“It has increasingly been realized that some of the key characteristics underlying real-world complex dynamical systems (such as economical, financial and ecological systems) can only been modelled and thus understood and predicted at qualitative level directly.
The popular conception of farming as low-tech is woefully out of date. Modern farmers are high-tech operators: They use GIS software to plan their fields, GPS to guide field operations, and auto-steer systems to make tractors follow that GPS guidance without human hands. Given this technology foundation, the transition to full autonomy is already in progress, leveraging commodity parts and advanced software to get there more quickly than is possible in many other domains.
This article outlines some of the key technologies that enable autonomous farming, using the Kinze Autonomous Grain Harvesting System as a case study.
Amidst a climate of fiscal austerity and vibrant debates over the growing importance of unmanned vehicles in foreign policy and homeland security, the 2013 AUVSI Unmanned Systems Conference returned to Washington, D.C., last week after hosting the 2012 event in Las Vegas. The event was not without controversy, however, as activist group Code Pink held a demonstration outside the venue and disrupted a keynote address. The show itself was a tale of two storylines as the exhibit hall demonstrated that applications for defense and law enforcement are still the lifeblood of the unmanned systems industry, while the technical program and panel discussions pointed to a growing interest to move into commercial industries. Here’s what you missed:
Over the last 20 years or so, a sense that science has become conservative or incrementalist has developed, and calls for change in the approaches to public funding of research have been heard from various quarters. Several notions have been suggested of what should be supported instead of “normal science” or “incremental innovation.” Among them we have heard calls for more “high risk-high reward” research, or for more “highly creative” science, or for more “cutting edge” or “frontier” research and, more recently in language adopted by funding agencies, that more “transformational research” is needed.
Food drone delivery ideas are taking off all over the place. But is it a business or just an advertizing stunt? Tacocopter was one of the first although still more of a theory than a practice. Stanford Robotics Club is carrying on the mission and delivering subs to students. Joining the ranks are an African beer drone, a UK pizza delivery copter and an aerial sushi tray. The OppiKoppi beer drone will be parachuting beverages to music festival attendees.
The report is out – there should be rejoicing up and down robot street! Why? Because one of the tech industry’s most respected analysts is being very bullish about robots as the next technology trend. These are the figures that you wave around on SandHill Rd. This is what VCs and angel investors read. But if you don’t hear anyone cheering yet, it’s because no one is calling it a robot – it’s an “able”.
It’s a “wearable, drivable, flyable, scannable” device. A connected device. Lesson for all robot startups. Don’t call it a robot, call it a connected device. Mary Meeker’s highly anticipated annual report “2013 Internet Trends” was released on May 29. She is also looking at robotics, only she is calling them connected devices or ‘ables’. I would go so far as to add one more ‘able’ to her list; the ‘senseable’. Devices like the Kinect, the Leap and a whole range of new optical and chemical sensors will be adding a lot of value to the ecosystem. They’re made by roboticists, used by robots, and any other connected device in our Internet of Things.
This article outlines the problems of today’s phone and online help systems and offers solutions to conversational systems of tomorrow. The article is about the design of hearts and minds for robots, considers the virtual voice as a legitimate robot, and takes a fast pass at the psychology of robot-human interaction.
Researchers from the Wyss Institute and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard have developed a millimeter-scaled insect robot that can autonomously control its flight. Their findings were published in the prestigious journal Science. The amazing high-speed video below shows the robot taking off, hovering in place and steering left and right on demand. Controlling such small flyers has been impossible so far because of challenges in fabricating tiny actuated systems, and the chaotic movement of small flapping-wing robots. You’ve seen a fly move around your living room, doesn’t seem easy to control right?
Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG) is a prime example of how robotics is similar to other IP intensive industries like software, biotech, and entertainment.
In December my colleagues and I produced a valuation of Intuitive Surgical. Below is a representation of our model of the asset structure of Intuitive Surgical in our forecast.
New funding sources for robotics seem to be popping up everywhere. Today’s launch of Genesis Angels, the new $100 million VC fund, which is based in Israel but operating globally, is hot on the heels of the EC announcing that the next tranche of robotics investment is likely to be more than €600M ($774M).
These days it is hard to read an article about the future of robots that does not include a reference to jobs. As a pure roboticist I object to the constant connection between the two, but as a concerned citizen I think it is a very worthwhile discussion. Since the year 2000, the US has lost more than 6 million manufacturing jobs — that is more than 1/3 of all direct manufacturing jobs in the US and the fastest drop in a single decade on record.
Do industrial robots really have a positive impact on employment? Of course they do and there are over 50 years of data proving that to be the case.
During my Master studies in computer science, I had the opportunity to spend a year at Carnegie Mellon University in the USA. Most of my classes there were about robotics, I got to participate in Robocup and see QRIO dance. That year abroad is what got me into robotics. My logic at the time was that I would never find a job in robotics, it was too futuristic. My only option was to dive into the world of research and academia.
For the rest of this week, Robohub will have a special focus on the use of robots in warfare.
All kinds of robots are being developed for strategic defence and military action (in space, in the air, underwater and on the ground). At Robohub we’ve had the opportunity to cover a wide range of them, including exoskeletons, transport mules such as Big Dog and DARPA’s LS3, and video reconnaissance systems such as iRobot’s Packbot. But by far the most talked about military robotics technology is the UAV.