Articles

UK Government provides £40m funding boost for robotics

The field of robotics and autonomous systems is to receive Governmental funding of almost £40m as one of the identified ‘ eight great technologies’ seen as having the biggest potential for UK growth.  The money comes in the form of an Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) grant of £25m with additional funding contributions of £8.4m from higher education...
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Robots to help people with dementia in Scotland

NHS Western Isles, in Scotland, is to become the UK’s first health board to try out Giraff, a scheme which places robots in the homes of people with dementia. But the pilot project is just one of a number of uses the Scots have recently found for robotics. The Giraff project uses 1.5m (4ft 11in) tall, wheeled robots which have a TV screen instead of a head. A relative or carer calls...
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New £1.2m research project to make robots more trustworthy

UK universities and industry partners are to collaborate on a new £1.2m project which aims to ensure future robotic systems can be trusted by humans. The Universities of Bristol, the West of England, Liverpool and Hertfordshire will work with industry partners, the British Automation & Robot Association (BARA) and RU Robots Limited, on the project, which will run over...
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Japanese talking robot being launched into space

Japan is to send a talking robot into space to see how machines that communicate are able to work with humans. The robot has been developed by scientists from the Kirobo project - named after "kibo" or hope in Japanese - and is capable of holding a conversation with people. It's scheduled to be launch from  Tanegashima Space Center on 4 August 2013. The spacecraft it will...
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The UK is well placed in a soaring UAV market

Two reports published this month show just how rapidly spending on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is set to increase. Earlier this month, consultancy Markets and Markets published a report which estimates that the UAV market will grow to $8.3bn by 2018.  The year 2018 is significant in that revisions to CAP-722, the Civil Aviation Authority Provision detailing the safety...
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Workshop on Personal Care Robots

ISO TC184/SC2/WG7 (Personal care robot safety) would like to announce the 1st International Workshop on Personal care robots in collaboration with CLAWAR Association Ltd; University of the West of England Bristol, UK; University of Gävle, Sweden; and the EXO-LEGS (www.exo-legs.org) project funded under the EC’s Ambient Assisted Living Joint Programme (www.aal-europe.eu) for elderly persons. ...
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New Opportunities for Agritechnology

With UK’s first Agricultural Technology Strategy about to be published, following the publication of the Foresight Report The Future of Food and Farming, there has been a growing recognition of the need for the food and farming industry to embrace innovative and technology-based approaches in order to deliver ‘more with less’. The Technology Strategy Board’s Sustainable Agriculture and...
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Finchley boys win a place at Robocup World Championships

Four pupils from Christ’s College in Finchley, London, have secured a place at the world robotics championship later this month. The competition aims to promote robotics research by offering a challenge to young people from all over the world to create robots which can play football, dance and carry out rescues. The four boys, Shervin Sabeghi, Riku Murai, Nikunj Pindoriya and Omar...
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Apple wants to bring robotics into your living room

Robotics startup Anki Drive achieved the dream of many a business when the small company was given the opportunity to take centre stage at Apple’s prestigious Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Monday. As if that wasn’t enough, Anki was given a glowing introduction by the Apple CEO Tim Cook himself.  So what is it about Anki that Apple is so taken with? This, indeed, was the...
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Robot programmed to anticipate human actions

Researchers at America’s Cornell University have programmed a robot to predict what you’re about to do and help you achieve it. Using a Microsoft Kinect sensor, the robot watches your body movements, then accesses a video database of around120 household activities — ranging from putting food in the microwave, eating, brushing teeth to pouring a drink  — to predict what your actions...
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Cornwall's Engineered Arts: the vanguard of humanoid robot research

Engineered Arts, a British manufacturing firm ilocated in Cornwall, is trying to make robots that share more human characteristics, to make interaction with them more natural and intuitive than ever before. Founder Will Jackson believes it's the sense of movement that sets a human apart, yet realsitic effective walking is one of the most difficult areas to master in robotics. The...
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Why is the UK trailing in the march of the robots?

“The spinning mule was a pivotal element in the industrial revolution... turning Britain into a textiles superpower,” wrote Andrew Bowman in the Financial Times last month . “But, when it comes to replacing human hands with machines, today’s British manufacturers have become the Luddites of Europe.” He follows up this damning remark with some hard facts:  The UK car industry...
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Harvard’s robotic insects: the epitome of low power computing

The smallest aerial drone so far has been developed by robotics engineers at  the University of Harvard. The size of an insect, RoboBee was apparently inspired by origami, which is able to perform the agile manoeuvres of insects, and has wing designs based on real houseflies. It demonstrates the potential of low power computing and sensors in refining coordination algorithms within...
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ROS: the force behind the acceleration in robot research?

