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by   -   January 23, 2021

Silicon Valley Robotics is pleased to announce that we are a Connector organization for the E-ROBOT Prize, and other DOE competitions on the American-Made Network. There is \$2 million USD available in up to ten prizes for Phase One of the E-ROBOT Prize, and \$10 million USD available in Phase Two. Individuals or teams can sign up for the competition, as the online platform offers opportunities to connect with potential team members, as do competition events organized by Connector organizations. Please cite Silicon Valley Robotics as your Connector organization, when entering the competition.

How do honeybees land on flowers or avoid obstacles? One would expect such questions to be mostly of interest to biologists. However, the rise of small electronics and robotic systems has also made them relevant to robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI). For example, small flying robots are extremely restricted in terms of the sensors and processing that they can carry onboard. If these robots are to be as autonomous as the much larger self-driving cars, they will have to use an extremely efficient type of artificial intelligence – similar to the highly developed intelligence possessed by flying insects.

by   -   January 16, 2021

CES banner

Even massive events like the 54th edition of Consumer Electronics Show (CES) have gone virtual due to the current pandemic. Since 1967, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which is the North American trade association for the consumer technology industry, has been organising the fair, and this year was not going to be any different—well, except they had to take the almost 300,000m${}^2$ from CES 2020 to the cloud. In this post, I mainly put the focus on current and future hardware/robotics trends presented at CES 2021 (because we all love to make predictions, even during uncertain times).

Drone with event camera

Robotics researchers at the University of Zurich show how onboard cameras can be used to keep damaged quadcopters in the air and flying stably – even without GPS.

Interesting discussion with Hod Lipson, head of Creative Machines Lab, Columbia University in New York. Can robots be self-aware? Can they design other robots and self-repair? Why should we evolve robots to do tasks that animals do so well? Why don’t we have useful autonomous robots in the real world yet? Find out Hod’s answers to these questions and updates on VoxCAD development for designing and simulation of soft robots in this episode of the IEEE RAS Soft Robotics Podcast.

Winning team Circleg
Winning team Circleg

Finishing this series of CYBATHLON 2020 winners, today we feature the victory of the startup Circleg from Switzerland. We also had the chance to interview them (see the end of this post).

Did you manage to watch all the holiday robot videos of 2020? If you did but are still hungry for more, I have prepared this compilation of Science Magazine videos featuring robotics research that were released during last year. Enjoy!

by   -   January 3, 2021

CBS MarketWatch declared 2020: The Year of the SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Corporation). A record 219 companies went public through this fundraising vehicle that uses a reverse merger with an existing private business to create a publicly-listed entity. This accounted for more than $73 billion dollars of investment, providing private equity startups a new outlet to raise capital and provide shareholder liquidity. According to Goldman Sachs, the current trends represents a “year-over-year jump of 462% and outpacing traditional IPOs by $6 billion.” In response to the interest in SPACs, the Securities and Exchange Commission agreed last week to allow private companies to raise capital through direct listings, providing even more access to the public markets outside of Wall Street’s traditional institutional gatekeepers.

by   -   December 24, 2020

Robot Santa with gift boxes

Thanks to all those that sent us their holiday videos. It’s been a tough year for everyone. We hope these videos make these holidays a bit more special.

by and   -   December 19, 2020

These Visionary companies have a big idea and are well on their way to achieving it, although it isn’t always an easy road for any really innovative technology. In the case of Cruise, that meant testing self driving vehicles on the streets of San Francisco, one of the hardest driving environments in the world. Some of our Visionary Awards go to companies who are opening up new market applications for robotics, such as Built Robotics in construction, Dishcraft in food services, Embark in self-driving trucks, Iron Ox in urban agriculture and Zipline in drone delivery. Some are building tools or platforms that the entire robotics industry can benefit from, such as Agility Robotics, Covariant, Formant, RobustAI and Zoox. The companies in our Good Robot Awards also show that ‘technologies built for us, have to be built by us’.

Winning team pilot Sander Koomen
Winning team pilot Sander Koomen

In continuation to this series of CYBATHLON 2020 winners, today we feature the victory of PULSE Racing from VU University Amsterdam. We also had the chance to interview them (see the end of this post).

by and   -   December 18, 2020

Self-driving vehicles would not be possible without sensors and so it’s not surprising to see two small new sensors in the 2020 Silicon Valley Robotics ‘Good Robot’ Innovation Awards, the Velabit from Velodyne and the nanoScan3 from SICK. We showcase three other innovations in component technology, the FHA-C with Integrated Servo Drive from Harmonic Drive, the radically new Inception Drive from SRI International and Qualcomm’s RB5 Processor, all ideal for building robots.

Our other Innovation Awards go to companies with groundbreakingly new robots; from the tensegrity structure of Squishy Robotics, which will help in both space exploration and disaster response on earth, to the Dusty Robotics full scale FieldPrinter for the construction industry, and Titan from FarmWise for agriculture, which was also named one of Time’s Best Inventions for 2020. Finally, we’re delighted to see innovation in robotics that is affordable and collaborative enough for home robot applications, with Stretch from Hello Robot and Eve from Halodi Robotics.

The UK Robotics Growth Partnership (RGP) aims to set the conditions for success to empower the UK to be a global leader in Robotics and Autonomous Systems whilst delivering a smarter, safer, more prosperous, sustainable and competitive UK. The aim is for smart machines to become ubiquitous, woven into the fabric of society, in every sector, every workplace, and at home. If done right, this could lead to increased productivity, and improved quality of life. It could enable us to meet Net Zero targets, and support workers as their roles transition from menial tasks.

by   -   December 18, 2020

You invest in the future you want to live in. I want to invest my time in the future of rapid logistics.

Three years ago I set out on a journey to build a future where one-day delivery is available anywhere in the world by commercializing high precision, low-cost automated airdrops. In the beginning, the vision seemed almost so grand and unachievable as to be silly. A year ago we began assembling a top-notch team full of engineers, aviators and business leaders to help solve this problem.  After a lot of blood sweat and tears, we arrive at present day with the announcement of our $8M seed round raise backed by some amazing capital partners and a growing coalition excited and engaged to accelerate DASH to the next chapter.  With this occasion, we have been reflecting a lot on the journey and the “why” that inspired this endeavor to start all those years ago.

Why Does This Problem Exist?

To those of us fortunate enough to live in large well-infrastructured metropolitan cities, deliveries and logistics isn’t an issue we often consider. We expect our Amazon Prime, UPS, and FedEx packages to arrive the next day or within the standard 3-5 business days.  If you live anywhere else these networks grind to a halt trying to deliver.  For all its scale, Amazon Prime services less than 60 percent of zipcodes in the US with free 2-day prime shipping. The rural access index shows that over 3 Billion people, live in rural settings and over 700 million people don’t live within easy access to all-weather roads at all. Ask manufacturers in need of critical spare parts in Montana, earthquake rescue personnel in Nepal, grocery store owners in mountainous Columbia, or anyone on the 20,000 inhabited islands of the Philippines if rapid logistics feels solved or affordable. The short answer – it’s not.

by   -   December 17, 2020

Robot On A Book Shelf

The Women in Robotics network is putting together an open catalog of books related to robotics and technology. Whether you would like to share your own collection with the community, or you just want to find your next read or the perfect holiday season gift (let’s be honest, we all love robots, and we want everyone to love robots), this is a great place to start.

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February 24, 2021

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