What’s New in Robotics? 09.06.2023



Information briefs for the week check out Squishy Robotics and its soft-landing robots that went from NASA Moon venture to first responder aids on Earth; then how Locus Robotics upgraded its product line of LocusBots to supply new-age options to ever-accelerating warehouse calls for; then China’s newly developed, robot-assisted, laparoscopic surgical system scheduled to compete with business chief Intuitive Robotics utilizing 3D glasses as an alternative of a standard monitor and hood; and eventually, why is it that robots have been so gradual to disrupt the garment business?

“What’s occurring?” Ask Squishy Robotics

In catastrophe eventualities, situational consciousness, or “What’s occurring?” inside the catastrophe space, is many occasions data that could be very arduous or inconceivable to come back by.

Squishy Robotics (primarily based in Berkeley, CA), a by-product from a venture initially funded by NASA (2014) to develop new methods of touchdown home_box_images-02-1024x998rovers and different forms of tools on the Moon, has give you a robotic for first responders to make use of in catastrophe conditions that gives situational consciousness, the place nobody must be put in danger. It additionally gives important on-the-ground data a lot ahead of first responders might.

Berkeley researcher, Alice Agogino’s first thought for her $500,000 NASA grant requested the query: Why not make the robotic itself the touchdown gadget? In that method, there could be no want for a separate lander to convey a rover right down to the floor. Answering that fundamental query is how she developed her startup firm Squishy Robotics.

As Agogino remembers it: “We thought, wow, if we are able to do that on the Moon, we should always have the ability to do it on planet Earth and avoid wasting lives.”

Her thought was to create a sphere-shaped skeleton of rods and elastic cables, primarily based on the design precept of stress integrity, or “tensegrity”. The time period itself was coined by Buckminster Fuller as a portmanteau of “stress” and “integrity” in 1955.

Functionally, the sphere-shaped robotic skeleton is dropped from a drone right into a catastrophe scenario or perhaps a rescue scenario that’s tough to entry by first responders. The robotic’s sensors and different information-gathering devices would reside within the heart of the robotic, and when dropped, the drive of the impression could be unfold throughout the skeleton, conserving the important payload protected.


Locus Robotics upgrades AMR fleet

Suppliers of AMRs for the logistics and e-commerce industries have been shifting quick to increase their cell robotic platforms and operational software program to accommodate the accelerating churn and number of warehouse logistics.

locusone amrTo not improve dangers being bypassed by an business that’s already in excessive gear and accelerating ever extra to satisfy the mega calls for of e-commerce.

Massachusetts-based Locus Robotics, extremely profitable provider of its LocusBots, has been constructing out to satisfy these wants since 2021 when it acquired Waypoint Robotics. Heavyweight chassis, bigger kind components and enhanced capabilities of the Locus Vector and Max (rebranded from Waypoint) together with the beforehand launched Locus Origin, make up the corporate’s new product line, just lately launched for the EU at Amsterdam’s Ship 2023 convention held June 7-8.

Clever AMRs are the wave of the long run and Locus now has three. Locus buyer DHL Provide Chain will see Locus Origin deployed to its 1,500 warehouses and distribution facilities by the top of 2023, claims Locus.

“We’re excited to showcase our newest know-how improvements at Ship 2023 to our international and European prospects,” stated Rick Faulk, CEO of Locus Robotics. “Along with our superior LocusONE warehouse Automation Platform, we’re remodeling the way in which warehouses function.”

3D glasses for China’s newly-launched surgical robotic

The world is headed towards minimally-invasive surgical procedures. And surgical robots are forecast to be the platform of option to ship a safer, minimally-invasive operation with far much less post-operative trauma.

china surgical robotThough over a dozen builders have marketed, or are within the course of of promoting a surgical robotic, U.S.-based Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci robotic has been the surgical crown jewel since its debut in 2009, even at over $2.5 million a system, plus over one million {dollars} in elements and provides yearly. Now, nonetheless, rivals from the EU (the Versius Surgical Robotic System) and, most just lately, China are difficult Intuitive’s dominance.

Weigao Group, headquartered in Weihai, Shandong province, has change into the first Chinese language developer for a robot-assisted laparoscopic surgical system (2021). “We at present have 20 items at hospitals for medical analysis which might be concerned in quite a lot of surgical procedures, comparable to urological, liver, and thoracic procedures,” stated Wang Bingqiang, common supervisor of Weigao Group’s medical instrument division. “Our robotic system might be on the market for common surgical use from June (2023).”

With 20 techniques in use, Weigao nonetheless has a protracted technique to go to even start to contest Intuitive’s over 6,000 deployed da Vinci techniques worldwide. In line with Fosun Worldwide Securities, of the 189 robot-assisted laparoscopic surgical techniques presently in use in China (barely 5% of the world market), Intuitive has almost a 100% share.

Distinctive amongst robotic surgical techniques, Weigao’s surgical robotic is operated utilizing 3D glasses—slightly than the usual monitor and hood utilized by all others—which the corporate says reduces physician fatigue. “Docs also can talk extra simply with different medical doctors and nurses within the working room,” added Wang.

Robots gradual to disrupt garment business

There aren’t too many industries lately that robotics has had a tough time disrupting, however the garment business appears to be one which’s been significantly elusive.

Nonetheless, there’s a fortune awaiting people who succeed. Income within the attire/garment marketplace for 2023 is $343 billion! Automating even a small a part of the business might save billions in productiveness features and make use of tens of 1000’s of robots, particularly in stitching items of attire collectively.

garment robot-2There are 10-20 totally different steps wanted to make a easy T-shirt; 70-80 for a long-sleeve costume shirt.

Though laser reducing of cloth has unfold all through garment making, the laser-cut items nonetheless must be joined right into a completed piece, and therein sits the issue for robots. Human arms are nonetheless relied upon for ending.

Germany-based Robotextile is one in every of a number of firms trying to convey extra automation to garment making.

“Textile researchers at Germany’s RWTH Aachen College estimate that in manufacturing a bit of clothes, dealing with time — as distinct from the reducing or stitching steps — accounts for about 80% of manufacturing time and roughly 80% of manufacturing facility prices.”

The Robotextile fabric-sorting work cell makes use of a typical KUKA Scara robotic with a working diameter of 1600mm and 5kg payload (cobot will also be used). Relying on the structure and common situations, cycle occasions of two to 4 seconds per material layer are potential.

However let’s make no mistake, the bell is tolling for handbook labor within the garment biz. Nonetheless, for now, Asian arms nonetheless costume most everybody worldwide.

The video beneath amply shows the daunting problem dealing with automation.