Greg Galitzine : Robotics
Greg Galitzine

September 2009

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Adept Unveils New Food Handling Robot

September 30, 2009

Pleasanton, CA-based Adept Technology has announced that its new robot for high-speed food handling, the Adept Quattro s650HS, which has been accepted by the USDA, will be on display at Pack Expo 2009. According to the company, Quattro s650HS is the only USDA Accepted parallel robot available for meat and poultry processing.

 

The Pack Expo show will be held in Las Vegas, October 5-7.

 

Rush LaSelle, director of global sales and marketing for Adept Technology, Inc., said, "The Adept Quattro s650HS has been designed to give food packagers the highest possible speeds for raw-food handling, without compromising cleanliness and hygienic standards."

 

The Quattro line is specifically designed for high-speed manufacturing, packaging, material handling, and assembly applications. The robot features a unique four-arm kinematic, which is designed to enable higher speeds and faster accelerations.



Russian Army Considering UAVs

September 30, 2009

An item over at defpro.com says that the Russian Army is planning to add tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to its reconnaissance battalions. In an interview with ITAR-TASS quoted on the defpro.com site, General Vladimir Boldyrev said that Russia is planning to equip the units with remotely piloted tactical aircraft.

 

According to the General, the first UAVs to be deployed would have ranges of 25 to 100 kilometers and that Russia might subsequently introduce long-endurance tactical UAVs with ranges up to 500 kilometers. Boldyrev said the longer range UAVs would likely be operated by the Air Force.

 

In 2009, Russia signed a contract with Israel for the purchase of a number of samples of unmanned aerial vehicles for military purposes, valued at approximately $50 million. However, the General indicated in the interview that Russia would soon begin development of its own UAVs. The development of domestic unmanned aircraft for intelligence and other activities is reportedly being carried out at the Yegorievsk military base.

New Group Aims to Curb Military Use of Robots

September 30, 2009

According to a report in the New Scientist, a group of experts has joined forces to promote a campaign to limit the use of robotic military hardware, calling for autonomous weapons systems to be banned from space and that robotic systems should be banned from carrying nuclear weapons.

 

Roboticist Noel Sharkey at the University of Sheffield, UK; physicist J├╝rgen Altmann of Dortmund University of Technology, Germany; Robert Sparrow of the Centre for Human Bioethics, Monash University, near Melbourne, Australia; and philosopher Peter Asaro of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey met in Sheffield in early September to discuss a series of issues including the group's ethical concerns regarding military systems that make decisions independently of human operators.

 

At the conclusion of the group's meeting, the International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC) was formed.

 

In an interview with New Scientist, Sharkey voiced his concerns, saying, "We seem to be rushing headlong into the development of autonomous weapons systems without any real concern for the long-term impact on civilian populations."

 

Many nations either currently field or have plans to deploy remotely controlled, unmanned vehicles, robots, and aerial vehicles. One thing that most of these systems have in common is the inclusion of a human operator. ICRAC is concerned that the next generation of robots being developed for military purposes will remove direct human oversight with potentially devastating consequences.

 

To that end, the organization hopes to inspire a set of regulations that would apply to military robotics, much the same way current regulations govern the use of nuclear and biological weapons.

Health Robotics Announces SINOPHARM Deal

September 28, 2009

Last week we wrote about Health Robotics' expansion into the Australian market and their deal with Device Technologies Australia.

 

 

Today, the company announced an exclusive five-year strategic agreement with China National Pharmaceutical Foreign Trade Corporation (SINOPHARM Foreign Trade), which will distribute and support the company's CytoCare and i.v.STATION Robots.

 

SINOPHARM is a wholly owned People's Republic of China Government (PRC) company.

 

The arrangement is designed to enable SINOPHARM to safely, accurately and cost-effectively automate the preparation of hazardous and non-hazardous IV Admixtures in China, including Hong Kong and Macao.

 

"Health systems and government entities in China are determined to deliver the best health care and medication management to their people. The expansion of CytoCare and i.v.STATION into China will fulfill our Government's health care strategic direction and improve the provision of medical services in our country," stated Wu Jian Feng, General Manager of SINOPHARM Foreign Trade's Healthcare Division.

 

Werner Rainer, Health Robotics' CEO was excited to announce the deal.

Fighting Fire with Robots

September 28, 2009

Robots have long been viewed as a safer alternative to keep humans out of harm's way when it comes to deploying into hostile environments, be it in a military setting or other unsuitable environment. Now, news comes to us from South Korea that local firemen will soon be working alongside a pair of robotic firefighting machines that can be deployed into extreme conditions.

 

The two automated, wheeled robots will be tested in fire stations in Daegu, south of Seoul, and the trial period will run through November with 45 firehouses participating.

 

If all goes as planned, the firefighting robots will be deployed nationwide, according to officials at the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.

 

The first machine -- dubbed "Fire Spy Robot" -- was developed by Hoya Robot, and measures 12.5 centimeters in diameter (about 5 inches) and weighs 2kg (~4.4 lbs.). Its operator can maneuver the robot and see into the environment via an installed camera.

 

The second vehicle being tested, which was developed by DRB Fatec is larger, at 88 centimeters tall (34.6 inches) and 85 centimeters wide (33.5 inches).

Honda Unveils U3-X Personal Mobility Device

September 25, 2009

Honda has developed a new personal mobility technology and announced a compact experimental device, the U3-X,designed to provide free movement in all directions -- forward, backward, side-to-side, and diagonally.

 

The new device builds on the robotic research the company has developed in conjunction with its work on the ASIMO bipedal humanoid robot project. The U3-X also incorporates Honda's omni-directional driving wheel system (Honda Omni Traction Drive System, or HOT Drive System), which enables movement in all directions, including not only forward and backward, but also directly to the right and left and diagonally.

