Tag Archives: robotics

#429362 New GPS Module for Robots

Swift Navigation Announces a New GPS Module for Robots
Piksi Multi Provides Robotics Manufacturers with a Multi-Band, Multi-Constellation High-Precision GNSS Receiver, at a Breakthrough Price
Swift Navigation™, the San Francisco-based startup building centimeter-accurate GPS technology, has announced its newest product, Piksi™ Multi, and the robotics industry is going to want to take notice of this multi-band, multi-constellation high-precision GNSS receiver. Just as Swift’s original Piksi module ushered in a new era of precision GPS affordability, the new Piksi Multi represents a revolution in robotics positioning with advanced precision GNSS capabilities for the mass market.
Swift Navigation solutions utilize real-time kinematics (RTK) technology, providing location solutions that are 100 times more accurate than traditional GPS. The robotics market will benefit from Piksi Multi’s improved localization and control as well as fast initialization. The product was designed for high-volume integration, a cost-saver for robotics manufacturers.

Autonomy begins with accuracy. Whether a robotic project requires automated navigation on land, in the water, in the air or space, Swift’s software-based approach and RTK solutions offer an optimal combination of centimeter-level accuracy, low cost and and easy integration. Applicable use cases include automated lawn mowers, highway landscaping, golf course and sport field maintenance, unmanned aquatic vehicles, routine process optimization, robotic delivery vehicles, construction vehicle monitoring and other robotic applications requiring vehicle heading and centimeter-accurate robotic systems control.
Image Credit : Swift NavigationPiksi Multi supports GPS L1/L2 and is hardware-ready for GLONASS G1/G2, BeiDou B1/B2, Galileo E1/E5b, QZSS L1/L2 and SBAS. Multiple signal bands enable convergence times measured in seconds, not minutes. Multiple satellite constellations enhance availability in various environments. Piksi Multi also enables customers to run Linux OS on its second core; allowing users to quickly prototype and adopt their own applications in a well-known and widely-used environment.
In addition to the GNSS Module, Swift announced a new Piksi Multi Evaluation Kit — upgraded with all new components. The kit is intended to allow users to rapidly prototype and get an RTK solution up and running right out of the box. Swift’s new Evaluation Kit contains two Piksi Multi GNSS modules (for rover and base station), two integrator-friendly evaluation boards containing many I/O ports for testing, two GNSS survey-grade antennas, and two high-performance radios, delivering best-in-class reliability and range — well over 10 kilometers — and all of the cables and other accessories required for rapid prototyping and integration. The Piksi Multi GNSS Module is priced at $595 and the Evaluation Kit is priced at $1,995. For more information, visit Swift’s online store.
Swift Navigation was built on the notion that highly-precise RTK solutions for the robotics market should be offered at an affordable price. Piksi Multi also embraces the foundation of unmatched affordability and top-level benefits for robotics customers include:
Centimeter-Level Accuracy, using RTK
Fast Convergence Times, using Multi-Band
Robust Positioning, using onboard MEMS Hardware
Open Platform, with onboard Linux
Rapid Prototyping, with a comprehensive Evaluation Kit
Future-Proof Hardware with In-Field Software Upgrades
Swift Navigation expects Piksi Multi to ship in early Q1-2017. The company is accepting pre-orders in its online store at www.swiftnav.com. Follow Swift on Twitter@Swiftnav.
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#429361 RoboDragonfly: Tiny Backpack Turns ...

Engineers have fitted dragonflies with tiny backpack controllers that connect directly to the neurons controlling the insects' flight. Continue reading

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#429356 Humanoid robot raises funds on charity ...

Humanoid robot raises funds on charity in Poland

We’re one step away from a big revolution in Poland. An extraordinary volunteer at the 25th Final of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity. One of the fund-raisers will be a humanoid robot Pepper from Opole.
The foundation – the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity is the biggest non-governmental charity in Poland. Every year, for 24 years now, it collects funds in order to save lives of patients in polish hospitals. Every January there is a final of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity during which people raise money that is later used to buy a specialist equipment for hospitals.
This year in Opole, during the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity, there will be an exceptional fund-raiser – robot Pepper from project from Opole city – Weegree One. He is a humanoid robot which is designed to coexist with people. His innovation isn’t based only on the appearance, but also on the way he can communicate and help people. Pepper talks, recognizes and reacts to emotions, moves and lives autonomously. These exact skills make it possible for him to join the fund-raise. In many foreign countries robots are present on a daily basis, they work in hospitals, shops or in customer service. Does it seem unreal? And yet, robots in our daily lives become reality and exist to help us.
In 24 years the foundation collected and donated money to support hospitals in the amount of over 720 milion złotych (~165 milion euro). That is almost 40 000 state-of-the-art medical devices that went to more than 600 hospitals in the entire Poland. The every year GOCC final is an opportunity to bid fantastic items granted by famous people. Last year it included the skis with the autograph of the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda.
The robot just like every other volunteer will have one fund raising can assigned to him. The money collected this year will be donated to children and senior citizens. It is a remarkable idea to let the robot be present at the final and fund-raise. Without any doubt he attracts attention thanks to which he will be able to help the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity as good as it gets. There will an opportunity to talk to the robot, take a picture and of course support the people in need with a donation

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#429355 Who Has the Manufacturing Edge? May ...

