Humanoid Robot Ready for Testing in Space

March 18, 2011

“Check me out. I’m in space!”

Maybe it doesn’t exactly have the same ring to it as “…One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind…” but it is something of a big deal nonetheless.

After several delays in breaking the surly bonds of Earth, and two and a half weeks in foam packing, Robonaut 2 – the first humanoid robot ever launched into space – tweeted his arrival (via a ground-based NASA employee) to the final frontier.

Robonaut 2 was delivered to the International Space Station on the shuttle Discovery, which carried the robot on its last voyage into space.

Health Robotics Completes R&D of New Cancer Therapy Robot

March 7, 2011

Health Robotics, a manufacturer of intravenous medication robots has announced that it has completed research, development and factory testing of its next-generation Cancer Therapy Robot, i.v.STATION ONCO. Health Robotics plans to unveil its new robot at the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) in Vienna on 1 April 2011.

Designed to complement the other offerings in the Health Robotics suite of sterile compounding solutions, i.v.STATION ONCO is designed to automatically compound, cap, and label commercially-available soft plastic bags and syringes from eight different brands and 10 different sizes within an ISO-5 environment on negative pressure.

Generale de Sante, a leading private hospital care provider in France, is set to accept the i.v.STATION ONCO into a Paris-based facility for beta testing and early adopter status within approximately six months.

APlus Mobile Gets Navy R&D Nod

March 2, 2011

APlus Mobile, Inc., announced it has been awarded a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with SPAWAR, the R&D division of the Navy. This is the second such agreement for APlus Mobile.

At the heart of the accord is the firm’s Q40, which is a sealed server, and which will be incorporated into a next-generation robotic platform that SPAWAR is developing for all branches of the military.

The Q40 sealed server runs Intel’s Core 2 Quad processors and chipsets, and is designed to deliver the necessary computing power to satisfy the highly complex mission tasks that today’s robots and autonomous vehicles perform to protect soldiers.

According to a release announcing the agreement, the server is shock mounted in a ventless, compact aluminum case, which prevents ingestion of solid or liquid contaminants, which can cause failures in the field.

Teal Group Study Highlights UAV Growth

March 2, 2011

Just released integrated market research from the Teal Group, tells us that Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have been the most dynamic growth sector of the world aerospace industry this decade.

According to Teal Group’s 2011 study UAV spending is estimated to nearly double over the next 10 years from current expenditures of $5.9 billion annually to $11.3 billion annually.

One of the study’s authors, Philip Finnegan is optimistic about the potential of the market space. “The UAV market will continue to be strong despite cuts in defense spending,” he said.

Discovery Set to Carry Robonaut 2 to ISS

October 27, 2010

As we reported in April, Robonaut 2 is headed to the International Space Station (ISS). The NASA and General Motors (GM)-designed humanoid robot is packed and ready for the scheduled November 1 launch aboard the space shuttle Discovery.   Robonaut 2 weighs 300 pounds and consists of a head, torso and two arms and two hands. The robot was designed to work alongside astronauts to complete chores and repairs aboard the International Space Station.   "This project exemplifies the promise that a future generation of robots can have both in space and on Earth, not as replacements for humans but as companions that can carry out key supporting roles," said John Olson, director of NASA's Exploration Systems Integration Office at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "The combined potential of humans and robots is a perfect example of the sum equaling more than the parts.

iRobot Receives a Pair of Contracts from the U.S. Navy

October 27, 2010

Bedford, MA-based iRobot Corp. announced this week that it had received two contracts from the Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO) at NASA's Stennis Space Center, in southern Mississippi, related to its iRobot Seaglider Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV).   The first contract, valued at up to $920,000 is for the delivery of the Seaglider UUVs. The second contract is for the upkeep and support of NAVOCEANO's existing fleet of Seaglider systems. This contract is reported to be valued at approximately $900,000.   According to the company, the iRobot Seaglider is a deep-diving UUV that is suitable for missions lasting many months and covering thousands of miles. The UUVs can be piloted from anywhere in the world.   The iRobot UUV was recently in the news for its role in data collection during the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

