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by   -   December 18, 2013

Let me admit up front that I’m not the best person to be covering a robotics competition. In fact this is only the second one I’ve attended; the first, Sparkfun’s AVC, is a tough act to follow and set my expectations pretty high. On the other hand, the theme of this year’s International Robot Olympiad is Robots in Agriculture, which is right in line with my own interests, so maybe it’s a wash in this instance.


by   -   December 15, 2013

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KUKA cut the ribbon at their new factory outside of Shanghai. The factory will begin employing 350 and produce the QUANTEC line of robots and controllers and will be able to produce 3,000 robots and controllers annually. Although KUKA has had sales and service facilities in China for the past 9 years, this is the first manufacturing factory.


by   -   December 10, 2013

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Robolution panel at the Pioneers Festival in Vienna.

It’s not every day you get to ask pioneering robot startup founders about their journey. The Robolution panel at the Pioneers Festival in Vienna comprised Rodney Brooks from Rethink Robotics and previously iRobot, Steve Cousins from Savioke and previously Willow Garage, Noland Katter from Anybots, and Walter Wohlkinger and Michael Zillich of Blue Danube Robotics, a new startup from Vienna University. Between them the panelists have started or spunoff well over 15 robotics companies, started the first robotics venture fund and been hugely influential in shaping the current rapidly emerging robot startup space. ‘Fast, cheap and out of control’ was Brooks’s 1987 insight into robot exploration of the solar system, but is very apt today, as drivers like open source software, affordable COTS and crowdfunding expand possibilities.


by   -   December 10, 2013


Amazon isn’t the only delivery service testing flying robots. DHL and microdrones are testing drones that could be used to deliver urgently needed goods to hard-to-reach places, eg, medicines to remote sites.


Deutsche Post DHL, Germany’s express delivery and mail company, is working with German UAV provider microdrones GmbH to test various methods of flight (piloted or autonomous), types and weights of packages, etc.


Read more.


by   -   December 6, 2013


In a revealing NY Times interview with Google’s Andy Rubin, some heretofor unknown things came to light. Google is now in the robotics business. They’ve made seven acquisitions in the last six months to give them some talent and a head start. And they are as closed mouth about their plans for their new robotics division as Google has been about everything else.


by   -   December 4, 2013

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If you’ve recently wondered where all the roboticists were going, the answer is to an unassuming complex in Palo Alto. Google has backed Android developer Andy Rubin to acquire at least 7 major robotics companies, including Schaft, Industrial Perception Inc, Meka and Redwood Robotics. Other companies include Holomni, makers of high tech wheels, Bot&Dolly and Autofuss, the super cool robotics software companies behind the special effects in the film Gravity. Unsurprisingly, a number of the new acquisitions are also involved in the upcoming DARPA Robotics Challenge, where robots take on human scale problems in the latest Grand Challenge.


by   -   December 3, 2013

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The first real world trial in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) will be held on December 20-21 2013 at Homestead Freeway in Florida. Yes, it’s open to the public. Anyone can come along and watch humanoid robots try to perform difficult disaster relief human type tasks. This is the geekolympics, it’s nerdvana. Honestly, it’s like sport only better. Here’s the basic background and the rundown on the top teams.


by   -   November 29, 2013

PrimeSenseFamous from being the synchronized depth perception system inside the Microsoft Kinnect, PrimeSense, a venture-funded company based in Tel Aviv, was just acquired by Apple for $350 million.

Bloomberg reports that Apple confirmed the purchase but reported that Apple won’t discuss their purpose or plans in relation to the acquisition.


by   -   November 26, 2013

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New report by Research and Markets, Global Machine Vision Market 2012-2016, a $2,500 report, forcasts global machine vision market to grow at a CAGR of 9.4% to 2016.


by   -   November 25, 2013

Mazor-260-gainMazor Robotics’ stock (NASDAQ:MZOR and TASE:MZOR) has steadily rolled up 260% year-to-date.


by   -   November 24, 2013

patrick-robot-buttAs the need for training on new-tech devices increases, virtual and physical simulation systems are in demand at medical schools and hospitals worldwide. One novel new robotic invention is Patrick, the robotic prostate exam mannequin. Developed by a MD and a virtual experiences research team, Patrick is being trailed at two hospital teaching centers in the US.


by   -   November 17, 2013

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3D Systems new Sense 3D scanner, at $399 including software, is a serious competitor for Makerbot’s $1,400 Digitizer scanner.

The new Sense scanner is hand held and you have to slowly wave the device at the object being scanned, watch the viewer to insure coverage, and scan until you are happy with the visual effects.

The MakerBot Digitizer is a turntable where cameras and lasers do a 9-minute scan while the table slowly turns. There are many enthusiastic reviews for this scanner.

As costs of 3D printers continue to drop, these two new low-cost 3D scanners add to the magic of 3D printing by enabling users to easily make scans. The scanners can also be used for other activities like gaming, cake manequins, clothing marketing, etc.


by   -   November 8, 2013


In a new TV series on the Fox Channel, set in 2048 and entitled “Almost Human,” every cop is paired with a highly evolved human-like android partner.

The show stars Karl Urban and Michael Ealy, is produced by J.J. Abrams (“Person of Interest,” “Star Trek” and “Mission: Impossible”), and begins Sunday evening, November 17th.

Which one is the robot?


by   -   November 7, 2013


Cyphy Works, the UAV developer with the tether solution, raises $7 million from VCs and angel investors.

Funds will be used to expand Cyphy Works efforts in surveying and situational awareness for agriculture, mining, construction, oil & gas, insurance and others.


by   -   November 7, 2013

Three years after their successful Cubelets, Modular Robotics launched a new kickstarter today for Moss. It’s like Cubelets just got clever and maybe a little bit more fashionable too. Moss is a dynamic robot construction kit and by the time you read this, the kickstarter will be well over the target of $100,000.  This is a loyalty and publicity kickstarter, not a plea for funding to get a prototype off the ground!