A three-way merger is shaking up the market for end-of-arm components that give robots task-specific abilities. The merging companies are Perception Robotics (US), OptoForce (Hungary), and On Robot (Denmark). The resulting company will be called OnRobot and will be headquartered in Denmark. Former CEO of Universal Robots, Enrico Krog Iversen, will manage the new enterprise. Collaborative robots (cobots) have transformed industrial automation in the last decade.
The sense of touch is the ability to perceive consistency, texture, and shape of objects that we manipulate, and the forces we exchange with them. Touch is a source of information that we effortlessly decode to smoothly and naturally grasp and manipulate objects, maintain our posture while walking, or avoid stumbling into obstacles, allowing us to plan, adapt, and correct actions in an ever-changing external world. As such, artificial devices, such as robots or prostheses, that aim to accomplish similar tasks must possess artificial tactile-sensing systems. On page 998 of this issue, Kim et al. (1) report on a "neuromorphic" tactile sensory system based on organic, flexible, electronic circuits that can measure the force applied on the sensing regions. The encoding of the signal is similar to that used by human nerves that are sensitive to tactile stimuli (mechanoreceptors), so the device outputs can substitute for them and communicate with other nerves (e.g., residual nerve fibers of amputees or motor neurons).
This is the most advanced robotic hand ever created - with a design that will lower the price significantly - marking a breakthrough for the field of prosthetics. The so-called Hennes hand, developed by Italian researchers, has only one motor that controls all five fingers, making it lighter, cheaper and more able to adapt to the shape of objects. It weighs about the same as a human hand, and uniquely uses sensors that react to electrical signals from the brain to the muscles, which is much simpler than other'myoelectric prosthetics'. The simplicity will allow the team to price the device about 30 percent cheaper than other models on the market, at 10,000 euros ($11,900). All together, lead researcher Lorenzo De Michieli says there has never been such a natural and accessible option for amputees.
ROME – Italian researchers on Thursday unveiled a new robotic hand they say allows users to grip objects more naturally and features a design that will lower the price significantly. The Hennes robotic hand has a simpler mechanical design compared with other such myoelectric prosthetics -- which are characterized by sensors that react to electrical signals sent from the brain to the muscles -- said researcher Lorenzo De Michieli. He helped develop the hand in a lab backed by the Italian Institute of Technology and the INAIL state workers' compensation prosthetic center. The Hennes has only one motor that controls all five fingers, making it lighter, cheaper and more able to adapt to the shape of objects. "This can be considered low-cost because we reduce to the minimum the mechanical complexity to achieve, at the same time, a very effective grasp, and a very effective behavior of the prosthesis," De Michieli said.
Soft Robotics, a Cambridge-based robotics firm founded in 2013, just raised $20 million in an oversubscribed private equity round. Aptly named, the company makes soft, dexterous grippers for industrial robots. But Soft Robotics is one of a number of companies and grad labs around the world racing to give the current generation of industrial robots a feature that's been tantalizingly out of reach: Human-like dexterity and the ability to grasp and manipulate delicate items. When that happens, the real robot revolution will arrive. Consider the current state of the robotics industry.
JERUSALEM – "Has" or "had"? Earlier this week the White House quietly walked back a charge that Iran maintains an active nuclear weapons program, saying it really meant that Iran had one before the 2015 nuclear agreement. A statement sent to reporters Monday by Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that a cache of Iranian documents released by Israel is "consistent with what the United States has long known: Iran has a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program." But intelligence agencies in the U.S. and overseas have stated that the 2015 nuclear deal has frozen Iran's nuclear program. The version of Sanders' statement posted to the White House website was later modified to make clear that Iran "had" such a program.
JERUSALEM – Israel's prime minister on Monday unveiled what he said was a "half ton" of Iranian nuclear documents collected by Israeli intelligence, claiming the trove of information proved that Iranian leaders covered up a nuclear weapons program before signing a deal with the international community in 2015. In a speech delivered in English and relying on his trademark use of visual aids, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that the material showed that Iran cannot be trusted, and encouraged President Donald Trump to withdraw from the deal next month. "Iran lied big time," Netanyahu declared. Netanyahu's presentation, delivered on live TV from Israeli military headquarters in Tel Aviv, was his latest attempt to sway international opinion on the nuclear deal. The agreement offered Iran relief from crippling sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.
Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We'll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here's what we have so far (send us your events!): Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today's videos. If you've ever wondered why Cassie continually takes steps like she's walking across something hot, this video will make sense to you: I hope that cost isn't all in the feet, because those might be slightly more compliant than they were before. If you need some hot foot relief, here's a video of MARLO walking uphill in the snow, just like I used to on my way to and from school.