From time to time, the Singularity Hub editorial team unearths a gem from the archives and wants to share it all over again. It's usually a piece that was popular back then and we think is still relevant now. This is one of those articles. It was originally published October 7, 2015. We hope you enjoy it!
You’ve heard the chatter: Robots and AI want your job. One famous study predicted 47% of today’s jobs may be automated by 2034. And if you want to know how likely it is you’ll be replaced by a robot, check out this BBC tool. (Writer = 33%. Yay?)
But nowhere is automation as immediately evident as it is in manufacturing. It’s been going on for decades, most obviously in automotive assembly and heavy machinery. Increasingly, however, more advanced robot factory workers are branching out.
You may remember a few years ago notorious manufacturer of iPhones, Foxconn, made headlines by declaring they’d replace factory workers with a million robots. Well, they got the timing wrong. They did develop said bots (not a million), but they weren’t ready to take over for humans when it came to the precise work of assembling circuit boards and other electronics. That said, the basic message was right, even if the timing wasn't.
As the saying goes, robots are good for tasks that are dirty, dull, or dangerous—and soon, we’ll add delicate to the list. Consider, for example, MIT’s new sensored robotic hand made of silicone. The hand can guess an object’s size and shape and ID it from a list, and it can handle items as diverse as an egg or a compact disc.
These skills will be very useful. A good bit (though not all) of the remaining work yet to be automated in manufacturing is the stuff requiring a delicate human touch.
A recent BCG Perspectives report on automation pegged four industries—already accounting for the lion’s share of global robot use—to lead the charge in coming years. These included machinery and transportation equipment, but they also included computers and electronic products and electrical equipment, appliances, and components.
In other words, those Foxconn iPhones will be made by robots.
There are two particularly strong drivers behind adoption: capability and cost competitiveness. Both are tied to quick advances in computing and AI, therefore we’re seeing gains in capability matched by falling costs of factory robots.
Across China, manufacturers are following in Foxconn’s footsteps.
At Shenzen Rapoo Technology Co. humans work next to 80 robotic arms assembling computer mice and keyboards. The bots have enabled the company to cut its workforce from over 3,000 in 2010 to less than 1,000 today. China has accounted for the most robot sales worldwide for two years running. And BCG expects 50% of robotics shipments will go to China and the US alone in the next decade.
While capability accounts for what can be automated, however, it’s how much robots cost compared to human labor that drives when they’ll be adopted. Electronics manufacturers are increasingly employing robots because they’re more capable and higher-than-average wages make them relatively more attractive.
And here’s the interesting bit: once the cost of robots falls below a certain point—assuming they can produce as much or more than human workers—the labor cost advantage that has driven offshoring in recent decades will all but disappear. While future iPhones may be robot-made, they likely won’t all be made in China.
According to BCG, a little over a decade ago, Chinese labor costs were roughly 1/20 of those in the US—but today, that gap has nearly closed. Meanwhile, in the four industries above, robotic systems in the US currently average $10 to $20 an hour to operate—which is already below the cost of equivalent American workers.
BCG expects those costs to fall even further, and the robots to gain more abilities.
“We project, therefore, that robots will perform 40 to 45 percent of production tasks in each of these industries by [2025], compared with fewer than 10 percent today.”
As China’s wages rise and the cost of increasingly capable robots falls—expect to not only see China adopt more robots, but expect to see US firms bring some manufacturing back home. (Just don’t expect them to hire too many more humans.)
These trends apply elsewhere too. South Korea, for example, is roboticizing faster than anyone, and 40% of manufacturing jobs there may be automated by 2025.
But according to BCG, the revolution won’t be equally revolutionary everywhere at once. Some industries—like textiles—are still relatively more difficult to automate, and labor costs are lower than in other industries. Automation will then be slower.
Meanwhile, regulations favoring humans over robots may prevent quick adoption in certain countries. BCG notes that of the top 25 manufacturing export economies, many of the slowest to adopt robots are in Europe, despite having some of the highest wages in the world and aging workforces. Among other factors, labor laws in these countries may make it difficult to replace human workers with robots.
All this hints at the emergence of a fascinating shift in the global economy: In the future, large manufacturing countries may not just compete for the cost of human labor—they’ll increasingly compete with robotics adoption too. BCG writes:
"We believe that as wage gaps between low-cost and high-cost economies continue to narrow, robot adoption could emerge as an important new factor that will contribute to redrawing the competitive balance among economies in global manufacturing.
The future's manufacturing powerhouses, then, will be those countries in which the robot revolution takes root earliest and moves swiftest.
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#429354 All In: Artificial Intelligence Beats ...

Artificial intelligence has bested the world's top poker players in a 120,000-hand match of Heads-Up, No-Limit Texas Hold'em poker. Continue reading

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