June 6 Automation and Robotics News from Tony Zaragoza

Automation and Robotics News–June 6, 2010

Highlights: HP increasing automation and cutting 9000 jobs, automation eases worker scarcity[?], debates around the coming structural employment crisis, Old: Soviet moon robot, New: Japanese moon robot base, driverless buses, automating China further, and more

Click here for Archives including all stories in this post.  Clicking on each title will take you to the article.


Robots infiltrate fish schools, garner followers

Tim Hornyak ·  Sat May 29 2010

Researcher Maurizio Porfiri is developing robotic fish that can lead schools of real fish. One possible application is to use the machines to keep fish away from dangerous areas.

Cute Qbot aims to be Model T of robots

Tim Hornyak ·  Tue May 25 2010

Qbot is a prototype home robot that can interact with its user and avoid obstacles. Developer Francisco Paz says it will be an open-source machine that will be cheap enough to garner many users.

Monkey brain controls robot arm, hand

Tim Hornyak ·  Fri Jun 4 2010

University of Pittsburgh researchers have hooked a monkey’s brain up with an industrial robot arm, giving the animal’s mere thoughts direct control of it.

Wobble-proof Navy crane can offload cargo at sea

Tim Hornyak ·  Thu Jun 3 2010

The U.S. Navy’s experimental automated crane allows vessels to offload cargo in rough seas, eliminating the need for a deep-water port.

HP to cut 9,000 jobs, take $1 billion charge

Lance Whitney  ·  Tue Jun 1 2010

Hewlett-Packard is spending $1 billion and cutting 9,000 jobs in a restructuring designed to consolidate and invigorate its enterprise services. The company announced Tuesday that it plans to spend the money to invest in a series of commercial data centers . . .


Military Roomba Cleans Land Mines With Explosions
Jesus Diaz  06/01/10

Like its domestic ancestor, iRobot’s new military robot is also a cleaning machine. But instead of dust devils, this one cleans land mines and barbwire obstacles. It works using the Mk7 Anti-personell Obstacle Breaching System. Not subtle, but extremely effective.


Elections automation, a lemon?

BusinessWorld Online – Carol Pagaduan-Araullo – May 27, 2010

Comelec allowed all these violations and circumvention of the automation law as well as its contract with Smartmatic. It tried to minimize or cover up the … In brief, two things are imperative: . . .

Smarter robots set to replace clumsier ones

Sify – May 27, 2010

Scientists are developing faster and smarter robots that would not only replace their clumsier counterparts, but also use much less energy, says a new study.  The goal eventually is to design the first robot that can move 10 km within 10,000 seconds, through and over obstacles, using less energy than it would take a human to do the same task. ‘Researchers have been working toward robot locomotion for a long time based mostly on experience and intuition,’ said Jonathan Hurst, assistant professor of robotics and mechanical design at the Oregon State University (OSU).

Automation in spinning reaps rich rewards

Fibre2fashion.com – May 29, 2010

In yarn producing technology in textile industries, ring frame is one of the most important components.  During the last two decades components of ring spinning machines have been greatly improved, changes in drafting system, drive systems and robotics have enabled large gains in productivity, flexibility and quality.  Most of the technical advances in ring spinning were aimed at improving the performances on the existing technology. These are all achieved by the automation. . . .

Women’s vests Automation eases worker scarcity

Global Sources – May 27, 2010

As China’s labor shortage drives up compensation expenses and impedes productivity, suppliers of knitted vests and cardigans are taking steps to diminish reliance on manual processes. The primary reason for the manpower deficit is that migrant workers are choosing to stay in their hometowns, where comparable pay can be obtained in a setting with a lower cost of living. . . .

Martin Ford: The Coming Structural Unemployment Crisis

USA Trends (blog) – Neal Tolani – May 25, 2010

Previously, I’ve argued here that job automation technology might someday advance to the point where most routine or repetitive jobs will be performed by machines or software, and that, as a result, we may end up with severe structural unemployment. . . .

How Much Unemployment Will Automation Cause?

