THIS MODERN HOMEBUILDING SYSTEM RELIES ON ROBOTICS AND CUSTOM AUTOMATION TO BUILD PREFABRICATED DWELLINGS!

Automated Architecture Ltd. showcased its robotic assembly system for home building and prefabricated home dwellings during 2021’s Global Investment Summit (GIS).

BY SHAWN MCNULTY-KOWAL 

On October 19, 2021, the Global Investment Summit (GIS) saw 12 of the UK’s leading “green innovators,” selected by the UK government to emphasize the importance of implementing green technology into our day-to-day. Just in time for the COP26 (UN Climate Change Conference UK), GIS shows how the UK can shape the future of green investment. Weaving green technology into architectural building methods, Bristol and London-based design and technology company Automated Architecture Ltd., (AUAR) showcased a new robotic assembly system for prefabricated dwellings.

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GERMAN BIONIC DEBUTS A NEW EXOSKELETON WITH UPPER- AND LOWER-BODY ASSISTANCE

By Brian Heater

Late last year, German Bionic announced a $20 million Series A round led — in part — by Samsung Catalyst Fund. It was a curious alliance, given that Samsung has shown off its own robotic exoskeleton technology. I took Samsung’s Gait Enhancing and Motivation System out for a spin a few CESes ago — and while it was limited in functionality, it worked well for walking assistance.

Of course, it’s never entirely clear just how seriously we’re meant to take Samsung’s robotic ambitions. Thus far, the company’s offerings seem largely for show. German Bionic, on the other hand, has been at this for a while. In fact, the company just announced the fifth generation of its robotics exoskeleton, Cray X — which, fittingly, will be on display at next year’s CES in a few short weeks (shudder).

The system is set to debut early next year, available as a hardware-as-a-service subscription model, with a starting price of $499 a month Put simply, you’re probably not going to rent one of these things to move furniture around the house.

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Robotic exosuit uses ultrasound imaging to provide personalized walking assistance

By Tami Freeman

Wearable robotic systems have great potential for assisting locomotion during clinical rehabilitation, as well as use in recreation and to ease demanding occupational tasks. Walking patterns, however, vary according to a person’s age, height and physiology, may be affected by neural or muscular disorders, and change in different environments. As such, there’s a need for wearable robotics that can customize walking assistance to each user and task.

To address this need, researchers at Harvard University have developed a novel robotic ankle exosuit that uses ultrasound measurements recorded during walking to tune the level of assistance to an individual’s own muscle dynamics and walking task. The team – from Robert Howe’s Harvard Biorobotics Laboratory and the Harvard Biodesign Lab run by Conor Walsh – describes this new muscle-based assistance (MBA) strategy in Science Robotics.

The researchers predict that such personalized assistance should improve exosuit performance and support the adoption of wearable robotics in real-world, dynamic locomotor tasks. “By measuring the muscle directly, we can work more intuitively with the person using the exosuit,” explains co-first author Sangjun Lee in a press statement. “With this approach, the exosuit isn’t overpowering the wearer, it’s working co-operatively with them.”

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Researcher develops artificial muscle in miniature devices

University of Wollongong (UOW) senior professor Geoff Spinks, has been awarded at the global Falling Walls Science Summit for a Science Breakthrough of the Year, for his research on artificial muscle material. 

The research in question has led to the development of artificial muscles in miniature devices that could be applied in medicine and robotics, such as in miniature tweezers, prosthetic hands or dexterous robotic devices. 

Spinks and an international research team have developed various types of artificial muscles that bend, rotate or contract in length, by twisting and coiling carbon nanotube or polymer yarns. The science has enabled them to make artificial muscles as thin fibres or films that are especially well suited to microscopic devices. 

The most recent breakthrough happened as an unexpected outcome of their studies, thanks in part to the inspiration from nature and DNA supercoiling. 

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HADRIAN X ROBOT TO BUILD 5,000 HOMES IN MEXICO

Robotic bricklaying company FBR has executed a term sheet with GP Vivienda to supply its Wall as a Service (WaaS) robotic construction system to build between 2,000 and 5,000 homes in Mexico.

The company will also supply all associated retaining walls and other brick and block structures to a greenfield residential development sites.

Construction will utilise the company’s Hadrian X construction robot (pictured) which rapidly builds block structures from a 3D CAD model, producing far less waste than traditional construction methods while dramatically improving site safety. 

With over 115,000 homes built and delivered, GP Vivienda specialises in developing master-planned communities. 

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Robot Factory Making Robots in Shanghai to Start Production in 2022

Robot factory that makes robots in Shanghai will start production

In the factory of Swiss technology giant ABB, which is under construction in Shanghai, “robot-making robot” will be produced. Peter Voser, Chairman of the Board of ABB, said in a statement that the robot factory in Shanghai, which has invested a total of 150 million dollars, will start production in the first quarter of 2022. The factory, built on an area of ​​67 thousand square meters, will be among the most advanced, automatic and flexible production centers of the robotics industry.

The factory will become a state-of-the-art hub where robots build robots. Production at the factory will be based on cellular automation with robots moving from station to station, providing flexibility with greater customization compared to traditional, linear manufacturing systems.

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Watch Nissan’s awesome new ‘Intelligent Factory’ in action


Nissan has launched its most advanced production line to date as it works toward creating an emissions-free manufacturing process for its next-generation vehicles.

