Autonomous robots can pick up to 25,000 raspberries per day

University of Plymouth spinoff Fieldwork Robotics has commercially deployed its raspberry picking robots in two locations in Portugal.

The autonomous robots feature four arms for picking, using sensor technology and grippers to curb harvesting times and reduce slippage. 

Fieldwork is now working to accelerate the robots’ picking speed, aiming for each robot to collect 4 pounds of fruit per hour or more than 25,000 raspberries a day. The average human picking rate of 15,000 in a standard eight-hour working day. The team is also working to cut costs on the design by adapting the materials used for the robots, according to www.iotworldtoday.com

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ABB Robotics Unveils World’s First Robot-painted Art Car

ABB Robotics Unveils World’s First Robot-painted Art Car 

ABB Robotics has collaborated with two world-renowned artists, eight year old Indian child prodigy Advait Kolarkar and Dubai-based digital design collective Illusorr, to create the world’s first robot-painted art car. ABB’s award-winning PixelPaint technology has, without human intervention, perfectly recreated Advait’s swirling, monochromatic design as well as Illusorr’s tri-color geometrical patterns.

Equipped with 1,000 nozzles in the printer head, ABB’s IRB 5500 paint robots were able to complete the highly complex artworks in less than 30 minutes. The PixelPaint technology demonstrates unprecedented precision and speed, capturing intricate, elaborate detail that would be impossible to achieve by hand. A film highlighting this world-first achievement can be seen here.

Sami Atiya, president of ABB’s Robotics & Discrete Automation business area, commented, “ABB’s PixelPaint technology is more than an evolution–it is a revolution. It’s a shining example of how robotic automation and our RobotStudio software can not only pave the way for more sustainable manufacturing but can also perfectly replicate delicate pieces of art that celebrate the originality and beauty of the human spirit. At a time when consumers want more customized products, PixelPaint is a game changer and allows any design to be replicated in a manner that is both sustainable and affordable.”

ABB’s ground-breaking PixelPaint technology reimagines the paint application process and reflects the growing demand for sustainable personalization in the automotive industry, particularly in exterior paint. Multi-colored car painting has traditionally been a laborious and costly process involving multiple stages of masking and unmasking, but ABB’s technology allows for a detailed, colorful, and exact replication of any design.
Carefully controlled, the paint can be quickly applied in a single application. This breakthrough in the automation of the paint process opens the door to specialized and personalized designs to the automotive market.

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Would you trust a robot chef? This innovative one can ‘taste’ food to prepare it exactly as you like it!

CAMBRIDGE, England — A robotic chef is learning how to “taste” food as it cooks it — just like humans do to see if their meal has enough seasoning. The new machine can even change the taste of food depending on individual tastes!

Researchers at Cambridge University say this could one day lead to automated robots in food preparation that know exactly what tastes good to most customers. Aiming to nail down the science of the art of cookery has already led to the robot chef being able to make an omelet based on a human taster’s feedback.

The team found by creating a “taste as you go” approach improved the robot’s ability to quickly and accurately assess the saltiness of a dish. To imitate the human process of chewing and tasting in their robot chef, the researchers attached a conductance probe, which acts as a salinity sensor, to a robot arm.

They prepared scrambled eggs and tomatoes, varying the number of tomatoes and the amount of salt in each dish. Using the probe, the robot “tasted” the dishes in a grid-like fashion, returning a reading in just a few seconds.

To imitate the change in texture caused by chewing, the team then put the egg mixture in a blender and had the robot test the dish again. The different readings at different points of “chewing” produced taste maps of each dish.

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This California Greenhouse is Run by Robots

(Photo: Iron Ox)A farm technology startup is using robots and artificial intelligence to tackle sustainability concerns in agriculture.  

By Adrianna Nine

Northern California-based Iron Ox was born from the realization that conventional American agriculture negatively impacts the environment in a multitude of ways. The type of farming most of us are familiar with uses as much as 70 percent of the world’s fresh water supply and produces up to 1.19 gigatons of greenhouse gasses every year. There’s also the issue of wasted produce, with up to 40 percent of fruits and veggies ending up in a landfill before ever reaching a consumer. While companies like Imperfect Foods, Uglies, and Misfits Market aim to offset this by proudly selling produce your typical grocery store won’t, these businesses don’t address the root of the problem: how the produce is grown.   