 

For a video demonstration visit Honda's Web site here.

 

Honda plans to continue research and development of the device and will conduct experiments in a real-world environment to determine practical uses of the device.

Seegrid Among Tech Firms Highlighted During G-20 Summit

September 25, 2009

As the G-20 descends on Pittsburgh this week, some local companies are taking advantage of the visit by the finance ministers and central bank governors to showcase their capabilities.

 

One example is Seegrid Corporation, a robotics company that develops industrial mobile robots for use in the material handling industry.

 

Seegrid, in cooperation with the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and the Pittsburgh G-20 Partnership, will host visits from the media and dignitaries to demonstrate Seegrid's robotics capabilities for real-world business applications.

 

The company's vision-guided robots automate the movement of product, resulting in improved flexibility, reduced operating costs and increased scalability.

 

"Seegrid represents the rebirth of Pittsburgh as a global robotics and technology hub," said Brad Wyland, Director of Product Strategy, Seegrid Corp. "We are not only showcasing how we drastically reduce operating costs for warehouse managers, but Seegrid also represents the opportunity that many high-tech companies have found in Pittsburgh -- the opportunity to draw from the world-renowned academic communities as well as the talent-rich labor force in order to build out the new face of business for this rapidly growing city."

 

Seegrid was founded in Pittsburgh in February 2003 as a spinout of Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute.

Transformers Items to be Auctioned Off

September 23, 2009

 

Bumblebee is for sale.

 

Oh, and so are Megan Fox's shorts.

 

 

According to a Reuters item, over 100 props, costumes and set pieces from the "Transformers" movie franchise will be sold at an auction in Calabasas, CA, on October 8 & 9.

 

Among the items expected to attract bids are an LG Bluetooth hero headset used by Megan Fox in Transformers, Two sets of NEST Team man-portable backpack flamethrowers, a 1977 Chevy Camaro Bumblebee car, and of course, the full-scale screen-used Hero Bumblebee robot from the 2007 film. Standing exactly 16 feet 10 7/8 inches tall and weighing 3,200 pounds -- currently disassembled and stored in boxes, the robot is expected to fetch between $60,000 and $80,000.

 

Of course, Megan Fox's motorcycle airbrushing costume worn as the character "Mikaela Banes" will attract bids from people interested in getting into the actress' shorts.

 

 

For those that prefer a bit more covered up look, they can bid on Fox's black leather motorcycle costume. Each outfit is expected to see bids of $3,000-$5,000.

 

Bids can be placed in person at the auction in Calabasas, by phone, or live on the Internet.

Health Robotics in Strategic Partnership with Device Technologies Australia

September 23, 2009

Yesterday we touched on the advances of robot radiosurgery techniques and the increasing role they play in cancer treatment worldwide. Embodied in solutions like Intuitive Surgical's da Vinci surgical system, robot assisted surgery is becoming more commonplace in the operating theater.

                         

Device Technologies Australia, a major supplier of leading edge medical equipment and consumables to hospitals and healthcare professionals throughout Australia and New Zealand is touting a revolutionary robotic system designed safely, accurately and cost-effectively automate the sterile preparation of Oncology I.V. Admixtures.

 

Health Robotics is a supplier of life-critical intra-venous medication preparation, compounding, and dispensing robots, providing healthcare facilities worldwide with robotics technology and software automation solutions.

iRobot's Angle Honored with Lifetime Achievement

September 22, 2009

iRobot announced today that the company's chairman and CEO would be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the DEMOfall 2009 conference in San Diego.

 

Colin Angle will reportedly be presented with the award for his "significant contribution to the advancement of technology."

 

iRobot originally appeared at the DEMO conference in 2000.

 

The Bedford, Mass.-based company also recently announced a $6.1 million order from the U.S. Army for spare parts such as manipulator kits, battery packs, radios, antennas and hand controllers for use in maintaining iRobot's PackBot series of tactical mobile robots. iRobot has delivered more than 2,500 PackBots for armed services use.

 

The U.S. Army utilizes these robots to identify and neutralize improvised explosive devices (IEDs) as well as for reconnaissance and route clearance missions.

CyberKnife of Long Island Uses Robotics to Fight Cancer

September 22, 2009

CyberKnife of Long Island announced that the facility is helping cancer patients fight tumors with state-of-the-art radiosurgery technology.

 

 

 

Richard Byrnes, MD, the center's Medical Director, said, "The advanced technology behind CyberKnife uses real-time image guidance technology and computer controlled robotics to deliver an extremely precise dose of radiation to the tumor, avoiding the surrounding healthy tissue and adjusting for patient and tumor movement during treatment."

 

According to Accuray - the creators of the CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System - the solution offers cancer patients a non-invasive alternative to surgery for the treatment of both cancerous and non-cancerous tumors anywhere in the body, including the prostate, lung, brain, spine, liver, pancreas and kidney. The treatment delivers beams of high dose radiation to tumors with extreme accuracy.

 

Traditionally, radiosurgery systems that deliver precise high-dose radiation directly to a tumor have been used to treat cancers affecting the brain. This usually required the use of rigid frames that were screwed into the patient's skull. By leveraging continual image-guidance technology with a compact linear accelerator that has the ability to move in three dimensions according to the treatment plan, doctors can use CyberKnife to target tumors anywhere in the body, and from different directions, so as to avoid damaging healthy organs with targeted radiation.

 

Accuray's CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System has been installed all across the globe in medical institutions from Japan and South Korea to India, Turkey, Canada, and in treatment centers across the United States.

 

As of April, the company's equipment had been used to treat over 50,000 cancer patients worldwide.