Automation World – Gary Mintchell – Jun 2, 2010

This thought, and more, were spurred by a book that suddenly appeared on my desk this spring for review. We don’t have a book review column at Automation World, though a good book may spur an interview or article. In this case, . . .
HP Job Cuts: Automation Is The New Offshoring

IT Business Edge (blog) – Jun 2, 2010

By date: Is process automation the new offshoring? I made that case several months back, noting that companies may increasingly opt for automation over …

Future Workforce

Automation World – Jim Pinto – Jun 2, 2010

With quality and productivity that cannot be matched by people, automation continues to eliminate jobs. Automation technology, together with the emergence of offshore workers equipped with increasingly sophisticated technology tools, will continue to move up the food chain, steadily encroaching on higher-paying, higher-skilled jobs. . . .

Soon, That Nearby Worker Might Be a Robot

msnbc.com – Rachael King – Jun 2, 2010

One of Linda Muniz’s newest colleagues is a robot that makes deliveries. On a recent morning, Muniz greeted the robot as it rolled up to the nursing station at El Camino Hospital in the Silicon Valley community of Mountain View, Calif., and announced its presence in a polite female voice.

Robots Can Create Jobs, Too

Industrial robots can help companies compete by boosting quality and productivity. That’s ultimately a benefit for American labor

By Jeff Burnstein Special Report June 1, 2010

If you work in an American manufacturing company today, you should be worried about your job. I live in Michigan and have witnessed the destruction caused by shuttered factories and jobs shipped overseas. When plants close, whole communities suffer. With unemployment at about 14 percent or higher in Michigan, it’s not surprising some workers are afraid of robots capable of working seven days a week, 24 hours a day with great accuracy and reliability, capable of performing many tasks better than people.

Japanese Robots Building Moon Base

Escapist Magazine – May 29, 2010

In fact, it might be boiling over, with the Japanese government allocating $2.2 billion to send robots to the Moon to build a base.

Japan to colonize the moon, with robots

New York Daily News – Joe Tacopino – Jun 1, 2010

The Japanese space agency is embarking on a mammoth $2.2 billion project to put humanoid robots on the moon and create an unmanned robot …

Octavia the Android, a Real-Life Rosie the Robot

FOXNews – John R. Quain – May 26, 2010

Designed to support and work closely with humans, the Navy’s Octavia the Android may remind you of the Jetson’s Rosie the Robot.

BP turns to robot subs after mud fails

New Zealand Herald – May 30, 2010

BP has been forced to focus on a new option after the most ambitious bid yet to stop the worst oil spill in United States history ended in failure yesterday.. . .BP immediately began readying its next attempted fix, using robot submarines to cut the pipe and cap it . . .

Stroke-diagnosing robot links Frankfort hospital, U of L

By Cheryl Truman –  , Friday, May. 28, 2010

FRANKFORT — The Franklin Regional Medical Center on Thursday rolled out — literally — its newest tool in stroke diagnosis: a “remote presence physician robot” that will allow University of Louisville doctors to recognize strokes and other neurological ailments within minutes.

Industrial robot manufacturer ABB capture 30 percent of UK market

Materials Handling World Magazine – May 25, 2010

ABB has captured over 30% share of the UK market for industrial robots in the first three months of 2010, according to results available from the British

Robot Lawn Mower – Robby Garden XP

Gadget Venue (blog) – 19 hours ago

by Matthew on May 29, 2010 The Robby Garden XP is a robot lawn mower that has a number of advanced features.

HP to cut 9000 jobs, invest in automation

Northern Colorado Business Report – Jun 1, 2010

The company also said that, “as a result of productivity gains and automation, HP expects to eliminate roughly 9000 positions over a multi-year period to …

Automation Is New Key In Green IT

Greentech Media – Jun 2, 2010

The most effective way to turn information technology green might be as simple as automating it. That way IT administrators are more likely to use it and …

Automation of Azerbaijani State Treasury Agency to be completed

Trend News Agency (subscription) – Jun 1, 2010

The Azerbaijani Ministry of Finance plans to complete automation of the control system of the State Treasury Agency until August, Finance Minister Samir …

To manage its storage needs, UMKC library goes vertical with retrieval robots

Kansas City Star – <http://news.google.com/news/search?pz=1&cf=all&ned=us&hl=en&q=author%3A%22Edward+M.+Eveld%22&scoring=n>Edward M. Eveld – Jun 4, 2010

Four stories of bins towered above workers on Wednesday as they made adjustments to the robot that retrieves items requested by library patrons. …