Iron Ox uses two house-designed, AI-supported robots to perform most repetitive farming tasks and ensure resources are used efficiently. The first of these, called Grover, makes up the brawn of Iron Ox’s robotic crew. Able to lift more than 1,000 pounds, Grover helps move plant “modules” (i.e. planter boxes) around the greenhouse. Grover also helps water and harvest crops in tandem with Phil, the company’s brainier robot farmer. Phil monitors and delivers each module’s water, nutrient mix, and pH levels to maximize crop yield and quality while making sure resources aren’t overused. 

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A hair-raising invention! Scientists are developing a robot with electronic HAIRS that mimic the natural touch of human skin

By SHIVALI BEST

  • The system uses an anisotropic magnetoresistance (AMR) sensor system
  • This system can precisely determine changes in magnetic fields
  • Hairs on the surface are linked to the sensors, which can detect touch
  • The e-skin could be used to make more realistic humanoid robots 

The idea of a robot with hairy arms may sound like a concept from the latest science fiction blockbuster.

But the bizarre invention could soon become a reality, as scientists have taken a major step forward in the development of electronic skin with integrated artificial hairs.

Hairs allow for ‘natural touch’ and let us detect different sensations such as rough and smooth, as well as the direction the touch is coming from.

Researchers from Chemnitz University of Technology say the ‘e-skin’ could have a range of uses in the future, including skin replacement for humans and artificial skin for humanoid robots.

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Japan To Deploy VR-Controlled Giant Robot For Repairs On Railway Tracks

The video showcases the robot lifting and putting into position several large components

by Raag Mathur Ramdev

What’s incredibly unique about this robot is that the human who is controlling it, is doing so through VR goggles. While holding on to a pair of handles, the operator is able to move the robot’s arms and hands, thereby performing repairs remotely. 

The West Japan Rail Company has unveiled a giant worker robot that can carry out repairs and other tasks deemed too dangerous for human beings. According to publication New Atlas, the objectives are “to improve productivity and safety”, and allow workers to move around different forms of heavy equipment. When working on repairs or improvements, many railway workers are at risk of electric shocks as well as falling. The robot is controlled by a human being using Virtual Reality.

A video showcasing the robot’s functionality has been posted on the railways’ official Twitter handle.

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JACK IN THE BOX IS PILOTING MISO’S HAMBURGER-COOKING ROBOT

By Brian Heater

You’ve got to hand it to Miso — the company knows how to sell the sizzle, as they say in the meat-cooking business. The robotics firm has been striking high-profile deals with some of the U.S.’s biggest fast food chains, from White Castle to Panera Bread. Today it adds Jack in the Box to that list.

The king of the late-night hamburger/taco combo is set to pilot a pair of Miso robots. That includes the newish drink machine, Sippy and the company’s old standby, Flippy 2, which helps augment line cook roles by flipping burgers. It’s still an extremely limited pilot, at one of the chain’s San Diego locations, but if things go well, there will be a further rollout in “the months ahead.”

“This collaboration with Miso Robotics is a steppingstone for our back-of-house restaurant operations. We are confident that this technology will be a good fit to support our growing business needs with intentions of having a positive impact on our operations while promoting safety and comfort to our team members,” said Jack in the Box COO Tony Darden.

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ZIPPEDI IS USING ROBOTS TO DIGITIZE INVENTORY FOR LAST-MILE DELIVERY

By Brian Heater

Luis Vera believes the third time is the charm. The self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur admits that his vision for digitizing retail was a decade or two early when he started his journey in the 90s. Through a pair of startups — Prospect and SCOPIX — he tried a variety of methods to help capture store inventory, including placings cameras on shelves and a ceiling-based system where one ran on tracks.

He was, effectively, attempting to compete with Amazon well before Amazon was, well, Amazon — at least in any meaningful sense. Computer vision, machine learning and the like have caught up a lot since then, of course. The notion of competing directly against Amazon is a seemingly impossible order, but Zippedi’s vision utilizes the geographical benefit of brick and mortal locations to help facilitate last-mile deliveries.

The company utilizes an inventory robot to keep tabs of what’s on shelves, creating a “digital twin” online. When someone orders something for, say, DoorDash, a shopper knows not only what is on the shelf, but where to find it. The system can both offer direction to items and provide a prioritized shopping list, so they can be in and out as quickly as possible. It’s easy to see how the company could incorporate AR in the future (and that’s on the roadmap), but we’re getting ahead of ourselves a bit here.