Using the very latest robotic technology, the Nissan Intelligent Factory started operating this week in Tochigi, Japan, about 50 miles north of Tokyo.

The automaker shared a video (below) showing off the new facility, which will manufacture vehicles such as the all-new Ariya electric crossover destined for the U.S. in 2022.

As the video shows, the Nissan Intelligent Factory not only builds the vehicle, but also performs incredibly detailed quality checks using robots programmed to search for foreign objects as small as 0.3mm.

Nissan said it built the futuristic factory to create a greener production process while also helping it to deal more effectively with Japan’s aging society and labor shortages.

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World’s First Sidebot Offers Compact Design, High Speed

When a typical industrial robot is overkill but a cobot doesn’t quite get the job done, you can now turn to a new solution: a sidebot. 

By Jamie Hartford

Companies seeking to automate their operations typically have two choices: a workhorse industrial robot, intended to replace human workers, or a defter cobot, designed for lighter work performed in collaboration with or in close proximity to humans. But a new category of robots, called sidebots, seeks to provide the best of both worlds. 

Swiss company Wyzo claims to have developed the world’s first direct-drive pick-and-place sidebot, which it says can work side-by-side with human workers in the food and beverage, consumer goods, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, automotive, electrical, and electronics industries. The company says its namesake sidebot is 10 times faster than a typical cobot, providing up to 80 picks per minute. At 5.5 square feet and less than six feet tall, the Wyzo is six times more compact than a typical industrial robot. And thanks to sensors that can detect nearby human activity, it does not need to be surrounded by protective barriers.

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Mexico Is Sending Game-Changing Robotic Vehicles to Explore Resources on the Moon

By Otilia Drăgan

Mexico is one of the latest countries to join the space industry, with an ambitious project. Together with Airbus, the Mexican Space Agency (AEM) and local startup Dereum Labs are launching a groundbreaking Mexican In-Situ Resources Utilization (ISRU) Program for lunar extraction. 7 photos

In a few years, the industries that today are not related to space will be doing business on the Moon, Mars and beyond” said the CEO of Dereum Labs, Carlos Mariscal. In order to get there, we must be able to sustain long-term living on the moon. If other new projects focus on developing “gas stations” in space, this innovative Mexican initiative takes thing even further. 

What if we could obtain resources such as oxygen, water and fuel right there, on the moon, instead of having to transport them from the Earth? Through advanced technologies, they could be extracted from the moon’s surface layer, known as regolith. The demonstration concept of this new program is an end-to-end process that goes from regolith identification, to extraction of resources.

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Picking the way to a better asparagus future with robotic harvesting

A robotic asparagus harvester project led by growers and supported by the Government is set to reinvigorate the New Zealand asparagus industry by alleviating ongoing labour challenges.

 BY DAVID EDWARDS 

The New Zealand Asparagus Council and Tauranga-based Robotics Plus will work alongside New Zealand asparagus growers to develop a world-first commercial-scale autonomous robotic asparagus harvester to help address ongoing labour shortages in the industry and support growers to tap into high-value export markets.

The Government’s Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund is contributing $2.6 million to the $5.83 million project. 

“We’re really excited to get this project under way as we simply don’t have enough people to do the work,” says Mangaweka Asparagus grower and NZAC Chair, Sam Rainey.

“Robotic harvesting will be a game-changer for the asparagus industry that currently relies heavily on picking asparagus by hand, which is hard toil. An average picker will walk 10 kilometres per day, so it’s extremely difficult to attract people to do the work.

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Seattle’s first robotic parking garage opens

A car on a piston at the robotic parking garage in the Spire

BY  Joshua McNichols

Residents of this luxury Seattle tower drive their car onto a platform, exit the car, and punch in a code. Then their car disappears down a hole. 

That’s called “parking” at the Spire. 

Upon seeing the technology demonstrated for the first time, most people say: “Whoa.” And then they want to see what’s down the hole.

“We’re the only ones that have a key to this door, because the parking system is a building-sized machine and no one should be in the lower basement levels while the machine is in operation, except skilled technicians and engineers,” said Michael Dennison with the US company that distributes the Swiss-made robotic parking equipment.

Seattle’s first automated parking system is part of the Spire, a 41-story luxury condominium tower constructed on the edge of Belltown, not far from the Space Needle.

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Inflatable robotic hand gives amputees real-time tactile control

by Jennifer Chu,  Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Caption:An MIT-developed inflatable robotic hand gives amputees real-time tactile control. The smart hand is soft and elastic, weighs about half a pound, and costs a fraction of comparable prosthetics. Credit: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

For the more than 5 million people in the world who have undergone an upper-limb amputation, prosthetics have come a long way. Beyond traditional mannequin-like appendages, there is a growing number of commercial neuroprosthetics—highly articulated bionic limbs, engineered to sense a user’s residual muscle signals and robotically mimic their intended motions.

But this high-tech dexterity comes at a price. Neuroprosthetics can cost tens of thousands of dollars and are built around metal skeletons, with electrical motors that can be heavy and rigid.

Now engineers at MIT and Shanghai Jiao Tong University have designed a soft, lightweight, and potentially low-cost neuroprosthetic hand. Amputees who tested the artificial limb performed daily activities, such as zipping a suitcase, pouring a carton of juice, and petting a cat, just as well as—and in some cases better than —those with more rigid neuroprosthetics.

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