ARN ews Jan31 by HC120831173323


									Automation and Robotics News–Jan 31, 2010

Highlights: Service robots, Surgical Robot Profits, Welfare automation, Skyscraper window
cleaning robots, robotics industry predictions, labor market predictions 2010, pentagon master
plan, increases in equipment spending, and much more…


# Korean housemaid robot does laundry
by Dong Ngo, January 20, 2010 1:10 PM PST
A recently married co-worker told me that what's even worse than having to do laundry is when
your significant other complains that you don't enjoy doing it. I'm single and didn't really know
what he was talking about. However, now there's something to help do the laundry that I think I
would really enjoy, and it comes from South Korea. According to the Korea Times, scientists at
the Korea Institute of Science and Technology have created a domestic robot that can help with
the laundry and even heat up food in the microwave. The scientist says that the robot, called
"Mahru-Z," is a human-like machine with arms, legs, a rotating head, and it has the capability to
"see" objects in three dimensions and recognize chores that need to be done. This is amazing for
a machine of just taller than 4 feet and weighing about 120 pounds. I am 6 foot tall and often find
myself not knowing what to do standing right in the middle of a messy room.

# PETA wants Groundhog Day, the robot way
Thu Jan 28 2010 Posted by Leslie Katz
Concerned about animal cruelty, the animal rights group wants to replace the weather-
forecasting Punxsutawney Phil with an animatronic version.

# Robots evolve to learn cooperation, hunting
Posted by Tim Hornyak  Sat Jan 30 2010
Scientists in Europe have described experiments in which robots evolve through natural
selection, learning to cooperate, hunt, and even be altruistic.

# Predicting a New Class of Robot
Heartland Robotics, Inc. Posted 01/21/2010
Is the world edging closer to a new class of robot? Rodney Brooks thinks so. He brought us the
Roomba robotic vacuum and now says we are on the verge of a new category of robot as
hundreds of top industry executives gathered for the Robotics Industry Forum in Orlando,
Florida. His comments came on the first day of Robotic Industries Association’s annual event
(January 20-22, 2010), and provided some insight into his new venture called Heartland
Robotics. Few people know what is going on at Heartland Robotics and Mr. Brooks was careful
to avoid specifics, but he showed video of robots that faintly resemble Star Wars’ C-3PO. He
spoke of how a world dominated by the Wal-Mart style of business (which he says relies heavily
on cheap Chinese labor) might assimilate new types of robotics into the workforce and eliminate
the need to outsource. He’s not the first to predict that robots will be able to see, touch, handle
and move product just like laborers in a warehouse, but unlike most he has a track record of
success when it comes to selling robots that people use in their homes. He tells us five million
Roombas have been sold without a single lawsuit over injuries (to people or their pets), which is
an important consideration for the type of robot he proposes.

# Intuitive Surgical profit far exceeds expectations
Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:15pm EST By Bill Berkrot
NEW YORK, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Intuitive Surgical Inc (ISRG.O) reported far better-than-
expected fourth-quarter results on Thursday, with profit up more than 50 percent on increased
demand for its da Vinci surgical robot systems and higher instruments and accessories sales. For
2010, Intuitive expects revenue to grow by 25 percent with procedures growing by 35 percent
over 2009 levels. Total revenue in 2009 was $1.05 billion.

# Robots taking over everyday life of Japanese
Jan 21, 2010, 16:24 GMT
Tokyo - Shopping in Japan has become very high-tech. One supermarket in the central city of
Kyoto has a robot that looks like it was an extra in a Star Wars film. It races between the shelves,
collecting items on a shopping list given to it by an elderly lady. As she entered the supermarket
the robot greeted her and even gave her a few suggestions on what to buy. The robot is just one
of the latest shopping assistants developed by the Advanced Telecommunications Research
Institute (ATR) in Kyoto. It is also an indication that Japan's robot revolution has extended
beyond its factory floors into supermarkets, homes and hospitals. Japan has about half of all the
800,000 factory robots in the world. Japanese robots clean floors, mix drinks, serve sushi, chop
vegetables and even go on patrol as security guards.

# Robots Get a Sense of Touch
Charles Bates, 01/19/2010
Sensors at their wrists measure forces and torque to give robots a sense of touch, and thanks to a
coordinated effort by ATI Industrial Automation and Staubli Robotics, ATI’s Networkable
Force/ Torque Sensor System (Net F/T) is now fully compatible with Staubli robots to allow
them a “sense of touch.” The joint effort provides true plugand- play connectivity via Ethernet to
Staubli CS8 robot controllers. The Net F/T transducer, with Net Box, interfaces to the robot
controller via a TCP/IP socket and optional VAL3 library, which reads force values to enhance
manufacturing automation. Together, the cost-effective robot and sensor let shops automate
difficult assembly, machining and finishing tasks that previously required skilled personnel or
complex assembly machines.
# Rockwell Automation boosts fiscal 2010 outlook
MarketWatch - Matt Andrejczak -
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Rockwell Automation on Wednesday raised its profit and
sales outlook for fiscal 2010…

