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, Sturdy.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, maintaining people secure.

    Third time’s the attraction!

    Remodeling ocean science

    Autonomous research shipsFollowing two aborted makes an attempt (COVID in 2020; propulsion drawback in 2021) the totally 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 shifting 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 expertise companion and lead scientific companion.

    Mayflower 400 is not only a reasonably 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 choices at sea with no human intervention.

    “Throughout its voyage, tech equipment aboard helped scientists gauge the influence of world warming and air pollution on marine life, akin to water acidification, microplastics, and mammal conservation.” The ship even has a robotic “tongue” that truly 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 rationale why we need to go to AI methods,” says MAS director Brett Phaneuf. “We need to ship these items for very lengthy durations to disparate elements 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 shifting items round a warehouse. Everybody was shocked by the large price ticket and curious in regards to the small Massachusetts-based agency known as KIVA Programs that had conceived of and constructed the system.

    Bezos noticed within the KIVA system of shifting items what nobody else had seen. Unprecedented earlier than KIVA have been small robots slipping beneath racks of products, lifting them barely off the bottom and shifting 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 “often require in depth (and costly) facility updates to put in, throughout which period 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 completely different, high-quality warehouse robotics.

    As autonomous cellular robots or AMRs, with plenty of on-board intelligence, have come to rapidly 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 “totally autonomous” cellular warehouse robotic (see video). In line with Analytics Insights, Amazon, right here in 2022, has joined “a complete of 256 different world autonomous cellular robotic firms.”

    As Amazon has stated about its new AMR: “it’s been tough to soundly incorporate robotics the place individuals are working in the identical bodily area because the robotic. We consider Proteus will change that whereas remaining sensible, secure, 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 power to change his kind at will. Hmmm. Is Amazon telling us one thing in regards to the close to way forward for its AMR by naming it Proteus?



    Sturdy.AI going small to go huge

    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 slightly for the SMEs of the world. Definitely, his co-creation of the Roomba house vacuum cleaner exhibits his roots at how you can go small to go huge; Roomba income for 2021 was $1.5 billion.

    Robots being used in warehouses

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

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

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

    As Will Knight describes it in Wired : “Sturdy AI’s robotic, Carter, seems to be just like the type of dolly you’d discover at a house enchancment retailer, but it surely 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 encircling scene, permitting its software program to determine employees close by, and it makes an attempt to deduce what they’re doing from their pose and the way they’re shifting.

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

    Carter is simply going out for first exams with clients, says Brooks. We’ll quickly see if it may possibly negotiate the folks and muddle 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 standard 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 system, however standard 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 danger of inaccuracies that would come up with guide coating. The cobot automated spray system permits equivalent coating layer thicknesses, guaranteeing the standard of the coating work.

    WB Coatings’ Andreas Ohletz: “With out utilizing a robotic, we might not have been in a position to develop these new paint methods as a chrome-free different 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 secure

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

    Lyra, a mobile, radiation-sniffing robotA latest job for Lyra was to journey 450 ft of air flow ducting to hunt for and map radioactive supplies, a chore that’s wanted extra regularly as increasingly 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 package deal 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 website 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 turned beached.”


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