Swiss Startup Developing UV Disinfection Robot for Offices and Commercial Spaces

When Rovenso’s co-founder and CEO Thomas Estier started thinking about how autonomous security and monitoring robots could be helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic, adapting them for UV-C disinfection seemed like it made a lot of sense—while you patrol at night, why not also lower the viral load of shared areas? But arguably the first question that a company has to ask when considering a new application, Estier tells us, is whether they can offer something unique. “For me, what was also interesting is that the crisis motivated us to consider existing solutions for disinfection, and then understanding that [those solutions] are not adapted for large workshops and offices,” he says. “Instead, it would make sense for a robot to ‘understand’ its environment and act intelligently and to better spend its energy, and this loop of sense-analyze-act is the essence of robotics. When you use the full power of robotics, then you Continue reading Swiss Startup Developing UV Disinfection Robot for Offices and Commercial Spaces

Boston Dynamics’ Spot Robot Gets Even More Capable With Enhanced Autonomy, Mobility

Boston Dynamics’ Spot has been out in the world doing useful stuff (and some other things) for long enough now that it’s high time for a software update packed with more advanced skills and new features. Spot Release 2.0, launching today, includes improvements to navigation, autonomy, sensing, user programmability, payload integration, communications, and more. Some of that more is an improvement to Spot’s physical capabilities—namely, the robot is better at dealing with slippery surfaces (something Boston Dynamics has always excelled at) and now has a better understanding of stairs, the nemesis of legged robots everywhere. We’ll take a look at what’s new with Spot, and talk with Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert as well as Zack Jackowski, lead robotics engineer on Spot, about some of the highlights of the 2.0 update, how Spot now understands what stairs are, and when we’ll finally be seeing that arm hit commercial production.

Robotic Unloader

Had enough of injuries, delays and worker turnover on the loading dock? Next-generation robotic unloaders from Honeywell Robotics can perform the same task fully autonomously, while handling products with greater care. They don’t suffer any loss of productivity when working in hot or cold weather, either. And with our physics-based simulation tools, you can see how the unloader will perform with your unique product mix and learn how quickly you’ll see return on your investment. More details

Boston Dynamics’ Handle Teams Up With Mobile Robots on Warehouse Logistics

Today, Boston Dynamics and OTTO Motors (a division of Clearpath Robotics) are announcing a partnership to “coordinate mobile robots in the warehouse” as part of “the future of warehouse automation.” It’s a collaboration between OTTO’s autonomous mobile robots and Boston Dynamics’s Handle, showing how a heterogeneous robot team can be faster and more efficient in a realistic warehouse environment.

Sarcos Demonstrates Powered Exosuit That Gives Workers Super Strength

One year ago, for IEEE Spectrum’s special report on the Top Tech for 2019, Sarcos Robotics promised that by the end of the year they’d be ready to ship a powered exoskeleton that would be the future of industrial work. And late last month, Sarcos invited us to Salt Lake City, Utah, to see what that future looks like. Sarcos has been developing powered exoskeletons and the robotic technologies that make them possible for decades, and the lobby of the company’s headquarters is a resting place for concepts and prototype hardware that’s been abandoned along the way. But now, Sarcos is ready to unveil the prototype of the Guardian XO, a strength-multiplying exoskeleton that’s about to begin shipping. As our introductory briefing concludes, Sarcos CEO Ben Wolff is visibly excited to be able to show off what they’ve been working on in their lab. “If you were to ask the Continue reading Sarcos Demonstrates Powered Exosuit That Gives Workers Super Strength

From Mainframes to PCs: What Robot Startups Can Learn From the Computer Revolution

This is a guest post. The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not represent positions of IEEE Spectrum or the IEEE. Autonomous robots are coming around slowly. We already got autonomous vacuum cleaners, autonomous lawn mowers, toys that bleep and blink, and (maybe) soon autonomous cars. Yet, generation after generation, we keep waiting for the robots that we all know from movies and TV shows. Instead, businesses seem to get farther and farther away from the robots that are able to do a large variety of tasks using general-purpose, human anatomy-inspired hardware. Although these are the droids we have been looking for, anything that came close, such as Willow Garage’s PR2 or Rethink Robotics’ Baxter has bitten the dust. With building a robotic company being particularly hard, compounding business risk with technological risk, the trend goes from selling robots to selling actual services like mowing your lawn, provide taxi Continue reading From Mainframes to PCs: What Robot Startups Can Learn From the Computer Revolution