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Alex Owen-Hill

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Alex Owen-Hill is a freelance writer and blogger who writes about a large range of topics, including science, language, creativity and (of course) robotics. He completed a PhD in Telerobotics from Universidad Politecnica de Madrid as part of the PURESAFE project, in collaboration with CERN. As a recovering academic, he maintains a firm foot in the robotics world by blogging for gripper manufacturer Robotiq.

Credit: "Brewing Beer with Robots" Brew Age/YouTube
Credit: “Brewing Beer with Robots” Brew Age/YouTube

What tasks in a craft brewery can you do with a collaborative robot? Here are five options to improve the efficiency, consistency and safety of manufacturing in the beverage industry.

Credit: "Brewing Beer with Robots" Brew Age/YouTube
Credit: “Brewing Beer with Robots” Brew Age/YouTube

Craft brewing could be the perfect industry for collaborative robots. But, does automation mean losing your artisan status? We find how craft breweries can use robotics to scale-up their business without compromising on quality.

Julius robot. (Source: Mining-ROX)
Julius robot. (Source: Mining-ROX)

Robots, like Julius from the Mining-ROX project, are a promising option to keep mining economical and safe. In our interview, we spoke with Prof. Bernhard Jung from TU Freiberg about why robots are important for the future of mining.

by and   -   June 30, 2016

What does a robot vision system see when it detects an object on the production line? Computer vision systems have become both advanced and intuitive in recent years. It can be easy to forget that they are still very rudimentary compared to human vision. In this article, we look at one common approach to robot vision and how it affects the computer vision used by your robot.

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) refer to a set of injuries and disorders that affect the human body’s movement or musculoskeletal system, for example, the muscles, joints, tendons, nerves and ligaments. Manufacturing and food processing are classed as high-risk, as outlined in a report on the impact of MSDs in the USA. Some jobs are prone to specific injuries due to the type of work involved, such as industrial inspection and packaging jobs, which are prone to upper extremity MSDs. In 2012, the manufacturing industry had the fourth highest number of MSDs, with 37.4 incidents per 10,000 workers.

SMErobot invention by ABB: Lead-Through-Programming (Image credit: ABB AG)
SMErobot invention by ABB: Lead-Through-Programming (Image credit: ABB AG)

Robotics is going to be one of the biggest job creators in modern history. But are there enough qualified people to fill those jobs? As various sectors announce skill shortages, we looked at how robotics is affected and which skills are the most important for employers.

What do robots have in common with black holes? They both have singularities! In this post we find out what singularities are, why they can cause havoc for roboticists, and how to overcome them.

by and   -   January 28, 2016

Force torque sensors are now ubiquitous in robotics, but where did they come from? The sensor came about thanks to the hard work of scientists, inventors and researchers.

by and   -   January 8, 2016

robotics_experiment_standardization_test_BenchThe ability to design good scientific experiments is a key skill for any robotic researcher. Without a grasp of experimental design, even the best technological developments may never succeed in being published or turning into real products. In this post, we show why this is a vital skill for researchers and we show you how to implement good experimental design in 5 steps.

by and   -   January 7, 2016

What type of person works in robotics? We’ve taken 25 career skills and grouped them into 10 essential skills for roboticists.

Social media concept - world map with social media icon

As everyone starts to look for “the big technology trends of 2016”, it seems that one technology is overshadowing all others – the Internet of Things. We take a look at why robotics is actually ahead of the game with the IoT trend, and show that some industrial robotic companies have been involved with it for 10 years already. 

forward_kinematicsCalculating the forward kinematics is often a vital first step to using a new robot in research. While there are some good tutorials available online, up until now there hasn’t been a simple step-by-step guide for calculating forward kinematics. In this post, we provide a simple guide along with some tips on calculating the kinematics of any robotic manipulator.

Cinemagoers have long been fascinated by fictional robots, but they’re not usually realistic — until now. Thanks to technological advancements, some of the classic movie robots are now a realistic possibility. If you make some allowances for their limited artificial intelligence, we’re pretty close to making fiction a reality. Let’s look at some of the iconic movie robots that could now be possible thanks to current robotic technologies …


Could robot chefs really have arrived? Moley’s approach, the robotic kitchen, is basically a flexible workcell, and in manufacturing that’s nothing new. But providing the essential ingredients – feeding the robot chef – needs further consideration.

by and   -   November 5, 2015
image: Bill Wesner/flickr
image: Bill Wesner/flickr

Robots have been getting their names in the record books. Whether it’s taking the first pictures on the moon or observing the deepest volcanic eruption, robots are setting Guinness World Records alongside the most impressive humans. We take a look at 15 official world records which have been set, and beaten, by robots.