This weekend sees the fifth ROSCon take place in Stuttgart, Germany. The conference is dedicated to the Robot Operating System (ROS), which many believe has revolutionised robotics. Prior to ROS, robot engineers had no common platform on which to communicate and collaborate which meant that hardware and software systems had to be built from the ground up every time.  The...
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Coming soon: touchy-feely robots?

If robots are ever to leave the factory environment and become truly social, able to assist in homes, hospitals and other environments, they need to develop human faculties. One of the most important is the sense of touch, which, up to now, has been hugely problematic to implement.  However, in April, a group of roboticists in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Georgia...
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Coral-bots to repair world's reefs

Autonomous swarms of underwater coral-bots could soon be working to repair the world's damaged reefs. The project is the brainchild of a team of marine biologists and robotics experts, based largely at Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University. However, with research still at an early stage, funding is needed and the team have launched a kickstarter campaig n to raise the difference necessary to...
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SILVER Pre-Commercial Procurement Call for tender information day

The SILVER (Supporting Independent LiVing for the Elderly through Robotics )  project searches for new, innovative ways to acquire public sector health services by utilizing a Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) process. The goal is to find new technologies to assist elderly people’s ability to continue living independently at home. The SILVER project has an ambitious goal to...
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£6.25m to create IKEA style robots

A new £6.25m research project is aiming to create 'IKEA kit' robots, to bring automation into people’s homes, just like the product sold by the Swedish furniture chain.  Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are developing desk-top programmes that could allow a fully functioning customised robot to be assembled and ready for action within 24 hours. ...
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Pitch your start up idea to 200 potential investors!

UK start ups with a winning idea could win an opportunity to pitch to 200 potential investors at Global Corporate Venturing's London symposium in London on 21-22 May 2013 .  A competition to win one of five slots allocated to companies specialising in Robotics and autonomous systems is being launched by UK Trade and Investment. Twenty slots are available in total (five each in...
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Technology Partnering Event: Big Data - Business Analytics

From the UK Innovation Forum: Wed 10 Apr 2013 - Tech City - Google Campus, London   One more week to register!   Our keynote speaker is Professor Paul Boyle, of the Economic and Social Research Council, who will be talking about the findings of the Administrative Data Taskforce and the implications for business and academia.   The ability of...
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Growing Autonomous Mission Management Applications (GAMMA) Funding

GAMMA is a technology and next generation supply chain development programme led by the North West Aerospace Alliance in partnership with BAE Systems, National Nuclear Laboratory Ltd and the Universities of Liverpool (including the Virtual Engineering Centre), Manchester, Lancaster, Salford and UCLAN. GAMMA is aimed at developing new technologies which will add significant value to current...
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A snake, a laser and a robot combine to create the perfect tool for hazardous confined spaces

The ultimate tool for difficult environments such as nuclear sites or hard to reach spaces like aircraft wings, LaserSnake2 is an £8m collaborative R&D project being led by OC Robotics. Safe and cost efficient it’s also easily adapted to a multitude of tasks and environments, in both air and water. The combination of snake-arms, a mobile robot platform and laser cutting solutions make...
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Self-sustaining jellyfish robot to patrol the ocean beds

Designed as a project for the US Navy, for future military surveillance, cleaning oil spills or to monitor the environment, a lifelike jellyfish robot could soon be surveying the world’s sea beds. The $5m (£3.3m) project is led by Virginia Tech who are designing, the robot, named Cyro, to operate on its own energy for periods of several months. It has eight mechanically controlled arms...
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Nanobot with potential to blast away cancer?

Israeli Scientists have developed a  microscopic robot that detects disease inside cells. Developed by the Weizmann Institute, the nanobot is based on the body’s own building blocks – DNA. It communicates autonomously with bacterial cells, “scanning” the cell to see if all genes in it are expressed as they should be, since a malfunctioning molecule will cause a disruption in...
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Get transported by a ROPITS

Beyond the racing types, manufacturers have had a tough time making wheelchairs attractive, let alone sexy. However, Hitachi ROPITS (Robot for Personal Intelligent Transport System) are likely to make even the able bodied envious.  It couldn’t be simpler: pick a destination on a smartphone or a tablet and let the pathfinding system do the rest. The robot can even come to its...
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