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  • What's New In Robotics?  18.01.2019

    Good morning. This week, Boeing announces collaboration with Japanese robotics firms, Finnish universities launch EUR32 million advanced manufacturing project and Fraunhofer spin-off gets funding for its robot programming system. We also catch up with China's lunar lander, discover how California police ended standoff using a robot, meet a touchscreen-tapping, Nintendo-DS playing robot and much more...  

    Cobots & Manufacturing 

        Robotics start-up drag&bot GmbH, a spin-off of the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation, has completed a seed financing round in excess of EUR1m (USD1.4m) for its system, which is designed to simplify robot programming.  (H/T eeNews Europe)

    Employee at Drag&Bot working with a cobot
    Credit:  drag&bot

        Boeing announced plans to work with Japanese robotics companies on the development of next-generation, electric propulsion aircraft.  Via Nikkei Asian Review:

    Mitsubishi Heavy is working with industrial robot maker Fanuc to automate airframe assembly and other processes. Kawasaki Heavy has fully introduced its own robotics technology in aircraft production. The collaboration with Boeing will also incorporate the "internet of things" and artificial intelligence to automate manufacturing.

        Material sciences specialists 3M and Industry 4.0 solutions provider Eckhart announced the successful launch of the 3M Automated Taping System (ATS) this week.  ATS is a cobot-based automated tape application system jointly developed by both companies and designed for applications in the automotive and industrial market.

    Custom grippers on UR Cobot
    Credit: 3M

    Business Wire reports:

    Both 3M and Eckhart believe significant opportunities exist in the automotive and industrial space to use the 3M ATS to apply adhesion promoters, create extended liner tabs, and precisely position cut-to-length tape or die cuts onto components.

        Finland's University of Tampere and VTT are set to coordinate research on robotics and agile production methods for SMEs through two EU-funded projects with a total funding of EUR32m (USD36.4m), both of which officially launched this week.  


    The TRINITY project is designed to provide SMEs with "new technical and standardized solutions," cost-efficient robotics systems for short production runs, tailored training and access to "Europe-wide competence networks."  The University of Tampere will focus on human-robot collaboration in the manufacturing industry to enable the "manufacturing of short-run products of high quality."  (H/T Industry Europe

        The World Economic Forum (WEF) has named the BMW Group Plant Regensburg in Germany as a ‘Lighthouse of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,' recognizing its "pioneering role in the digitalization of industrial production." 

    Inside the BMW plant.  Credit:  BMW

    Via Industry 4.0 Today:

    According to the WEF, especially by using the custom BMW Group Intranet-of-Things platform, the Regensburg Plant cut the time to deploy all new applications by 80% leading to a significant reduction in logistics costs.

        Reliance, Ireland's distribution partner for Universal Robots, has formally opened a new 60,000sq ft facility to support growing demand for cobots.  (H/T The Irish Times

        Robotnik Automation released video showing its mobile manipulator in action...



        There's no doubt about it, Rick Haas, CEO of Mahindra Automotive North America, explained in an opinion piece for Detroit Free Press this week, "manufacturing is cool again":

    Let’s ensure that we continue to foster a full public and private sector commitment to advancing programs, like manufacturing apprenticeships and worker training, to provide a path for young people to achieve a rewarding career in advanced high-tech manufacturing. U.S. global competitiveness will depend on it.

        And in other cobot and industrial robot news...

    • Robotics Predictions: The impact of IoT, collaborative robots and startups  (Robotics Tomorrow)
    • Israel-Japan partners eye robot testers, autonomous forklifts on factory floor  (Times of Israel)
    • Using AI in manufacturing processes surges quality and design  (TechTarget)
    • Italy’s Industria 4.0 Transformation  (Automation World)
    • Techman showcasing collaborative robots at RoboDEX 2019  (DigiTimes)


        For a few weeks, the moon played host to a tiny, experimental garden, courtesy of China's Chang'e-4 robot probe. 

      Cotton sprouting on the moon.  Credit:  China National Space Administration/Xinhua

    A canister within the Chang'e-4 probe's lander contained seeds of cotton, rapeseed, potato and Arabidopsis, eggs of the fruit fly and some yeast, to form a simple mini biosphere, Xinhua reported:

    After Chang'e-4 landed on the far side of the moon on Jan. 3, the ground control center instructed the probe to water the plants to start the growing process.  [...]  Images sent by the probe showed that a cotton sprout had started to grow, though no other plants were found growing. 

