HomeRoboticsWhat’s New in Robotics? 08.07.2022

What’s New in Robotics? 08.07.2022

Information briefs for the week check out the voyage of the autonomous analysis vessel Mayflower 400 throughout the Atlantic, Amazon’s logistics evolution from KIVA to Proteus, Strong.AI concentrating on the SME market with automation, cobot paint system attaining the human-impossible millionth-of-an-inch vary, and Lyra, the radiation hunter, protecting people protected.

Third time’s the appeal!

Reworking ocean science

Autonomous research ships

Following two aborted makes an attempt (COVID in 2020; propulsion drawback in 2021) the absolutely autonomous analysis ship, Mayflower 400, landed in Plymouth, MA on 3 July 2022, finishing its 3500-mile voyage from Plymouth, England (having briefly stopped at Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada) earlier than transferring south to Massachusetts).

The Mayflower Autonomous Ship mission or MAS, first conceived in 2016, is led by marine analysis group ProMare with monetary help from IBM, appearing as each lead know-how companion and lead scientific companion.

Mayflower 400 is not only a fairly face to be placed on show at Plymouth alongside throughout the reproduction of the unique Mayflower. The ten,000-lb., 50 x 20-foot vessel will grow to be an automatic, remote-controlled, and preprogrammed analysis vessel that makes real-time selections at sea with no human intervention.

“Throughout its voyage, tech equipment aboard helped scientists gauge the affect of worldwide warming and air pollution on marine life, reminiscent of water acidification, microplastics, and mammal conservation.” The ship even has a robotic “tongue” that really tasted and tracked the salinity of the North Atlantic.

It’s going to proceed ocean analysis for years to return. “The ocean is cruel, which is a part of the explanation why we wish to go to AI methods,” says MAS director Brett Phaneuf. “We wish to ship this stuff for very lengthy durations to disparate components of the ocean, and never have to fret if somebody will get damage, bored, drained, misplaced, or if the ship sinks.”


Amazon’s journey: KIVA to Proteus

AGV being used in warehouses

Again in 2012, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, for $775 million, purchased a brand new system for transferring items round a warehouse. Everybody was shocked by the huge price ticket and curious concerning the small Massachusetts-based agency known as KIVA Programs that had conceived of and constructed the system.

Bezos noticed within the KIVA system of transferring items what nobody else had seen. Unparalleled earlier than KIVA have been small robots slipping beneath racks of products, lifting them barely off the bottom and transferring the complete rack of products to packing stations, after which the racks have been moved again into the warehouse.

Referred to as an AGV or automated guided car, the robotic had minimal on-board intelligence and navigated by means of magnetic floorstrips, which “normally require intensive (and costly) facility updates to put in, throughout which era manufacturing could also be disrupted.”

AGV being used in warehouses

Amazon, with its buy of KIVA, together with all of KIVA’s mental property, immediately jumped into undisputed management in logistics robotics. It renamed KIVA as Amazon Robotics, and has since produced almost a dozen totally different, high-quality warehouse robotics.

As autonomous cellular robots or AMRs, with numerous on-board intelligence, have come to shortly supplant the older and extra backward AGVs, Amazon Robotics—ten years on from its KIVA Programs acquisition—has now stepped up with its personal AMR known as Proteus, which is Amazon’s first “absolutely autonomous” cellular warehouse robotic (see video). In response to Analytics Insights, Amazon, right here in 2022, has joined “a complete of 256 different international autonomous cellular robotic corporations.”

As Amazon has mentioned about its new AMR: “it’s been troublesome to soundly incorporate robotics the place individuals are working in the identical bodily house because the robotic. We imagine Proteus will change that whereas remaining sensible, protected, and collaborative.”

With Proteus, Amazon can now compete will all the opposite 256 AMR makers.

Amazon named its new robotic after the Greek god Proteus, who possessed the reward of prophecy and the flexibility to change his kind at will. Hmmm. Is Amazon telling us one thing concerning the close to way forward for its AMR by naming it Proteus?



Strong.AI going small to go massive

Evidently Rodney Brooks has at all times had a penchant for the little man who might use robotics to get a leg up on higher productiveness. His earlier robotics outfit, Rethink Robotics (previously Heartland Robotics), gave us Baxter after which Sawyer, not for hugeconglomerates and their manufacturing and warehouse operations, however somewhat for the SMEs of the world. Actually, his co-creation of the Roomba dwelling vacuum cleaner reveals his roots at the way to go small to go massive; Roomba income for 2021 was $1.5 billion.

