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Robotics trends: Artificial Intelligence leads Twitter mentions in Q1 2021


Verdict lists the top five terms tweeted on robotics in Q1 2021, based on data from GlobalData's Influencer Platform. The top tweeted terms are the trending industry discussions happening on Twitter by key individuals (influencers) as tracked by the platform. Robots capable of drywalling, managing vertical farms, and assisting in the US space programmes to reach Mars and beyond, were popularly discussed in Q1 2021. Sean Gardner, an executive board member and AI specialist at Resourceful Nonprofit, a provider of free or low-cost technology and training to other non-profit organisations, shared an article on how sensors and AI have advanced in automating the construction industry. Construction robotics company Canvas has built an AI-driven robot that can perform drywalling with human artistry and expertise.

Israel launches humanoids that imitate doctors to conduct surgeries with accuracy


Medtech driven by data collection and AI has significantly enhanced the scope of treatment and care, especially since it emerged as a lifesaver during the pandemic. More sophisticated and smarter machines started making appearances in hospitals to provide contactless care and also in public spaces to enforce social distancing. The Middle East has already seen medical practitioners guide robots towards removal of tumours, but now it seems the machines are ready to take control. Israeli firm Memic has launched a surgical robot which is the first of its kind, since it's a lot more like human beings and can replicate techniques of real doctors. The humanoid has arms which allow it to perform surgeries like any other medical professional, and the artificial limbs are designed to imitate a doctor's arms, down to the movement of shoulders, elbows and wrists.

Council Post: The Future Of Work Is Here -- We Need To Prepare The Workforce


The pandemic forced much of normal life to move online. Digitization, the conversion of materials to digital format, gave way to digitALization, the transformation of whole processes to online formats. This evolution had been occurring for some time, and Covid-19 accelerated it. It also proved that many processes that were previously only on-ground could be delivered effectively and conveniently online. We saw the effect of digitalization and disruption with music (Spotify), streaming video (Netflix) and shopping (Amazon) prior to the pandemic.

Pandemic is pushing robots into retail at unprecedented pace


One of the striking trends during the pandemic has been the acceptance of automation technologies by a previously tepid public. Retail in particular has accelerated development of automation, including robotics, which will result in a quick rollout over the next few years. A new survey by RetailWire and Brain Corp, an artificial intelligence (AI) company creating core technology in robotics, including cleaning robots, supports the conclusion that COVID-19 has hastened automation development and adoption. Robots used for tasks such as floor cleaning and shelf scanning, both in stores and in warehouses, are selling briskly, and sentiment among retailers broadly supports adoption. The survey results are included in an executive summary available online, "Robots in Retail: Examining the Autonomous Opportunity."

Microwave weapon could disable a swarm of military attack drones

New Scientist

Military drones can resist radio-jamming anti-drone devices, but a microwave weapon could take down a whole swarm at once, or disable just one with sniper-like precision

Your Roomba is filthier than you think. Here's how to get it completely clean


There's a lot more to keeping your Roomba clean than simply emptying its bin now and then. Take a closer look at your Roomba's brushes, for example, and you'll probably see they're tangled in hair. A Roomba's cliff sensors, which help to keep it from tumbling down the stairs, can likewise become blocked by a layer of grime, while its dust filter will gradually become clogged with debris. If you give your Roomba the occasional deep clean, you'll not only extend its life, you'll also boost the quality of its cleanings. Our Roomba cleaning guide will take you through four primary areas when it comes to keeping a Roomba spic-and-span: cleaning its brushes, cleaning its wheels, scrubbing its sensors and charging contacts, and cleaning its dust filter.

Workers need to make space for robots, South Korean minister says

The Japan Times

South Koreans must learn how to work alongside machines if they want to thrive in a post-pandemic world where many jobs will be handled by artificial intelligence and robots, according to the country's labor minister. "Automation and AI will change South Korea faster than other countries," Minister of Employment and Labor Lee Jae-kap said in an interview Tuesday. "Not all jobs may be replaced by machines, but it's important to learn ways to work well with machines through training." While people will have to increase their adaptability to work in a fast-changing high-tech environment, policymakers will also need to play their part, Lee said. The government needs to provide support to enable workers to move from one sector of the economy to another in search of employment and find ways to increase the activity of women in the economy, he added.

Agrobotics startup Root AI acquired by AppHarvest for $60M


Root AI, a Somerville, Mass.-based startup developing the Virgo harvesting robot for indoor farms, was acquired by AppHarvest for $60 million. AppHarvest is investing approximately $10 million in cash and the remaining balance in AppHarvest common shares to acquire Root AI. Founded in 2018, Root AI's 19 full-time employees are expected to join AppHarvest's technology group. Root AI co-founder and CEO Josh Lessing will take on the role of CTO for AppHarvest. He will take the lead in continuing to develop the robots and AI capabilities for the network of indoor farms AppHarvest is building.

Robots threaten jobs less than fearmongers claim


THE COFFEESHOP is an engine of social mobility. Barista jobs require soft skills and little experience, making them a first port of call for young people and immigrants looking for work. So it may be worrying that robotic baristas are spreading. RC Coffee, which bills itself "Canada's first robotic café", opened in Toronto last summer. "[T]he barista-to-customer interaction is somewhat risky despite people's best efforts to maintain a safe environment," the firm says.

Automated COVID-19 PCR-testing system launched

The Japan Times

The system uses robots to conduct polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, tests, significantly reducing infection risks for technicians. "The system will reduce the burden on medical workers, who are becoming exhausted from measures aimed at preventing infections," especially as Japan braces for a fourth wave of COVID-19 cases, Hiroyasu Ito, a professor at the university, said. The system, developed by Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., is housed in a container 2.5 meters wide and 12.2 meters long, and has 13 robotic arms. It conducts all the steps required to test samples for coronavirus infections without human intervention. The university is aiming to make it possible for the system to produce test results in just 80 minutes.