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Friday, October 20, 2023

What’s New in Robotics? 20.10.2023

Information briefs for the week check out breaking information from logistics leaders in U.S., with Symbotic and SoftBank partnering to create a WaaS referred to as GreenBox, with SoftBank moreover launching its Challenge R, and Amazon launching its Sequoia robotic/AI overhaul in Houston, then it’s grippers evolving into palms for industrial robots and cobots, and at last, the first-ever connecting of a robotic prosthetic hand on to the mind.

Lastly, tech assist for SME warehouses

U.S.-based Symbotic and Tokyo-based SoftBank are becoming a member of forces to create low-cost, AI-based logistics automation companies for small-to-medium (SME) warehouses, which the pair say is a $500 billion business. The joint enterprise is known as GreenBox Methods LLC and was initially capitalized 65% by Softbank and 35% by Symbotic, for a complete of $100 million.

symbotic-softbank-featuredIn line with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are “over 21,000 warehouse institutions within the US (as of 2023).” 80% of which have ZERO automation. With practically 15,000 of these warehouses within the SME class and unable to pay the reported $25 million it takes to automate, GreenBox will supply a warehouse as a service mannequin (WaaS).

Symbotic, which already generated “market warmth promoting AI-powered robotic warehouse administration programs” to mega-size shoppers, together with Walmart, Goal, and Albertson’s, will now supply a WaaS month-to-month service to warehouses that “don’t have the cash to purchase them outright.”

“I’ve seen lots of robotics tech and I’ve by no means seen something prefer it in my life,” TD Cowen analyst Joseph Giordano stated. “In comparison with what it replaces, it’s like day and night time.”

“GreenBox faucets into the highly effective potential of AI and different enabling applied sciences in provide chains, whereas additionally making the advantages of automation accessible to extra companies by an ‘as-a-service’ providing,” SoftBank’s Vikas Parekh stated in a launch.

“In partnership with Symbotic, GreenBox will equip clients with extra clever, streamlined, and scalable warehousing options whereas eliminating the burden of main capital expenditures.”

Tech watch: SoftBank’s secret “Challenge R”

Seems to be just like the $100 million Symbotic-SoftBank hookup as GreenBox Methods might be only the start of a brand new run at buying extra rising applied sciences. What SoftBank calls “Challenge R”.

a11446a0-7b35-462a-be52-d1804c1b0822-S7E3JnChallenge R is a tightly-held secret enterprise, however SoftBank Chairman Masayoshi Son, in line with current leaked stories, “has met with a number of high-profile buyers and entrepreneurs to debate potential investments in areas comparable to synthetic intelligence, robotics, and autonomous automobiles.”

Regardless of the remaining investments, look to AI to be the driving force. Son-san stated he believes synthetic intelligence will surpass human intelligence inside a decade, and the businesses and those who work with AI would be the leaders within the subsequent 10 to twenty years.

As for logistics, SoftBank already has investments in Boston Dynamics, AutoStore, Berkshire Gray (acquired in 2023), along with its current joint ‘Warehouse as a Service’ (WaaS) enterprise with Symbotic, referred to as GreenBox Methods (see above).

“Challenge R is seen as a approach for SoftBank to diversify its funding portfolio and to position new bets on rising applied sciences. The corporate has been going through rising scrutiny in recent times over its investments within the Imaginative and prescient Fund, which has misplaced billions of {dollars}.”

Amazon overhauls with new robotics & AI: Sequoia

AMAZON-SEQUOIA-1Amazon introduced a brand new logistics overhaul for its operations utilizing superior robotics and AI that it calls Sequoia (reference to large, historic timber). Amazon launched the system this week at one among its warehouses in Houston.

Sequoia, stated David Guerin, the corporate’s director of robotic storage expertise, helps to place gadgets on the market on-line a lot quicker and makes it simpler to foretell supply estimates. The brand new program reduces the time it takes to satisfy an order by as much as 25%, added Guerin, and might establish and retailer stock as much as 75% quicker.

“The quicker we will course of stock, the larger the chance that we’re going to have the ability to ship after we stated we may,” Guerin stated. He expects the brand new system to make up a good portion of the corporate’s operations within the subsequent three to 5 years.

Confronted with elevated competitors, Amazon has labored to grow to be quicker at delivering its merchandise. The corporate beforehand remodeled its operations to a regionally centered mannequin meant to retailer gadgets nearer to clients. Executives see a connection between supply speeds and development.

From grippers to palms for industrial robots

Arms for humanoids? Refined hand expertise designed for medical prosthetics may find yourself on industrial robots and cobots in factories and warehouses…and really in all probability as all-purpose palms for humanoid robots.

a-human-inspired-robotAt MIT, in what’s being referred to as “more and more refined robotic programs designed to imitate each the construction and performance of the human physique,” a robotic hand has been developed that might effectively serve each a medical and industrial operate.

Robotic palms for medical functions are costly to construct and troublesome to scale into mass manufacturing, subsequently making them ill-suited as grippers for industrial robotics. Till now.

“Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Expertise (MIT) lately created a new extremely exact robotic hand that may very well be simpler to upscale, as its elements will be crafted utilizing generally employed methods, comparable to 3D printing and laser reducing.”

“This work presents a hybrid bio-inspired robotic hand that mixes delicate supplies and inflexible components,” wrote Chao Liu, Andrea Moncada and their colleagues. “Sensing is built-in into the inflexible our bodies leading to a easy approach for pose estimation with excessive sensitivity.”

Ultimately, say the researchers, their new design may very well be built-in with different robotic limbs to create scalable humanoid robots which can be higher at manipulating objects.

Launched in a paper A Modular Bio-inspired Robotic Hand with Excessive Sensitivity revealed within the journal IEEE Worldwide Convention on Smooth Robotics (RoboSoft, 2023), the MIT hand is predicated on a so-called modular construction, that means that it contains a number of constructing blocks that may be rearranged to attain totally different actions (see video).


Actual “thoughts management” for robotic hand

In a first-ever for medical prosthetic {hardware}, a robotic hand has been made to attach straight with the mind and combine with the nervous and skeletal programs…giving actual management and actual bodily sensations to the recipient.

133603136c5023a899da7b877dda236cBeforehand, the prevailing approach for a robotic limb was myoelectric, which is a motor and battery on board the robotic hand that reacts to electrical indicators by sensors on the outside pores and skin which can be generated by muscle tissues within the residual limb.

Nevertheless, “myoelectric indicators recorded by floor electrodes are susceptible to disturbance and interference, thus rendering prosthetic management in every day life unreliable,” say researchers.

Osseointegration, however, is the method that connects bones to the electrodes implanted within the nerves and muscle tissues. For Karin, her first operation in 2018 connected an MIA Hand from Italy-based Prensilia, which now, 5 years on, a joint medical group has additional endowed with 80% of her former hand management and sensation.

The surgical procedure, referred to as “focused muscle reinnervation” re-arranges nerves and muscle tissues within the residual limb and hyperlinks them to the remaining muscle tissues. This permits the mind to ship indicators to the prosthesis by the nerves, identical to it could do with a pure limb (see video).

To develop Karin’s new bionic limb, “a multidisciplinary group of engineers and surgeons from Sweden, Australia and Italy created what they’re calling a revolution for these struggling limb loss, fusing surgical procedure, implants and AI.”

Rickard Brånemark, an MIT researcher on the mission says: “By combining osseointegration with reconstructive surgical procedure, implanted electrodes, and AI, we will restore human operate in an unprecedented approach.”

For the over 50 million limb amputees worldwide, that information is one thing to smile about. And for thousands and thousands extra, right here’s proof that robotics can create new jobs!





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