Hi there, and welcome to my weekly Robot Update. This is wear I do a round up of what is going on in the Robot news around the world, so stay tuned.
Hi Guys, I’m Philip English from robophil.com, and welcome to the Robot Weekly update number 18.
Robot chef' aimed at home kitchen
A London-based company has launched a prototype "robo-chef" for the home. Moley Robotics is demonstrating its concept at this year's Hannover Messe - a big trade fair for industrial technology held annually in Germany. The cooking machine learns by capturing the movements of a human in the action of preparing a meal. These movements are then turned into commands that drive a sophisticated pair of robot hands. Tim Anderson, the 2011 BBC Masterchef champion, is training the robo-chef. At the Hannover Messe, he has got the machine making a crab bisque. "It's the ultimate sous-chef," Mr Anderson told BBC News. "You tell it to do something - whether it's a bit of prep or completing a whole dish from start to finish - and it will do it. And it will do it the same every single time. "The product is still two years away from market. Moley wants to make the unit slightly more compact, and give it a built-in refrigerator and dishwasher. The robot could then do everything from assembling and chopping all the ingredients, doing the cooking on the hob or in the oven, and finishing up by cleaning the dirty pans. The goal is to produce a consumer version costing £10,000. It is likely find a ready market in the urban apartment where space is at a premium. The vision is to support the product with thousands of app-like recipes. The motion capture capability would also allow owners also to share their special recipes online. A key innovation is the hands. Produced by the Shadow Robot company, they use 20 motors, 24 joints and 129 sensors to mimic the movements of human hands. Shadow's Rich Walker believes his robotic appendages will ultimately cope with some of the uncertainties of cooking, such as when beaten eggs decide to peak.
Microsoft demos industrial robot linked to cloud, mobile devices
Microsoft presented a vision of how industrial robots could work more closely with people by harnessing the Internet of Things, cloud networking and 3D sensing technologies, linked through Windows platforms.In a demonstration at Hanover Messe, an industrial fair in Germany this week, Microsoft and industrial robot maker Kuka Robotics showed an industrial robot arm that can stream movement data to Microsoft's Azure cloud computing platform for human staff overseeing production.
The Kuka machine is a lightweight, multi-jointed arm known as the Intelligent Industrial Work Assistant. Its immediate task in the demo is to thread a small tube into the back of a dishwasher. The delicate nature of the operation requires human collaboration and risks damaging the appliance, Microsoft said in a release. In the scenario presented by the company, if the robot encounters a problem, it can notify nearby technicians via Microsoft Band Wearables or Windows tablets, which can also be used to assess supply chain problems affecting the robot. The robot assistant can be linked to a Kinect 3D motion sensor to identify technicians who arrive for troubleshooting work. A video about the collaboration shows a technician using a head-mounted display to run through a troubleshooting app while checking the robot. The demonstration aims to highlight how Kuka's robot assistants can jointly perform tasks with humans, without needing a human controller, Microsoft said on its blog.
The demonstration is the latest in industry-wide efforts to make industrial robots work with human colleagues more easily. For instance, Rethink Robotics' Baxter, introduced in 2012 and Sawyer, launched last month, are designed to be collaborative robots that are safe enough for people to work alongside, instead of being isolated in cages.
Google robot army and military drone swarms: UAVs may replace people in the theatre of war
If you thought that having helicopter drones flying around delivering packages was a scary concept, then you won't be very happy to learn that the US military is seriously considering enlisting the help of tiny robot quadcopter drones in warfare. The US Navy is now testing a cannon system that launches 30 small robot drones into the air in less than a minute. The drones are able to fly in formation for 90 minutes in order to complete missions and are designed to overwhelm an adversary. While we don't know what Google plans to do with its swarming patent, the US Navy's tests could be part of a rising trend. According to a new report by the Center for New American Security, the US military is seeking to transform and sustain "American military technological dominance" even though the increased military spending is now buying less and less as the years go by. To that end, the US government is now looking towards unmanned aerial systems or vehicles (UAS / UAV), with multiple nano drones flying in swarms in order to gather large amounts of intelligence quickly and effectively without putting humans at risk. The small drones are very cheap to purchase, and the military will be able to cut costs as older warships and aircraft don't have to be upgraded as much or put out to pasture as they become obsolete, if the drones are there to handle the intelligence aspects.
Google is also keen to get involved in swarm robotics - on 14 April, the US Patent and Trademark Office granted Google a patent that allows it to link together and control a large group of robots using the cloud, with the intent of having the robots work together to complete tasks.
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