September 2017 Digital Issue: Plastic bearings step up to the plate + more

In this issue: 82 Plastic bearings step up to the plate 66 Hybrid servos vs. standard servos: how do they stack up? 88 The IoT and motion control fuels a rising tide of Rapsberry PI, BeagleBoard an Arduino Boards 96 How IIoT enhances management tools     Another look at reshoring Politicians’ claims to the

Intuitive Surgical can’t slip shareholder suit

Intuitive Surgical (NSDQ:ISRG) wasn’t able to dodge a proposed class action suit against it claiming it misrepresented the safety of its robotic surgical equipment and caused stock price to drop after a California federal judge kept the motion alive late last month. US District Judge Edward Davila said that investors in the case had sufficiently plead…

Mazor Robotics ticks up on Q3 prelims

Mazor Robotics (NSDQ:MZOR) shares ticked up today after the Israeli robot-assisted surgery company reported its preliminary sales numbers for the third quarter. Caesarea, Israel-based Mazor, which last month closed a third, $40 million tranche as part of its deal with Medtronic (NYSE:MDT), said it expects to post sales of $17.2 million for the 3 months ended…

TransEnterix escapes shareholders lawsuit

TransEnterix (NYSE:TRXC) last week won the dismissal of a shareholders lawsuit brought over the collapse of its SurgiBot program, with a federal judge ruling that the company and its management and investors didn’t mislead shareholders about the robot-assisted surgery platform’s prospects with the FDA. The case dates back to the spring of 2016, when Research Triangle Park,…

Linear-Motion Solutions for the Design Engineer Tech Tips

Recirculating Slide Guides Recirculating slide guides excel in three areas: applications needing longer strokes, designs with space constraints and configurations where cost is a primary concern. Because of the unique design, travels are only limited by the maximum rail length of each profile size.

Problem Solving with CompactRIO Hardware

Download National Instruments Ebook CompactRIO Controllers are high-performance embedded controllers with industrial I/O modules, extreme ruggedness, industry-standard certifications, and integrated vision, motion, industrial communication, and human machine interface (HMI) capabilities.

Googly-eyed educational robot launches own Kickstarter

The six-legged educational robot Vorpal Combat Hexapod from Vorpal Robotics used one of its appendages to launch its own Kickstarter campaign. “We gave the honor to the oldest surviving prototype hexapod,” founder and product developer Steve Pendergrast said in a press release. “Its name is Scrum. Every Vorpal Combat Hexapod has an individual name.” The campaign…

New synthetic muscle step forward for soft robotics

A research team from Columbia Engineering’s Creative Machines lab developed a synthetic soft muscle that has a strain density 15 times larger than natural muscle and can lift 1,000 times its own weight that could propel soft robotics creation forward. According to the study “Soft Material for Soft Actuators” published in Nature Communications, the material…

ABB Ltd. to double China robotics production

ABB Ltd. is set to double its robot production capacity in China by increasing the number of research employees in the country, according to CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer. The decision comes as ABB is jockeying with competing robotics companies Kuka AG and Fanuc for share in China’s $11 billion robotics industry. “ABB is ahead of Kuka…

Creaform launches its new Go!SCAN 3D + VXmodel solution for under 20K USD

Creaform, a worldwide leader in portable 3D measurement solutions and engineering services, announced a new, limited time only promotional offer for its white-light professional-grade 3D scanners, the Go!SCAN 3D, for under 20K USD. The special offer also includes the scan-to-CAD software, VXmodel. 3D scanning has proven to speed up product development, improve quality and lower […]

Mind-melding robots merge to work together

These mind-melding robots can work autonomously, merge to operate as one and even self-heal by replacing malfunctioning pieces. Researchers at Université libre de Bruxelles developed this series of small robots that are controlled by a single brain and mergeable nervous system. In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers explained how the system consists of a…

Reactive Robotics receives second round funding

Munich-based company Reactive Robotics GmbH secured a second seven-digit funding round to continue its work in rehabilitation robotics development. Investors included new lead investor Dr. Doll Holding GmbH and existing investors MTIP MedTech Innovation Partners AG, High-Tech Gründerfonds, Bayern Kapital and TQ-Group. Reactive Robotics intends to use the funds to further market entry in Germany…