Robots with ‘human’ vision to be used to work in nuclear reactors

Daily Mail – Jun 2, 2010

By Daily Mail Reporter Scientists are developing robots that have eyesight that works in the same way as human vision. The robots will be able to determine …

Researcher’s Robots Learn From Environment, Not Programming

UA News (press release) – <http://news.google.com/news/search?pz=1&cf=all&ned=us&hl=en&q=author%3A%22Monica+Everett-Haynes%22&scoring=n>Monica Everett-Haynes – Jun 2, 2010

Ian Fasel said that in building self-teaching robots, researchers can learn much more about the naturally occurring behaviors in humans, such as why young …

Soviet lunar robot returns first laser pulse to Earth in 40 years

SlashGear (blog) -Shane McGlaun – Jun 4, 2010

No the picture below isn’t a steam punk hot tub, and it’s not a prop left over from the Flash Gordon series either. The thing you see below if the Soviet lunar rover called Lunokhod 1. . . .

French Rugby develops scrum simulator

Sydney Morning Herald – 17 hours ago

AP France’s rugby and engineering prowess have come together in an unusual combination – a six-legged rugby robot intended to help improve player …

Robot travel agents ‘would free up staff to see the world’

Travel Weekly UK – Jun 3, 2010

Robots should replace travel agents to deliver information to clients and take bookings, according to a leading travel design director.


Motoman Inc. and Yaskawa Electric America, Inc. Combine

Posted: 06/02/2010 Motoman Inc. and Yaskawa Electric America, Inc. announced today that they will combine to form Yaskawa America, Inc.


Robot Bus Moves People, No Driver Needed

Erico Guizzo // Thu, June 03, 2010

French company Robosoft has unveiled what it calls a “cybernetic transport system.” The robuRIDE carries 30 passengers and reaches 24 kilometers per hour, driving autonomously using differential GPS and onboard sensors. . .

iRobot Demonstrates New Weaponized Robot

Palmisano // Sun, May 30, 2010

iRobot released today new video of its Warrior robot, a beefed up version of the more well-known PackBot, demonstrating use of the APOBS, or Anti-Personnel Obstacle Breaching System, an explosive line charge towed by a rocket, with a small parachute holding back the end of the line. The APOBS, iRobot says, is designed for “deliberate breaching of anti-personnel minefields and multi-strand wire obstacles.”


The Story of How Industrial Robots Began

June 04, 2010

Today, industrial robots are a common sight. You can find them everywhere – from small job shops to large automotive lines. But it wasn’t always like this. In reality, the 6-axis, articulated, industrial robot is a fairly recent invention, albeit one that involved many designs, inventors, and companies. An American inventor, George Devol, . . .


Microsoft announces Robotics Developer Studio now for free

Markus Waibel on 04 Jun 2010,

In a surprising move, Microsoft has announced that its Robotics Developer Studio, or RDS is now available to anyone for free! The big package of programming and simulation tools for robotics has previously been available in 3 different versions with various limitations and costs. By offering its new release with all capabilities bundled at no cost, . . .


Boeing X-51A WaveRider Breaks Record in 1st Flight

WaveRider launched fro B-52H Stratofortress and goes hypersonic.

By Robotics Trends Staff

05.30.2010 — Ramjet based, WaveRider flies autonomously for more than 200 seconds reaching an altitude of about 70,000 feet and an approximate speed of Mach 5. In its first flight attempt, the Boeing [NYSE: BA] X-51A WaveRider successfully completed the longest supersonic combustion ramjet-powered flight in history—nearly three and a half minutes at a top speed of Mach 5.  . . .


Botched Operation Using da Vinci Robot Spurs Lawsuit

Wall Street Journal – John Carreyrou – May 25, 2010

A woman whose ureters were accidentally cut during a surgery with the da Vinci robot last year filed a lawsuit against Wentworth-Douglass …

Automating the Dragon – Opinion

Rising labor costs present opportunities for the foreign companies that will help China mechanize its factories.


The words “Made in China” usually conjure images of row upon row of low-wage workers manufacturing cheap toys or stitching inexpensive garments. But Chinese manufacturers are starting to climb up the value chain. Not only are the goods produced changing, but so are factory floors as manufacturers embrace more sophisticated technology to replace increasingly expensive labor.


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