Reinforcement learning shows promise for industrial robotics

Industrial robots deployed today across various industries are mostly doing repetitive tasks. The overall task performance hinges on the accuracy of their controllers to track predefined trajectories. The ability of robots to handle unconstructed complex environments is limited in today’s manufacturing. Two examples are flexible picking of previously not encountered objects or the insertion of…

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Industrial exoskeletons: new systems, improved technologies, increasing adoption

The exoskeleton sector continues to evolve, and in some sense has begun
 to normalize. The medical, business and technical press has long reported on exoskeleton technologies designed for medical rehabilitation and as mobility aids, even though commercial success and large-scale adoption has not yet been realized. Recently, however, reportage, along with focus of a number…

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How neural networks help delivery robots navigate

This article was republished with permission from Starship Technologies’ blog. Starship Technologies is building a fleet of robots to deliver packages locally on demand. To successfully achieve this, the robots must be safe, polite and quick. But how do you get there with low computational resources and without expensive sensors such as LIDARs? This is…

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Skills gap worsening in US manufacturing industry

The manufacturing industry is one of the main customers for automation providers. And that will not change anytime soon. According to a new 2018 skills gap study from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, the widening manufacturing skills gap is expected to grow from about 488,000 jobs left open today to as many as 2.4 million manufacturing jobs…

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Softbank’s Whiz robot arrives as Pepper renewals lag

Late October spelled bad news for Pepper, the quintessential and iconic face of Softbank Robotics. According to a Nikkei Tech survey, only 15% of companies planned to renew their three-year contract with the robot provider that began in October 2015. The contract involved deploying Pepper in corporate settings, including banks and offices, for purposes of…

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Solving real-time robot motion control challenges

Motion control is the software component of a robotic system that dictates how a robot should move to do tasks that have already been defined. Robot arms move through the action of rotating and sliding joints, while mobile robots move through locomotion and steering. Robot tasks, on the other hand, are done with tools (end…

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Inside the Rethink Robotics shutdown

Rethink Robotics, the Boston, Mass.-based maker of collaborative robots Baxter and Sawyer, shut down on October 3. The Robot Report first reported the story, confirming the news with former Rethink CEO Scott Eckert. Founded in 2008 by former iRobot co-founder Rodney Brooks and Ann Whitaker, Rethink raised $149.5 million in funding, with its last round,…

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Robotics investments recap: October 2018

Robotics investments in October 2018 totaled at least $1.24 billion worldwide with a total of 22 verified investments. Unverifiable robotics investments, including several in China, have been excluded from this analysis. There are several robotics investments in which the amounts and/or rounds were not disclosed. If we verify those amounts and/or rounds, we will update…

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Top 5 industrial robotics markets

A record 381,000 industrial robots were shipped globally in 2017, according to the latest International Federation of Robotics (IFR) World Robotics Report. The new figure represents an increase of 30 percent, which means annual sales volume of industrial robots increased by 114 percent over the last five years (2013-2017). The sales value increased by 21 percent compared…

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Robotics Investments Recap: August 2018

Robotics investments in August 2018 totaled at least $925.53 million worldwide with a total of 29 investments. Unverifiable robotics investments, including several in China, have been excluded from this recap. There also are several robotics investments in which the amounts were not disclosed. If we verify those amounts, we will update these figures. In July…

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