhofer researchers have come up with a flexible assembly-line concept that features robots working in the same way they do in automotive production. The developers are presenting their new manufacturing approach at the Composites Europe trade fair in Stuttgart in Hall 4, Booth D03. One of this future assembly line’s first elements can also be seen there: a versatile component gripper made of lightweight CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced plastic).Aircraft parts are simply enormous. Individual fuselage segments alone can measure ten meters or more. But they need to be fitted together with the utmost precision. The maximum deviation from plan that aircraft manufacturers can tolerate is 0.2 millimeters – on components that weigh several metric tons. To position the giant parts accurately, manufacturers rely on massive production facilities known as assembly cells. These are huge gantries that move along the fuselage like container cranes on steel rails and massive concrete foundations, for instance bolting aluminum parts together. It takes a lot of money and effort to build this kind of assembly cell – and they need to be built from scratch for each new kind of aircraft, which pushes their production and construction costs even higher. Of course many of these concepts and much of the experience is applicable to space based large scale manufacturing.
  • Foxconn to use 1 million robots by 2014 to replace workers Foxconn is planning on replacing many of it’s hard-working human manufacturers with about 1 million robots, a number that, if you think about it, is a very telling comment on the current state of electronics manufacturing. Foxconn is the largest original equipment manufacture (OEM) electronics company in China and currently employs 1.2 million people along with implementing 10,000 robots.The company has established an automation robotics division and is hiring engineers to design and fix the robots.Experts said about 50 percent of the production process of electronic devices could be done by robots in the future.A total of 8879 robots valued at $577.8 million were ordered by North American companies in the first six months of the year. When orders from outside North America are added, the totals are 10,476 robots valued at $667.9 million. RIA estimates that some 205,000 robots are now used in the United States. More than one million industrial robots are used worldwide.Foxconn could double the current number industrial robots used worldwide by 2014 all by itself.
  • Telepresence Robots Seek Office WorkOffice bot: This telepresence robot, from Anybots, costs $15,000. Known as the QB, it has built-in obstacle avoidance that automatically prevents it from striking objects such as doorways. AnybotsBuilding on the trend toward remote work, two companies started shipping wheeled telepresence robots to customers this year, and other versions are launching soon. While prices are steep and sales tepid, some early adopters find that the robots offer advantages over technologies such as videoconferencing.Telepresence robots are wheeled machines steered by a person sitting at a remote computer; the bots take the person's place around the conference table or, say, on a facility inspection. They are equipped with cameras, microphones, screens, and speakers so the human controller can interact with real people. But using one of these robots is far harder than picking up a phone or using a video calling system. I tried one this year (see video below), to stand in for me at Technology Review's main office in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as I worked in San Francisco, and encountered a fairly steep learning curve. Piloting a robot, and contending with its sometimes poor hearing and limited vision, can make interacting with people a challenge.
  • Personal robotic transportation pods could be coming to ten cities in the United StatesAn ULTra PRT on a test track in Cardiff. Credit: ULTra PRT.Technology Review - ULTra PRT (ULtra "personal rapid transit") could soon be branching out beyond Heathrow airport. The company has proposed systems similar to that at Heathrow for 10 cities in the United States. The City of San Jose has already committed $4 million to a study evaluating whether the system makes sense for the region around San Jose Airport. Santa Cruz is interested in seeing whether a PRT system could alleviate the traffic jams that beleaguer Highway 1 on the weekend, when everyone heads to the beach. Cities from Ithaca, New York, to Raleigh, North Carolina, to Hillsboro, Oregon, might all see a PRT system in place, if ULTra PRT has its way.What ULTra PRT thinks it's offering is a solution to the "last-mile problem," a constant headache to urban planners. In many American cities, mass transit does a great job connecting the areas where people work to the areas where people live.(well, not really – Ed.) With one tiny caveat: it roughly connects those two areas. Maybe the rail will take you 95% of the way--and then leave the last mile or two up to you. And often, people individually choose to solve the problem of that last mile with something much less environmentally friendly--a ride in the car parked at the rail station garage, for instance. Some have proposed things like Zipcars and Segways as solutions to the problem--but others, according to a report in Good two years ago, think that personal rapid transit might be the way to go.
  • HAL exoskeleton will be used to carry 80 kg and carry a disabled touristA full-body model of HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb), being developed by Tsukuba University professor Yoshiyuki Sankai, assists both arms and legs, and allows users to carry a load of up to 70kg with one arm.Battery-powered HAL, which detects muscle impulses to anticipate and support the user's body movements, was originally designed to help the elderly with mobility and manual work and to assist hospital carers in lifting patients.The specially-designed exoskeleton suit will enable Uchida's (paralysed from his waist down) carrier (someone wearing the exoskeleton will carry the paralyzed man) to bear an 80kg load, whereas Uchida only weighs 45kg.
  • Lockheed Martin’s HULC Robotic Exoskeleton Enters Biomechanical TestingBiomechanical testing of the Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] ruggedized HULCTM exoskeleton is now underway at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center in Natick, Mass. The testing is expected to help shape future requirements for the HULC based on feedback from soldiers. Martin’s HULC is an un-tethered, battery powered, hydraulic-actuated anthropomorphic exoskeleton that provides users the ability to carry loads up to 200 pounds for up to 20 kilometers on a single battery charge over all terrains. HULC’s design allows for deep squats, crawls and upper-body lifting with minimal human exertion. An advanced onboard micro-computer ensures the exoskeleton moves in concert with the operator. HULC is an innovative solution that improves endurance and reduces the risk of injury to the soldier. 
  • Flocking robots take to the sky (w/ video)Researchers Sabine Hauert, Sebverin Leven and Dario Floreano have discovered a way to make small, fixed wing robots take to the sky and fly together without crashing and migrate. In order to accomplish this, the researchers needed to make the robots move at the same speed and direction, avoid collision and stay in close proximity. They will be presenting their work this week in San Francisco at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems.In order to accomplish this, the researchers used a three-dimensional algorithm developed by Craig Reynolds in 1986 where the individual robots responds to its close neighbor but does not consider the actions of the group as a whole.The robots were created by the robotics company senseFly and communicate with each other using a Wi-Fi dongle that is connected to an on-board Linux computer. They began with simple testing and have reached a total of 10 flocking birds at one time but simulations show they could use up to 100 flocking robots.In addition to programming the robots to fly at the same speed, stay close and not collide, the researchers also added something else. They added the ability to migrate. This allows the researchers to set a pre-programmed destination for the swarm to travel to.The intended use for these flocking robots is to image and map the ground as well as the potential to be used for search and surveillance missions.
  • Robots 1011

    1. 1. Robot News
    2. 2. Todays Topics• Robots are taking our jobs? – Aircraft assembly – Foxconn wants 1 million robots by 2014 – Telepresence robots – Hospital robots• Robots in transportation – Personal robotic pods – Temporary auto-pilot• Robot bodies and forms – HAL exoskeleton – HULC exoskeleton – Flocking robots – BULLDOG – Robotic fish
    3. 3. Aircraft assembly challenges
    4. 4. Foxconn to replace workers with robots• Biggest electronic assembly plant in Asia• Plans to replace up to 1.5 million workers with robots by 2014• Assemblers of iPad, iPhone and other Apple products• Many reports of harsh working continues – Reports of worker suicides (unrelated)
    5. 5. Telepresence Robots in Office
    6. 6. Robotic Transport Pods
    7. 7. HAL Exoskeleton
    8. 8. HULC Robotic Exoskeleton
    9. 9. Flocking Flying Robots