# Semprius and Siemens Announce Agreement to Advance Innovative Solar Energy ...
Business Wire (press release) -
Siemens is a global leader in automation systems, power conversion and control systems. As
part of its environmental portfolio, …

# Indiana Agency Begins Hybrid Welfare Plan Rollout
3rd time a charm? Hybrid welfare intake with more workers, automation hits 10 SW Ind.
By KEN KUSMER Associated Press Writer, INDIANAPOLIS January 26, 2010 (AP)
Indiana's human services agency said Tuesday the state's third try at effectively enrolling and
keeping people on food stamps and other welfare benefits has begun rolling out, but one affected
caretaker said the frustrations keep mounting. The Family and Social Services Administration
said it has begun implementing what it's calling a hybrid welfare intake system, involving
caseworkers and some automation, in 10 southwestern Indiana counties. It follows the agency's
aborted bid to turn over highly automated welfare intake to private vendors — a plan designed to
replace an outdated, paper-based casework system — that remains in 33 counties.

# Robot window cleaners to take over Dubai
by Gerhard Hope on Jan 31, 2010
Serbot systems combine all the cleaning kit into one robotic unit. Robotic cleaning systems for
windows and façades on high-rise buildings have been launched in Dubai by Swiss
company Serbot AG. “We re bri gi g this ew tech ology to the UAE where we h ve see
lot of potential, especially with all the skyscrapers and the various architectural designs, which
 re very h rd to cle usi g co ve tio l methods ” s id Serbot busi ess developme t m ger
Bas Schmit Phiferons. Gekko and CleanAnt from Serbot are cleaning robots for high-rise
buildings combining robotic engineering, cleaning engineering and a fall arrestor system and
media supply in one complete system. The robots can be used on the widest variety of façade
types, and do not require any devices such as guide rails.

# India's military sets up robot competition
Published: Jan. 29, 2010 at 11:00 AM
NEW DELHI, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- The Defense Ministry has challenged engineering students to
come up with a robot vehicle platform to help in its fight against terrorists in urban
Thousands of dollars for the winners are being offered in the "autonomous ground vehicle"
competition set up by the Defense Research and Development Organization in New Delhi, which
has put details of requirements on its Web site.

# Business Results and Trends for 2010
By Brian Huse, Director, Marketing & PR, Robotic Industries Association
Where is business headed in 2010? We got some of the answers during the Robotics Industry
Forum. Robotic material handling is in generally good shape, but of course choosing a specific
industry is critical. Food looks like a growth opportunity for robots and don’t count out
automotive (especially spot welding) but what else can we deduce?

Robotics Market Cautiously Optimistic for 2010
by Bennett Brumson , Contributing Editor
Robotic Industries Association Posted 01/18/2010
The robotics industry, like the world economy, is slowly emerging from the most trying
economic times since the 1930s. The automotive sector, traditionally the core of the robotics
industry, is depressed requiring robot manufacturers and integrators to find substitute markets in
North America and beyond. “My outlook for the robotics industry in 2010 is cautiously
optimistic and unsettled. Some projects are coming back alive that have been dead a long time,”
says Joseph Campbell, Vice President Sales and Marketing of ABB Robotics. (Auburn Hills,
Michigan). “Industry analysts are trying to gauge if fourth quarter activity is by companies who
have not done any capital investment in 2009 or is it the start of a true recovery.” Orders for new
robots declined 30 percent through the third quarter of 2009, with the automotive industry
slipping at approximately the same rate. Automotive-related companies typically account for
about 60 percent of robots ordered in North America.

# Pentagon Master Plan: Super-Size My Drone Fleet
By Nathan Hodge January 28, 2010
The U.S. military already has plans in the works to grow its fleet of Predators and Reapers, the
long-loitering, armed surveillance drones that have become a defining feature of the air war over
Central Asia and the Middle East. Now, according to a draft version of the Pentagon’s new
master strategy plan, the military wants to dramatically up the number of “orbits,” or air patrols,
of the unmanned aircraft.Courtesy of Inside Defense (subscription only), we’ve taken an early
look at a “pre-decisional” copy of the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, due for release on
Monday. According to that draft, the Department of Defense is “is on track” to field and sustain
50 drone orbits by Fiscal Year 2013. What’s more, the Pentagon “will continue to expand the
force to at least 65 orbits by FY 15.” Just to give a sense of how significant this is, some context.
On a visit to an “undisclosed location” in Southwest Asia last year, Noah got the inside scoop on
current Predator and Reaper operations: The Air Force, he reported, has a total of 39 orbits in the
Central Command region. And those orbits include the CIA’s controversial drone operations
over Pakistan, which are technically compartmentalized from — but overlap with — the
military’s efforts in Afghanistan. (“There are 39 orbits, that’s it. No wink, wink,” a military
officer memorably told Noah.)The Fiscal Year 2010 budget calls for funding to field and sustain
a 50-drone orbit by 2013. But the addition of another 15 orbits by 2015 won’t be the end of it.
According to the draft QDR, the Pentagon is also “exploring ways to enhance the effectiveness
of its fleet of ISR aircraft by developing innovative sensor technologies, support infrastructures
and operating concepts.”
Read More