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Autonomous robot performs laparoscopic soft tissue surgery with minimal assistance from a surgeon

By Emily Henderson, B.Sc.

What if your next surgery was planned and performed by a robot? A team at Johns Hopkins University is working to turn this idea into reality.

The concept of robot-assisted surgery is not new: several systems have already been developed and are being used to treat human patients. One example is the da Vinci surgical system, a laparoscopic device with robotic arms that are remotely controlled by a surgeon. This system is not autonomous-;the robot does not perform any surgical tasks independently. Other robotic systems with higher levels of autonomy have been developed, such as the TSolution One®, which uses a robot to precisely cut bone according to a pre-specified plan. Existing autonomous robotic systems have largely been used to assist in surgeries involving hard tissues, such as drilling into bone for hip or knee implants. But these systems haven’t been used for soft tissue surgeries, which pose unique challenges, like accounting for unpredictable tissue motions that occur when the patient breathes, or size limitations of the surgical tools.

Now, NIBIB-funded researchers are developing an autonomous robot that can perform bowel surgery with minimal assistance from a surgeon. What’s more, the robot outperformed expert surgeons when compared head-to-head in preclinical models. A study detailing the development of this robot, which showcases the first known autonomous laparoscopic soft tissue surgery, was recently published in Science Robotics.

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How Amazon trained its robot Robin to sort packages

Robin uses its suction gripper to pick packages from a conveyor belt.

By Brianna Wessling

Thousands of packages pass through Amazon’s fulfillment centers every day. More and more of those packages are picked up, scanned, and organized by Amazon’s Robin robotic arm. 

Robin picks packages from a conveyor belt with its suction gripper, scans them and then places them on a drive robot that routes it to the correct loading dock. Robin’s job is particularly difficult because of its rapidly changing environment. Unlike other robotic arms, Robin doesn’t just perform a series of pre-set motions, it responds to its environment in real-time. 

“Robin deals with a world where things are changing all around it. It understands what objects are there — different sized boxes, soft packages, envelopes on top of other envelopes — and decides which one it wants and grabs it,” Charles Swan, a senior manager of software development at Amazon Robotics and AI, said. “It does all these things without a human scripting each move that it makes. What Robin does is not unusual in research. But it is unusual in production.”

Amazon’s team decided to take a unique approach when teaching Robin how to recognize packages coming down a conveyor belt. Instead of teaching computer vision algorithms to segment scenes into individual elements, the team allowed the model to try to find objects in an image on its own. After the model finds an object, the team provides feedback on how accurate it is. 

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Your Next Surgeon Could Be a Slime Robot

Like an octopus, it wraps around objects. It can also swallow things inside your stomach and even “self heal.” This ooze could be the future of surgery.

By Claire Reilly

When you think of robotic surgery, you might think of remotely controlled robotic arms whirring over a patient, or tiny endoscopic cameras that help surgeons navigate with precise instruments.

You probably don’t think of a magnetically controlled slime robot slithering through your gastrointestinal tract and swallowing objects, like some kind of sci-fi ooze. 

But that’s the exact idea behind the Reconfigurable Magnetic Slime Robot — a stretchy, sluglike robot that can squeeze through tight spaces, wrap around objects and even “self heal” after it’s been cut in two. 

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Ford Accomplishes Lights-out Manufacturing with Javier, an Autonomous Robot

David Mantey 

Javier is an autonomous mobile robot, specifically a KUKA robot on wheels. Named by Ford’s additive manufacturing operators, the mobile robot autonomously operates 3D Carbon printers without any human interaction. 

Ford has filed several patents over the technology, which, unlike traditional stationary robots that tend a lone machine, can service multiple. 

According to Jason Ryska, director of global manufacturing technology development at Ford, Javier is going to change the way the carmaker uses robotics in its manufacturing facilities. The robot will not only scale 3D printing operations but the technology will be moved into other parts of the manufacturing and assembly processes. 

Ford is learning from the robot; improving accuracy by using Javier’s feedback to reduce errors. Ford has filed several patents regarding the robot’s communication interfaces and positioning. For example, Javier doesn’t need a camera vision system to see.

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