5 things to know about the DARPA Robotics Competition

From Lyndsey Gilpin  for TechRepublic:  The DARPA Finals will be held in Pomona, California from June 5-6, and the robots that come out of it could make some big impacts (or take over the world). Here's a summary of what you should know.  1. It began with the desire to improve humanitarian assistance and disaster relief The Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011 was an inspiration for the competition, according to Dr. Gill Pratt, the DRC program manager. The team realized we never know what the next disaster will be, but we need technology to help us better address these types of disasters with better tools and techniques. And robots have massive potential.   "The particular part that we've chosen to focus on, here, is technology for responding during the emergency part of the disaster during the first day or two," Pratt said in a media briefing several weeks before the competition. "So this is not about, for instance, robotics for doing the restoration of the environment many, many weeks, years after the disaster, but rather the emergency response at the beginning."   Cont'd..  

Adept Technology Adds New Distributor

Applied Controls Will Market and Support Adept Robots in U.S. Mid-Atlantic Region

Machine Automation Under Scrutiny for High-volume, High-Quality Manufacturing

Designed for many industrial automation, quality assurance, security and medical applications, NEXCOMs new ROKA series of Gigabit Ethernet cameras is a low cost yet highly versatile imaging solution.

AgTechTalk Owner Chad Colby Joins 2015 Commercial UAV Expo Advisory Board

Colby to provide insight on UAV technology as a tool for agriculture industry as an Advisory Board member for SPAR Point Group's 2015 Commercial UAV Expo

The Amazon Robotics Challenge. And, the winner is...

Of 25 teams from around the world, the winner of the Amazon Robotic Bin-Picking Challenge is the Technische Universität Berlin using Barrett's WAM robotic arm.

Amazon Picking Challenge aimed at improving warehouse robotics

By David Szondy for Gizmag:  One of the biggest events at the recent 2015 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in Seattle was the first Amazon Picking Challenge, in which 31 teams from around the world competed for US$26,000 in prizes. The challenge set entrants with the real-world task of building a robot that can do the same job as an Amazon stock picker.According to Amazon Chief Technology Officer Peter Wurman, who initiated the challenge, the task of picking items off the shelf may seem simple, but it involves all domains of robotics. The robot has to capable of object and pose recognition. It must be able to plan its grasps, adjust manipulations, plan how to move, and be able to execute tasks while noticing and correcting any errors. This might suggest that the robots would need to be of a new, specialized design, but for the Picking Challenge, Amazon made no such requirement. According to one participant we talked to, the more important factors were sensors and computer modelling, so ICRA 2015 saw all sorts of robots competing, such as the general purpose Baxter and PR2, industrial arms of various sizes, and even special-built frames that move up, down, left or right to position the arm. Even the manipulators used by the various teams ranged from hooks, to hand-like graspers, and vacuum pickups.   Continue reading for competition results:

DJI and Accel Launch SkyFund to Seed Innovation Across the UAV Ecosystem

SkyFund aims to accelerate entrepreneurship throughout the aerial economy

Perception Neuron Wraps Up Silicon Valley Tour After Attending Maker Faire and SVVR 2015

The worlds first fully adaptive and affordable motion capture system made a guest appearance at Maker Faire Bay Area, and offered virtual reality demos and joined industry luminaries in a panel about the future of Virtual Reality input devices during SVVR in San Jose

PIL Launches New P53 Steel Head Ultrasonic Sensor for Use in Harsh Environments

Hoffmann-Krippner partners with PIL for distribution in the US and Canada

Patrick Henry Student to Attend DARPA Robotics Challenge

Jared Voight to cover event on behalf of Polaris

Google Virtual Reality at IMMERSION 2015 in Paris this September

Google Virtual Reality (VR) to be featured in talks, exhibits, demos and hands-on workshops at IMMERSION 2015 in Paris this September

April Equity Deals, Acquisitions and Chinese Funds

Money is flowing to robotics-related startup companies. Q1 saw 19 equity deals totaling $317 million, and 3 acquisitions of undetermined amounts, but money also flowed in April.

NYU Engineering Student Earns Prestigious NSF Fellowship for Wearable-Robot Research

Henry Clever Hopes His Mathematical Equations Will Someday Deliver Energy-Efficient Exoskeletons to Give People with Disabilities a Natural Gait

Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago Features Festo Bionics in New Robotics Exhibit

Robot Revolution, supported by Google.org, premieres May 21 in Chicago and will then tour the nation.

Paralyzed man can now use his mind to shake hands, drink beer using robotic arm

A man paralyzed by gunshot more than a decade ago can shake hands, drink beer and play "rock, paper, scissors" by controlling a robotic arm with his thoughts, researchers reported.   Two years ago, doctors in California implanted a pair of tiny chips into the brain of Erik Sorto that decoded his thoughts to move the free-standing robotic arm. The 34-year-old has been working with researchers and occupational therapists to practice and fine-tune his movements.   It's the latest attempt at creating mind-controlled prosthetics to help disabled people gain more independence. In the last decade, several people outfitted with brain implants have used their minds to control a computer cursor or steer prosthetic limbs.   Full Article:

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Thomas R. Cutler: Leading Manufacturing Journalist Worldwide

Thomas R. Cutler: Leading Manufacturing Journalist Worldwide

Cutler has authored more than 7000 articles for a wide range of manufacturing periodicals, industrial publications, and business journals including most of the leading monthly trade publications.