Investors merge firms, raise fund to support AI

Investors Jennifer Gill Roberts and Kelly Coyne are merging their respective companies, seed-stage investment firm Grit Labs and go-to-market firm Pitch, under the name Grit Labs to invest in and guide companies performing research in artificial intelligence and robotics. They have also created a $30 million fund to focus on B2B robotics powered by AI…

DOT updates driverless vehicle guidelines

This week, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced updated safety guidelines for driverless vehicles while visiting a testing facility in Ann Arbor, Mich. The new document outlining the guidelines, Automated Driving Systems (ADS): Vision for Safety 2.0, is published on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website and shares industry best practices and voluntary safety assessments companies…

Johns Hopkins researchers set medical drone delivery record

With a 3-hour, 161-mile flight across the Arizona desert, researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine completed a record-distance medical drone delivery. During the flight, the drone’s payload system maintained the temperature of the human blood samples stored in a temperature-controlled chamber onboard, keeping them viable for lab analysis, according to the findings…

Researchers complete automated crop plant and harvest

A team from Harper Adams University and agricultural solutions company Precision Decisions successfully planted, tended and harvested a crop of barley using only autonomous machines, a project they called Hands Free Hectare. “This project aimed to prove that there’s no technological reason why a field can’t be farmed without humans working the land directly now…

Study: artificial ‘skin’ could improve robot sensing

Researchers have found a material that can mimic human skin and improve robots’ sensing capabilities. Usually rigid semiconductor materials that create robots’ circuits limit the machines’ movement or sensing, either because they are not flexible or don’t permit electrons to flow efficiently. But the rubber electronics and sensors tested by a University of Houston team…

Corindus launches post-approval study for CorPath GRX coronary system

Corindus Vascular Robotics announced the first patient enrollment in a post-market study of its second-generation CorPath GRX System, a robot-assisted system for percutaneous coronary interventions such as stenting. “Enrollment of the first patient in the Precision GRX registry is a major milestone for the company and we look forward to the participation of leading centers…

Avitas uses AI to make industrial inspections quicker, safer

General Electric subsidiary Avitas Systems is using artificial intelligence technology from AI company Nvidia to automate industrial inspections, reducing costs, turnaround time and risk. Using a team of drones, crawlers or wheeled robots and autonomous underwater vehicles, Avitas performs inspections at sites in the energy, transportation and oil and gas sectors, such as power plants,…

New Amazon facility combines man-power with automation

Amazon opened a new fulfillment center in Staten Island where employees and robots will interact to carry out operations, creating 2,250 full-time jobs. “We are excited to bring our first fulfillment center to New York and work alongside the state’s incredible workforce,” customer fulfillment VP Sanjay Shah said in a press release. “The support of…

Polar Capital to launch AI, automation fund

Polar Capital said it plans to launch an automation and artificial intelligence fund to support companies worldwide working in industrial automation, AI, robotics and advanced materials. “Technology is changing the world we live in and the pace of disruption is accelerating – knowledge of technology is becoming critical for all investors,” CEO Gavin Rochussen said…

Drones conduct cell tower inspections following Hurricane Harvey

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the New Jersey Innovation Institute Defense & Homeland Security Innovation Lab is working with engineering firm Maser Consulting to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles to inspect cell towers in Houston. “We have teamed with Maser Consulting to have two crews on site in Houston to conduct video inspections for several…

FIRST Tech Challenge reveals season adventure theme

This year’s FIRST Tech Challenge for students in grades 7 to 12 grade will see participation among 60,000 students on 6,000 teams in 25 countries. Founded in 1989, FIRST builds student interest in science, technology, engineering and math through a series of robotics competitions for K-12 students. “The true value of FIRST Tech Challenge is…

NASA funds next phase of robotic satellite assembly project

The National Air & Space Administration awarded the next phase of funding to Space Systems Loral, a spacecraft systems provider, modifying their contract to continue work on the Dragonfly on-orbit satellite assembly program. The partnership between NASA and SSL intends to create a semiautonomous robotic system to assemble satellites in space. The software to run…

California lawmaker pushes robot tax

A California lawmaker wants to use a tax to reduce the possible consequences of robots sucking up jobs as automation becomes more widespread. San Francisco city supervisor Jane Kim launched a campaign in August called Jobs of the Future Fund to study how a statewide tax, essentially an income tax, on robots that displace employees…