# Report: U.S. Drone Goes Down Over Pakistan. Again.
By Noah Shachtman January 25, 2010
A U.S. drone reportedly crashed in Pakistan on Sunday. The Associated Press calls it “a rare
mishap for a program Washington has increasingly relied on to kill Taliban and al-Qaida
militants.” But that’s not quite right; American unmanned aircraft go down all the time. They’ve
even gone down before in Pakistan. According to U.S. Air Force statistics, Predator and Reapers
drones have suffered at least 85 “class A mishaps” — accidents which caused a million dollars’
worth of damage or more. Typically, 14 of these accidents takes place for every 100,000 hours a
Predator flies.
Read More

# CIA Contractor Now Flying Spy Drone Over Haiti (Updated One More Time)
By Noah Shachtman January 19, 2010
A controversial CIA contractor has found new work in Haiti, flying drones on disaster recovery
duty. When last we heard from Evergreen International Aviation, the Oregon-based firm was
offering to post sentries at local voting centers during the 2008 election, ”detaining
troublemakers” and making sure voters “do not get out of control.”Now, company vice president
Sam White tells Aviation Week that the firm is flying at least one ScanEagle surveillance drone
over Haiti. ”The company has a fleet of 747s and a fleet of large and small choppers, and has
begun ferrying in supplies to Port au Prince,” the magazine’s Paul McLeary notes. “White
wouldn’t say who the company is moving cargo for, saying only that ‘we’re working with
different agencies, and we have one plane coming in tomorrow full of humanitarian supplies.’”
Over the years, Evergreen has had all sorts of interesting clients over its five-plus decades in
operation. Back in the late ’80s, the company “acknowledged one agreement under which his
companies provide occasional jobs and cover to foreign nationals the CIA wants taken out of
other countries or brought into the United States.” In 2006, Evergreen’s parent company flew
Bill O’Reilly into Kuwait in 2006, according toSourceWatch. Last April, the company won
a $158 million contract to supply the Air Force with helicopters in Afghanistan.
Read More
# Growth Hits 6-Year High --- Gains Fueled by Stabilizing Inventories; Employers Remain
Cautious About Hiring
Justin Lahart. Wall Street Journal. Jan 30, 2010. pg. A.1
The U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace in six years in the last three months of 2009,
expanding at a 5.7% yearly rate over the previous quarter, as businesses drew less from their
stockrooms and stepped up purchases of equipment and software. Hit during the downturn, many
guitar shops cut the number of instruments they had on hand, and Collings saw orders drop.
…One sign from the GDP report of improved confidence at companies was a annualized 13.3%
increase in spending on equipment and software -- the biggest gain in nearly four years. In the
past, rises in capital spending have tended to signal an increased willingness to hire. When it
reported results for its most recent quarter on Wednesday, Rockwell Automation Inc., a leading
producer of factory-automation equipment and software, said it expects revenue of $4.4 billion to
$4.6 billion for its fiscal year ending September, better than the $4.1 billion to $4.4 billion it
previously forecast. "We believe we are at the start of a recovery," said Rockwell CEO Keith
Nosbusch. "Our goal is to be very successful as it returns." But the company is cautious, and has
increased hiring only slightly despite its expectation for better sales.

# Replacements Ease Labor Pain
By GENE EPSTEIN | Barron’s 1/25/2010
Plenty of professional jobs await you in 2018. WITH THE JOB OUTLOOK BETWEEN NOW
and next year looking dismal, what about between now and 2018?
According to the recently released projections of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job openings in
a wide range of fields will be plentiful. But in many fields, the key factor for job seekers isn't so
much the number of positions that will be added as the number that will need to be replaced, due
to the gradual exit from the labor force by aging baby boomers. Details in the BLS study often
remind you of the old joke about economists showing their sense of humor by putting decimal
places in their forecasts. But the study (at still
serves as a tonic in these dark times for those who believe that the U.S faces a jobless future. For
750 separate occupations, the agency gives detailed projections on growth and on replacement
needs due to retirements. … For example, the study lists, as of 2008, 4.6 million (actually,
"4,583.7" thousand) jobs under the broad heading of "material-moving occupations," which
include "crane and tower operators" and "tank car, truck and ship loaders." It plausibly projects
that the job total will suffer a 1% decline by 2018, given the upward march of automation. But,
especially since people tend to retire early from these fields, it still lists nearly 1.4 million
openings by 2018, a "replacement rate" of nearly 30%.

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