Robotics Education Journal


In an update titled “CES2018: Olympic Robots to Visit Vegas,” Tom Green of Asian Robotics Review recently reported that a leading Korean robotics firm, Future Robot Co., Ltd., will exhibit at Tech East South Hall 2, in booth 25330 at CES in Vegas, January 9- 12, 2018. There, attendees can meet Future Robot’s fascinating “Family” of service robots. As Tom notes, “There’s something in the company’s product lineup for home/personal use; something for malls, airports and department stores; and even a tabletop machine for retail sales.” The service robot shown, the meeter/greeter FURo-D, features an avatar or personality named “Amelia”, after the famous aviator Amelia Earhart. It’s operating system is Windows 7, 64Bit.


Although conventional wisdom trends toward a negative view of the impact robots and artificial intelligence (AI) will have on human employment, there is a robust contrarian viewpoint brimming with optimism for a job-rich future. NREF has compiled a representative sampling of articles and presentations that portray the landscape of opinion, today. We recommend this collection to our site visitors.

12/13/2017 reported that the FT 300 Force Torque Sensor mounted on a Universal Robots arm has enabled the automation of the grueling glass polishing process at the Saint-Gobain factory in France, creating a safer workplace and increasing productivity. The traditional glass polishing approach had caused repetitive movement health issues, but this problem was solved by the addition of the sensor & robot arm combination, which took over polishing tasks. The combination paid for itself within one year and instead of replacing workers, reportedly expanded employee work opportunities.


MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), with Harvard University’s Wyss Institute, have created powerful hydraulic muscles that are an example of biomimetic “soft robots” that mimic designs that occur in nature. In this instance we see a similarity to the biomechanical functionality of spiders; Arachnids use pressure differential to extend and retract their legs. The efficiency and power of these soft robotic muscles is considered to be a breakthrough.


This paper by William G. Lovell presents a design framework for robots that entails use of 6-axis arms, i.e., arms with six degrees of freedom (DoF). These arms move end effectors from A to B and are distinguished by their individual payloads, which make the arms unique. In this paper, Lovell, CEO and Senior Engineer at c-Link Systems, proposes a design construct called the “Omni Chassis.” This type of vehicle can carry different payloads (different functioning end effectors) on a 6-wheeled or tracked mobile body.


The Silver Swan was designed and built by James Cox in London in the early 1770’s. The beauty and precision of this exquisite 18th century robot represents the craftsmanship, artistry and engineering skills of both an accomplished jeweler, and that of a clock maker, and this robot plays music as well. Could anyone with today’s technology produce anything close to this engineering masterpiece that is also robotic art?


Our friends at Robot Village are offering approximately 150 primo robot domain names for sale! We advise interested viewers to be proactive as these domain names are available for purchase at this time.


Designed for use in malls, airports, fairs, hospitals and homes, the AkinSoft-designed humanoids will be able to recognize faces, hear, speak, smell and access the internet. Named “Ada GH5”, the new robot will be assembled at the AkinSoft factory, said AkinSoft Board Chairman Özgür Akın.


Our friends at the Central Valley Business Times (CVBT) have posted a telling video on the trend toward job automation. “Think your job cannot be automated? Take a look at the disappearing jobs of lumberjacks in the Oregon mountains.” That sets the scene for a video from Retro Report and Quartz kindly posted by the CVBT.


The H-860 high speed linear motor hexapod is a 6-axis system with 6 degrees of freedom that is a key technology for image stabilization systems in drones and cameras. Produced by Physik Instrumente (PI), the system is also used in a variety of applications that mimic or neutralize vibration with extreme nano resolution, which the device can be programmed to precisely duplicate.


“The Robots are Here” is a half hour presentation by Sarah Bergbreiter, Singularity University, recently presented at the SingularityU South Africa Summit.


In an October 30 newsbrief, the AUVSI reported that retail giant Walmart will soon deploy shelf-scanning robots in 50 stores. The robots have already been tested in Walmart outlets in Arkansas, Pennsylvania and California. The bots will cut down on employee time when restocking shelves as products run out.


A highly recommended conference panel on artificial intelligence titled “WE COME IN PEACE” was held September 14, 2017 at the Youngstown State University’s McDonough Auditorium in Youngstown, Ohio, and video recordings of presentations by the leading experts who presented at the event are now available online. You don’t want to miss these enlightening presentations!


Earlier this month, Aerovel’s Flexrotor, a long-endurance vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) unmanned aircraft, flew a 32-hour, 8-minute flight and landed with over 3 hours of fuel remaining on board, reports Aviation Week magazine. The aircraft, named Actea, took flight with 7.5 Kg of gasoline and a payload of 1.5 kg. Aerovel is refining the design to achieve a greater mean time between failures before launching production. Note that the VTOL landing gear collapse into the aft fuse during forward flight.