    Last Sunday, as the first lunar night since Chang'e-4's arrival fell, temperatures fell to -170 degrees Centigrade, making it impossible for any of the lifeforms involved to survive and bringing the short-lived gardening experiment to an end. 

        Looking for roundups of all the action from CES 2019?   AUVSI explored the best autonomous technology, Bloomberg reported on robot's massive popularity at the event,  and Robotics Business Review shared '4 floor takeaways.'  For a bonus, be sure to check out Mashable's 'I went on a date with a CES robot. He was nice,' and Asian Robotics Review's 'Chinese Exhibitors Down by 20% at CES2019, But…'

        The University of British Columbia, Canada revealed Wander Wood, an installation carved by a state-of-the-art eight-axis industrial robot from KUKA.

    Credit: University of British Columbia

        Ars Technica ran a fascinating feature on MASHbot, a "touchscreen-tapping, Nintendo DS-playing" bot developed by 'Funkmaster' (a hobbyist creator with a degree from University of Ontario Institute of Technology).   

    Free your fingers from touchscreen pounding with MASHbot.  Credit: Kyle Orland

        Meanwhile, in other news...

    • NTU Singapore and Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces launch joint lab in healthcare and robotics  (AlphaGalileo)
    • Toyota hopes robots can be helpers in aging Japanese society  (Denver Post)
    • Algorithm gives robots an instinctive understanding of how to use tools  (PhysOrg)
    • Grocery robots detect spills with some far off human help (KTAR News)
    • Meet Misty II: The Robot As a Platform, Not a Tool  (Design News)

        Hope you can join next week, for more of the latest robotics news.  Until then...


    Five vids for Friday

    1.  Assistive robots --developed for medical applications-- can transform peoples' lives by enabling them to carry out functions that once seemed impossible.  KINOVA released video this week showing how its JACO robot arm is making a difference. 




    2.  The Morteza Gharib Caltech Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies (CAST) shared video of recent control tests of its extraordinary LEONARDO (LEg ON Aerial Robotic DrOne) bipedal drone.  




    3.  Scientists from EPFL’s Biorobotics Laboratory used the fossilized skeleton and footprints of a 300-million-year-old animal fossilized animal to develop a robot that enables them to explore how the prehistoric animal got around.  




    4.  California police found a creative use for one of their robots when they used it to safely deliver a vape pen to a suspect, thereby ending a 6-hour standoff.  (H/T Sacramento Bee


    5.  The U.S. government unveiled proposals that would dramatically expand legal civilian drone flights while also improving security.  Bloomberg's Alan Levin reported on the topic this week.  


    Read more »
  • 5 Reasons Why It's Not Too Late to Start Learning Robotics

     I won’t try to sell you on a career in robotics by promising that the learning curve is short and easy. On the contrary, thriving in this field is just as difficult as entering its vast and unpredictable world. Presuming that you have passion, that doesn’t mean that you can’t master robotics in your adult years.

    And here’s why you should start learning robotics now.

    1. Robotics Is About Innovation

    Giant human-controlled robot

    Giant human-controlled robot made by Hankook Mirae Technology

    Robotics is all about innovation, pushing limits, and breaking grounds. Because there’s something new in this field every day (here’s what’s trending this week), learning robotics is both demanding and exciting. So much so, in fact, that keeping up the pace would be much harder if you were any younger.

    2. It’s Basically Building Stuff

    Basically it is, though on a much more advanced level. But if you do like creating something out of nothing with your bare hands, then robotics may give you the skills and tools for doing that on a wider scale. You can build machines to solve your own pain points and invent things to help others solve theirs.

    3. It Gives You a Different Perspective

    the AnDy project from the IIT- Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia
    The AnDy project from the IIT- Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia.

    The more complex a field is (and robotics definitely fall under this category), the bigger the reward. Granted, your enthusiasm may not make you a robot scientist anytime soon, but it can give you a different perspective on this digital world, hone your problem-solving skills, and boost your creativity.

    4. It’s Fun and Challenging

    Successful entrepreneurs and fulfilled people challenge themselves on a daily basis. It’s a way to stay out of the rut, but also to grow and advance in both business and life. And what is robotics if not challenging? Inventing, building, and robot programming is also fun, which makes it a brilliant leisure pursuit.