Robots being used in warehouses

On the current The Digital Manufacturing unit convention (Might 2022), he mentioned that his San Carlos, CA-based Strong.AI had scrapped its authentic purpose for being and has since set “Strong.AI to convey cellular robots to unautomated warehouses.” To the small man, he mentioned, the place severely unstructured environments have been a lifestyle. Locations that beforehand had nearly zero automation. Automating SMEs, a job not many in robotics appear to relish today, appears to be Brooks and Strong.AI’s raison d’être.

As Strong.AI’s homepage proclaims: “We Make Robots Work for Folks.”

The truth is, simply as his earlier cobots had easy names, Baxter and Sawyer, so too does his latest: Carter (and the software program it runs on is known as Grace).

As Will Knight describes it in Wired : “Strong AI’s robotic, Carter, seems just like the sort of dolly you’d discover at a house enchancment retailer, nevertheless it has a motorized base, a touchscreen mounted above its handlebar, and a periscope with a number of cameras.

“It makes use of these cameras to scan the encompassing scene, permitting its software program to determine staff close by, and it makes an attempt to deduce what they’re doing from their pose and the way they’re transferring.

“If a human employee wants to maneuver a number of bins, for instance, they will strategy a Carter robotic transferring autonomously and, by grabbing the handlebar, take guide management. The robotic might be configured to carry out quite a lot of totally different duties utilizing a “no code” graphical interface.”

Carter is simply going out for first assessments with prospects, says Brooks. We’ll quickly see if it could actually negotiate the folks and litter of unstructured SME environments (see video).


Cobot paints the unattainable in coatings lab

Schliersee, Germany-based WB Coatings, specialist in “clever” paint methods, discovered that typical guide processes have been insufficient to realize coatings within the millionth-of-an-inch vary.

For instance, plastic, ornamental trims on steering wheels and computerized window switches wanted a persistently high-polished chrome look. WB Coatings got here up with a chrome-paint components, however typical strategies of making use of the paint to the fixtures didn’t work.

Painting cobot

The paint-coatings specialists added a custom-built, 6-axis Durr cobot (from KUKA) to the manufacturing line. Now, the cobot’s automated spray program “ensures most reproducibility and begins with dosing the parts in the very same ratio each time,” says the corporate, which decreases the chance of inaccuracies that would come up with guide coating. The cobot automated spray system permits similar coating layer thicknesses, making certain the standard of the coating work.

WB Coatings’ Andreas Ohletz: “With out utilizing a robotic, we’d not have been capable of develop these new paint methods as a chrome-free various for shiny, silver-colored surfaces. The problem is to use the coating layers of the chrome-effect paint very evenly. And the three-layer paint system particularly wants very skinny, reproducible coating layers, one thing even extremely skilled hand painters cannot obtain.” 

Lyra, the radiation hunter, retains people protected

Lyra, a cellular, radiation-sniffing robotic, shuttles alongside ventilator networks searching for radioactivity.

Lyra, a mobile, radiation-sniffing robotA current job for Lyra was to journey 450 toes of air flow ducting to hunt for and map radioactive supplies, a chore that’s wanted extra often as an increasing number of nuclear powerplants are being decommissioned. Lyra thrives in unattainable areas for human to entry or these too harmful.

Designed as a low-cost inspection robotic, Lyra options 5 radiation detectors, a laser scanner for positioning, 2 cameras, lights and a manipulator arm that was used to take swab samples of the radioactive contamination from the wall or ground of the duct. For mobility, Lyra was fitted with tracks and given a comparatively excessive floor clearance.

Developed by researchers on the College of Manchester, working throughout the Robotics and Synthetic Intelligence for Nuclear (RAIN) Hub, Lyra was “outfitted with a radiation sensing bundle designed to have the ability to measure beta, gammas, X-rays, and neutron radiations.” The diminutive radiation-hunter was additionally fitted with a 5 DoF manipulator to allow it to gather swabs for additional radiological evaluation on the web site laboratories.”

Lyra was untethered, however did incorporate a winch retrieval mechanism, which could possibly be used to tug Lyra again to an entry level within the occasion of a lack of energy, or to shift it off rubble if it grew to become beached.”


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