HitecRCD (Hitec) has been a world leader in RC model servos for over three decades, and, today, it offers a mature line of industrial actuators, as well. Since 1983, Hitec has introduced uncounted new servo features, ranging from micro-form factors that accelerated the electric flight revolution in the 1990s to fully digital magnetic position sensor technology, brushless servo motors and water-tight cases, among many other enhancements.

Hitec is also well-known for its telemetry systems and a diverse range of chargers and power system accessories. It’s 2003 acquisition of Germany’s Multiplex, given that company's sophisticated and diverse product line of RC radios and accessories, enabled the best technologies of both firms to be combined. This led to new and powerful solutions for hobby and research markets, not to mention diverse industries, worldwide.

Hitec continues to break new ground in servo technology and is leading the development of new business markets by offering innovative actuator solutions spanning agriculture, construction, military applications, municipal traffic management and planning, terrain mapping and much more. HitecRCD is a world leader in providing servos and actuators for hobby and industrial markets, and, today, offers more innovative technology in this arena than any other company we are aware of.

Consider the range in Hitec actuator capabilities, from analog to digital, with many being fully programmable. The Hitec HS-35HD UltraNano Servo for RC modelers weighs only 4.5 grams, and at a nominal operating voltage of 4.8 ~ 6.0 Volts DC, offers a maximum torque of 0.08 kg. / cm., or 11.0 oz- in. However, the Hitecnology SG29Bl industrial actuator, at 9.0 – 15Volts DC, offers a peak torque of 67.3 ~ 82.08 kg-cm, or 935 ~ 1140 oz-in.! The Hitecnology SG33BL industrial actuator, at 9.0 – 15Volts DC, offers an amazing peak torque of 110 ~ 146 kg-cm, or 1527 ~ 2027 oz-in.!


6th grade teacher Brian Cook incorporates both literature and media reports into his aeronautics curricula, all to impart a better comprehension of flight and its intellectual dimensions. Brian notes that the best learning outcomes for his students happen: “when we give kids the opportunity to become creators – bringing to life something they’ve read about in fiction or informational texts but haven’t yet experienced themselves.”

In his mission to open new horizons for his students, Brian adds, “Students were curious about these operators who were actually being paid to fly ‘toys.’ This 21st century occupation fell outside the traditional Maryland College and Career Readiness (CCR) standards, and I wanted my students prepared to consider this new career option.”


Using GPS waypoint navigation, drones in the U.K. have completed a full season farming agricultural cycle, including sowing, fertilizing, sampling and harvesting, reported This pioneering work appears to be a harbinger of the future of agriculture.


Furhat Robotics, a Swedish startup, is developing a socially interactive robot that speaks from its fur-capped animatronic head. Interacting in real-time with humans, it also projects human expressions onto its face, with a demeanor appropriate to its remarks. The team has high hopes this technology will revolutionize human-machine interface development.


Microsoft is investing in quantum computing hardware and software R&D. Microsoft plans to provide developers with tools that will allow them to experiment with the new quantum computing paradigm on their existing machines. It looks like quantum computing, decades after it was conceived, will finally be available to usher in a new era in computing that will enable researchers to address a vast new arena of potential solutions for problems in materials science, artificial intelligence, and much more.


Toronto native Garth Gibson, who has taught and researched extensively at Carnegie Mellon University, has been selected to run the Vector Institute, which specializes in artificial intelligence (AI) research. Vector’s members include Canada’s largest banks as well as Silicon Valley technology firms Alphabet Inc’s Google and Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL].


Milrem’s unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) have been newly equipped to vastly expand the situational awareness of ground troops. The Titan Sentry application brings together input from diverse sensor systems to better identify enemy locations. Additionally, the new Threod Systems unmanned system adds aerial drone capabilities to the newly expanded suite of capabilities of the TheMIS UGV.


Tuesday the 13th, ABB’s robot YuMi conducted the Lucca Philharmonic orchestra while Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli performed. The event was a highlight at the First International Festival of Robotics in the Tuscan city of PISA. “We basically had to find time to understand his movements. When we found the way, everything was pretty easy,” said the orchestra’s resident conductor, Andrea Colombini.


The AUVSI Foundation's RoboNation and the Office of Naval Research held the 2017 International RoboBoat Competition from June 20-25 at Reed Canal Park in South Daytona, FL. The National Robotics Education Foundation covered the event!


MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has developed “interactive Robogami” that lets users create a robot design in minutes, then 3D print and assemble it in less than 4 hours. Designers plan both gait and geometry in a single design process. “Designing robots usually requires expertise that only mechanical engineers and roboticists have,” says PhD student Adriana Schulz. “What’s exciting here is that we’ve created a tool that allows a casual user to design their own robot by giving them this expert knowledge.”


In a move destined to improve the quality of healthcare, Swisslog Healthcare, a major provider of medication and supply chain management solutions, announced an investment in Savioke, developer of the Relay autonomous mobile service robot. Relay provides “fast, secure delivery with a responsive, friendly human interface for more reliable and personalized patient services.”