All Robotic Surgical Team Operates on Prostate Cancer Patient

October 20, 2010

Better McSleepy than McSneezy or McDopey, no?   The Montreal Gazette is reporting that doctors have successfully operated on a prostate cancer patient using two separate medical robotic solutions at once. Medical practitioners at Montreal General Hospital used the da Vinci surgical system developed by Intuitive Surgical in conjunction with an anesthesia robot developed and patented by the hospital's own medical staff, dubbed McSleepy.   The successful all-robotic surgery, which was overseen by a surgeon and an anesthesiologist, took place last week.   According to anesthesiologist Thomas Hemmerling, "The advantage to using these two robots together is that you can provide surgery and anesthesia with a higher degree of precision." Hemmerling directed McSleepy during the operation. The solution delivers "a much more stable anesthesia than you could do yourself," Hemmerling explained.

Aerosonde UAV Tested With Heavy Fuel Engine

October 20, 2010

AAI Corporation has successfully demonstrated its Aerosonde Mark 4.7 small unmanned aircraft system (SUAS) with a heavy fuel engine (HFE) at Fort Pickett in Virginia. AAI is a unit of Textron Systems.   According to Stephen Flach, Division Vice President, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems at AAI, "Our integration of a heavy fuel propulsion system onto the Aerosonde Mark 4.7 SUAS promises users increased performance, mission flexibility and convenience."   Based on information provided by the company, a heavy fuel propulsion system is critical for military forces for safety reasons and offers a logistical incentive as well. Kerosene-based fuels are less flammable than gasoline in shipboard environments, and by standardizing on a single type of heavy fuel for multiple assets (air and land based missions), the forces can achieve operational and cost savings.   The Aerosonde Mark 4.7 SUAS is described as a high-endurance platform designed for fast, easy launch and recovery from shipboard or small clearings

Accuray Lands at 113 on Deloitte's Technology Fast 500

October 20, 2010

Accuray, Inc., announced today that it received a ranking of number 113 on Technology Fast 500™, Deloitte's ranking of 500 of the fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies in North America.   Accuray is the company that develops and markets the CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System, The system is used to treat a variety of extracranial tumors, including those in the spine, lung, prostate, liver and pancreas. To date, the CyberKnife System has been used to deliver more than 100,000 treatments worldwide and more than 206 systems have been installed in hospitals around the globe.   "Accuray ... forged ahead in a challenging economic environment to realize exceptional growth," said Phil Asmundson, vice chairman and Deloitte's U.S. technology, media and telecommunications leader.

Toyota Developing Robot Assist Technology for Stroke Victims

October 19, 2010

Piranha Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) Hits The Waves

October 19, 2010

Zyvex Technologies announced that its Piranha USV, or unmanned surface vessel, has started a series of sea trials. The Piranha USV has a length of 54 feet and weighs less than 9,000 lbs. With a normal cruise speed of 25 knots (maximum cruising speed of over 45 knots) the Piranha is expected to offer on-station endurance of over 40 days.   The vessel is being developed with a number of missions in mind, including, search and rescue operations (SAR); anti piracy deployment; anti-submarine warfare (ASW); and other jobs as well.   The Piranha is built using Zyvex Technologies' Arovex carbon nanotube-reinforced carbon fiber prepreg. According to the firm, the lightweight Piranha offers 10 times the range, three times the payload, and a 75% increase in fuel efficiency compared to vessels built from heavier materials such as aluminium.   Click here to view a video showing the Piranha USV slicing through the waves of Puget Sound off the coast of Washington State.