    5. Robots Are the Future

    Finally, we do live in a world where robots are productive members of our society. Digital robots like chatbots and virtual assistants keep us company while we surf the internet, shop for groceries, and jog in the morning. Then there are tangible robots, which continue to make our work hours way easier.

    Like it or not, robots will keep growing smarter and more capable of doing our hard work. With every new smart application, skeptics are learning that robotics isn’t about replacing people, but about helping them reach their full potential. Wouldn’t you want to contribute too by advancing this field?

    Sure, you’d need to study really hard and sacrifice a lot of your free time. But still, learning robotics is definitely possible even in adult age, and as long as you’re passionate about smoothing the path for new generations. If you’re interested in how to get into robotics, ask us anything in our comment section below.

    collaborative robots ebook robotiq

    Read more »
  • Stéphane Vigot Takes EuRobotiq into Lyon's Den

    As our EMEA Manager, Stéphane is not only a devoted father but a successful leader. He’s responsible for building a strong and effective team for our European market, where he will help make sure each of our teammates provides excellent services. With outstanding communication skills and a strong sense of integrity, he instantly puts everyone at ease, from new hires to longtime customers. If there’s one person you need to know in Europe, in our EuRobotiq team, it’s him.


    Stéphane Vigot

    Manager, EMEA (Europe Middle East & Africa)

     "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it, you'll land among the stars." Oscar Wilde

    • Joined in : 2017
    • Describes self as : Loving Parent, Advanced Bookworm & Globe Trotter
    • Greatest strengths : Honesty, Bravery & Humour

    Meet our EuRobotiq Team - The interview

    How did you start working with Robotiq?

    Vigot-Stephane_ProfileI met our CEO Samuel Bouchard when I was setting up my own business, Caristix, which is built around a software platform for patient data exchange. We were both part of a group of Quebec City entrepreneurs and attended many workshops together.

    Years later, I was at a point in my life when I needed to spend more time in Europe, which is why I left Caristix. At the same time Robotiq was restructuring its sales and marketing teams. One of my friends, who worked as a consultant for them, told me “Hey, there’s a small company in the robotics industry on the south shore of Quebec City. They’re looking for someone in Europe!”

    Since I knew Samuel personally, I immediately gave him a call. We met shortly after and they made me an offer. That’s how our collaboration started. My bicultural competences, extensive European network, and my skills in management were strong assets for Robotiq. Plus, Samuel and I have always got along well. It turned out to be a perfect match!

    What do you work on? What does that mean for the world?

    I wear many hats! I’m responsible for day-to-day operations in Europe, which means managing everything related to Europe—not just sales, but all the activities. These include ISS (Inside Sales Specialists), Integration Coaches, CMS (Channel Sales Managers), and Technical Services in addition to taking care of our European office.

    What I like most about my job is building a strong and effective team. I serve as a facilitator, making sure everyone has the right tools to work efficiently and to better serve our partners and end-users. I want them to feel connected to their work and share our vision to “free human hands from repetitive tasks.”

    I’m definitely a social butterfly, so I also value networking. I tend to quickly adapt to new situations and people and I always aim to find solutions that will meet everyone’s needs in practical terms.

    What are your biggest values?

    Vigot-Stéphane_familleAbove all, I value honesty: It's not always easy to say what's on your mind, so I appreciate people who speak up for what they believe in.

    Compassion is also something I consider important in the way I live and work. I always try to put myself in the other person’s shoes. Everyone has their own story, challenges and scars. We should always take that into consideration. This is where my experience with different places and cultures comes in handy. I grew up in France, completed a work-study placement in the US, and then immigrated to Canada.

    Finally, I value enthusiasm and energy. I think it’s important to always be willing to get up, get out there, and get the job done.


    What do you do when you’re not working?

    My life is split between Europe and Canada. When I’m in Quebec City, I spend as much time as I can with my family. My kids are so important to me. I also love catching up with my teammates at Robotiq headquarters!

    In Europe, I enjoy time out with my friends. I’m also a real bookworm; I love reading books about history, and biographies of people who changed the course of the world.


    Stéphane Vigot at one of the 5 D-Day Landing Beaches in Normandy.

    Let's meet !

    Stéphane Vigot is one awesome Robotiq teammates among many others. Want to meet them all ? Read more about Meet the Team !


    Read more »

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