[This issue includes information on a robot who could be taking your medical history soon, the wikileaks revelation that drones are on everyone’s list to Santa, and, if you thought that China might be the last haven for those pursuing low wage workers, think again: see below to find the “waiter” who may be serving you in Chinese restaurants.]
Automation and Robotics News–Dec 12, 2010
TERROR, MILITARY, POLICING, SURVEILLANCE
Jason Paur, November 24, 2010
No unmanned aircraft in the American arsenal flies higher or longer than the Global Hawk. On Tuesday, it soared high and long, powered by a blend of synthetic fuel. The Northrop-built drone touched down late Tuesday night at Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California after spending more than a day aloft. Both the Navy and Air Force have flown numerous other aircraft using other non-traditional jet fuels, but this is both the first for an unmanned aircraft, and the first time any type of aircraft has flown with this type of fuel. JP-8 jet fuel (the kind typically used in the Air Force) was combined with a synthetic paraffinic kerosene derived from liqufied coal, and another derived from natural gas, to make up the blend.
David Axe, December 7, 2010
The Air Force has news for anyone looking for sinister motives behind the flying branch’s latest orbital gizmo: the mysterious, high-tech X-37B space plane. The 29-foot-long robotic shuttle — vaguely labeled a “test asset” by the Pentagon — returned to earth on Friday after 224 days, nine hours and 24 minutes in space. In those eight months, observers speculated that the X-37 might be a prototype bomber, a satellite-snatching snoop or a speedy, quick-reacting sensor platform. Forget it, Richard McKinney, Deputy Undersecretary of the Air Force for Space Programs, said Monday. “I applaud the ingenuity and innovation of some reports, but really it’s as described. This is a test vehicle, pure and simple.” But a test vehicle for what? Well, for testing, McKinney said. The way he described it, the X-37 should eventually function as an orbital laboratory for new satellite components and other space gear — pricey stuff that today gets boosted into the heavens with very little realistic testing. “If we could place technology in orbit, check it out and bring back to earth, that would be significant accomplish,” he said. “The purpose of this particular mission was the vehicle. In order do the other things we talked about … we’ve got to have a vehicle to do that.”
All the same, the X-37 did carry something in its payload bay during its inaugural flight — something secret, McKinney admitted. “It’s not unusual for us to put satellites into orbit that are classified. This is no different than that.”
Adam Rawnsley, November 29, 2010
Black Friday has passed, but the holidays are upon us and shopping days are increasingly few. Having a hard time finding the perfect gift for that tiny emirate hoping to psych out Iran or the large NATO ally looking to fight terrorism in Iraq? Fortunately for you, WikiLeaks has revealed the number one item atop seemingly everybody’s wish list: drones. Only a select few close American allies have the export-restricted Predator B (a.k.a. MQ-9 Reaper) armed drones, but that hasn’t stopped countries from the United Arab Emirates to Turkey from pestering & pleading with America to sell them the shiniest new toy, the WikiLeaks document show.
AGRICULTURE AND FOOD PRODUCTION
December 13, 2010 Posted by Tim Hornyak
Japan prepares to unleash a strawberry-harvesting robot on the world.
Tuesday, December 07, 2010 Posted by Matt Hickey
Some people are scared of clowns, some of zombies. I’m scared of giant robots with knives programmed to slice meat from a pig’s thigh.
FoodManufacture.co.uk – 12/13/10
While Entwistle said that Lancashire Sauce was looking into taking on another team member, he stressed that the investment in automation was intended to …
Thursday, December 09, 2010 Posted by Juniper Foo
At China’s Dalu Rebot (sic) restaurant, patrons are greeted by robot receptionists and attended by robo-waiters. Fortunately, real-life cooks are on hand in the kitchen.
Sales of telepresence and security robots are helping to drive the latest forecast.
Robotics Trends Staff – Filed Dec 13, 2010
While many consumers’ current interaction with robots is limited to those that clean their floors, pools, or gutters, ABI Research, in its market study “Personal Robotics,” forecasts that the personal robotics market will grow to more than $19 billion in 2017, driven in large part by sales of telepresence and security robots featuring high-quality cameras, microphones, and processors that allow the robots to serve as interactive substitutes for human beings.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (blog) – Mark Johnson – Dec 8, 2010
The engineers say the technology now exists to design robot assistants competent to perform in the high-stress environment of a hospital emergency room.
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Robotworx.com, December 07, 2010
Considering purchasing robots, workcells, or other robotic equipment soon? Why not make this capital investment now, before the end of the year. This way you can take
advantage of Section 179 tax incentives.
BUSINESS OF AUTOMATION AND ROBOTICS
Automate Keynote Speaker Tom Ridge
November 23, 2010
First Secretary of Homeland Security and Distinguished Statesman
Two major automation and logistics shows, Automate 2011 and ProMat 2011, are collocated March 21-24 in Chicago, Illinois at McCormick Place and together bring you a special keynote speaker, Tom Ridge, on Monday, March 21. His topic is, “Fortune Favors the Brave: The Net Gain of Supply Chain Security in a Risk-based World.”
RESEARCH AND NEW DEVELOPMENTS
Erico Guizzo / Mon, December 13, 2010
France is set to join the select club of countries that have developed advanced adult-size humanoid robots. Paris-based Aldebaran Robotics, famed for its small humanoid robot Nao, is working with major French research organizations to build a larger and more capable humanoid called Romeo, to be unveiled next March. Designed to assist elderly and disabled individuals in their daily activities, the 1.4-meter-tall robot will be able to walk through a home, fetching food from the kitchen, taking out the garbage, and acting as a loyal companion who helps entertain its owners and keep tabs on their health.
Monday, December 13, 2010 Posted by Leslie Katz
Aptly named Athlete, bipedal robot developed in Japan takes a biomechanical approach to running in an attempt to mimic human flexibility and agility.