Boeing Wins DARPA Development Contract

September 20, 2010

Boeing Defense, Space & Security recently signed an agreement with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop and fly the SolarEagle unmanned aircraft for the Vulture II demonstration program. Under the terms of the $89 million contract, SolarEagle will make its first demonstration flight in 2014.
  "SolarEagle is a uniquely configured, large unmanned aircraft designed to eventually remain on station at stratospheric altitudes for at least five years," explained Pat O'Neil, Boeing Phantom Works program manager for Vulture II. "That's a daunting task, but Boeing has a highly reliable solar-electric design that will meet the challenge in order to perform persistent communications, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions from altitudes above 60,000 feet."   The SolarEagle is designed to collect solar energy during the day, which is stored in fuel cells to power the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) through the night.   The SolarEagle demonstrator will remain in the upper atmosphere for 30 days during the testing phase.   Boeing also announced plans to develop a full-scale flight demonstrator, including maturation of the critical power system and structures technologies needed for the project.

Evolution Robotics Announces Mint Retail Partners

September 20, 2010

Evolution Robotics, Inc., announced that the Mint Automatic Floor Cleaner is now available for purchase through select retail partners and online channels. This inaugural set of retailers includes such familiar names as, Frontgate, Hammacher Schlemmer, Home Shopping Network, and SkyMall. According to the company, the Mint Automatic floor cleaner will be available in retail stores later this year.   Mint is designed exclusively for hard surface floor cleaning, dusting and "wet mopping" hard surface floors using cleaning cloths, such as Swiffer-brand Dry and Wet Cloths and other similar products.   "We are very excited to have a great group of retail partners assembled and selling Mint so customers can now experience the latest evolution in floor care," said Dr. Paolo Pirjanian, CEO of Evolution Robotics. "Early customer reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, reinforcing our belief that a hard surface floor cleaner that is automatic and easy to use serves an unmet need in the market."   Mint's square body shape allows the device to clean along edges of walls and into corners. According to the company, the device adapts to different home environments using a range of sensors including "first-of-their-kind" floor sensors to detect floor transitions and sensors for cleaning on slippery floors which allow Mint to adjust friction of the cleaning pad to maintain optimal traction with its wheels.

Schilling Robotics, DOF Subsea in ROV Deal

September 20, 2010

Schilling Robotics announced an order for two new 200hp UHD ROV systems from specialist subsea service company DOF Subsea. DOF Subsea is a specialist subsea service business that provides subsea construction, survey and inspection, repair and maintenance services.  
The agreement between the companies also calls for upgrades to two previously delivered systems. The two older systems, originally delivered in 2006 will be upgraded to the advanced UHD Gen II design, providing enhanced capabilities and performance.

Corindus Announces Results of Medical Device Study

September 20, 2010

Corindus Vascular Robotics announced the results of the first clinical study of the CorPath 200 System. The CorPath 200 is a medical device that offers interventional cardiologists complete PCI (percutaneous coronary intervention) procedure control from an interventional cockpit.   The trial - the first "in-human clinical study" of the CorPath 200 System - was conducted on eight patients to evaluate the safety and technical efficacy of the system in delivering and manipulating coronary guidewires and stent/balloon systems in PCI procedures.   The experiment demonstrated the CorPath 200 System's ability to deliver a guidewire and other angioplasty devices to a target lesion in a highly controlled manner.   The research was conducted at the Corbic Research Institute, Envigado, Colombia.   Corindus CEO David Handler was pleased with the results, stating that the ergonomic design of the CorPath 200 System improves the physician's ability to focus, enhances visualization, and offers precise robotic-assisted control.   "The first-in-human clinical study of the CorPath 200 System shows that for the first time a physician can execute an entire PCI procedure precisely and accurately without the pain, distraction and fatigue of manual procedures," he stated.   "We're extremely excited about the progress we continue to make in bringing the CorPath 200 System to market," Handler added. "We're even more excited about what this means for physicians and patients. We believe that a new robotic tool that improves procedure execution will ultimately help to further improve outcomes."