The Robo Wunderkind Explorer Kits are finally available for pre-order

The wait is over! The Robo Wunderkind Explorer Kits are finally available for pre-order  In this blog post, find out what makes our newest robotics kits lineup so special, and why it is bound to become a highlight of this Christmas for your child.

Redesigned building blocks, extended functionally, and even more room for fun and learning – all you can think of in STEM represented in the Robo Wunderkind Explorer Kits. Besides the awesome perks you get by pre-ordering early, you and your child will benefit from the unique play and learning experiences these kits bring along. Ready to find out about the coolest features?

LED Display

This new, cube-shaped block offers so many possibilities for kids to be creative! Draw pictures and emotions, display them on the 16*16 resolution screen, and add some artistry to your coding creations. This building block supports animations, so your kid can create projects with short cartoons or text scroll.

Line Follower

Another new feature that our community has been looking forward to: the Line Follower block is our newest addition to the array of building pieces! With this block, your child’s robots can detect and follow lines drawn on the floor. Besides providing many ideas for super fun activities and games, this block is also an essential element of robotics – plenty of learning outcomes guaranteed!

Accelerometer

This sensor will help Robo to find its way around: it can recognize which way is up, down, left, and right! You can measure gravitational forces with an accelerometer, just like an astronaut in space. Programmed with our Python API, this sensor will also allow you to calculate your robot’s orientation in 3D space. 

Smart Motors

Each Robo Wunderkind Explorer Kit is now equipped with our new Smart Motors! Besides driving to a precise distance and turning, they now support relative angular positioning of anything you place on top of them.

Project Sharing

The coolest feature is coming to Robo Wunderkind apps: they will be even more fun to play with having our brand new project sharing functionality. Soon, you’ll be able to not only create your own code but also share it with friends and send them to other devices you have at home. Sharing is caring!

Excited for your little inventor to have fun and learn coding with these cool features? Pre-order Robo Wunderkind today, and get a 15% discount on any kit, a free t-shirt for your child, a possibility to upgrade your purchase, and even win an iPad mini! Delivery: end of September 2020.
Pre-order now!

Bionic Flower: a bionically inspired robot flower

Another step for the integral didactic concept of Bionics4Education

Festo Didactic presents a new product for the bionics didactic concept of Bionics4Education. What is new: the orientation towards the maker movement approach and the 4Cs. The aim is inspiring learners, finding new ways and solutions, dealing creatively with provided materials, and sharing these experiences with others to prepare them for the digital world of tomorrow.

Inspired by the plant world

The Bionic Flower is a construction kit inspired by the plant world. Festo Didactic developed the Bionic Flower following the models of mimosa plants and water lilies in cooperation with SkySpirit. The Bionic Flower opens and closes its petals as a reaction to external influences such as touch, proximity or light. These mechanisms can be discovered in a playful way by pupils in the classroom using sensors and control technology integrated in the Bionic Flower. The design, as well as the transfer of principles from the plant world, rounds off the teaching of curriculum topics in STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths). The topic of biodiversity can also be discussed in class.

Bionic work didactically prepared

One Bionic Flower can be used by up to three students at a recommended age of 10 and over. The petals contain the first bionic topic: the folding technique. The petals gain the necessary mechanical stiffness by folding. The mechanism for opening and closing the petals is electrically actuated with a stepper motor which opens and closes the petals one after the other. The movement and the light effects are controlled via Wi-Fi-enabled smartphones, tablets or PCs. If required, the microcontroller can be programmed with the graphic coding interface „Open Roberta“. Experienced students can also program their Bionic Flower in C++. The code is open source. This enables teachers to teach technical content via a new, interdisciplinary educational path. Accompanying teaching material, as well as the assembly manual, can be downloaded free of charge from our website www.bionics4education.com.

An expanded approach to promoting valuable skills

Students learn different aspects of STEM with the Bionic Flower – in a digital, creative and interdisciplinary way. The Bionic Flower combines bionics and technical education and is thus based on the competencies of the 4Cs: collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity to empower learners for the digital world of tomorrow.
In addition, soft skills such as working in a team are reinforced.

New in the concept: the maker movement approach

The maker movement is based on the DIY (do it yourself) culture and the idea of finding new ways and solutions, dealing creatively with materials, and sharing these experiences with others. The Bionic Flower takes this approach and combines Maker Education and STEM Education. In addition to assembling the Bionic Flower, learners can customize and expand on the Bionic Flower by using 3D printers, other materials, hardware and software.

iRobot Introduces the Roomba® i3+, Expanding Its Intelligent, Self-Emptying Product Lineup

With intelligent navigation, Clean Base® Automatic Dirt Disposal, personalized cleaning and a new look, the Roomba® i3+ robot vacuum fits into your life

BEDFORD, Mass., Sept. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — iRobot Corp. (NASDAQ: IRBT), the leader in consumer robots, today expanded its Roomba® robot vacuum lineup with the launch of the new Roomba® i3+, a stylish new Roomba vacuum packed with advanced features. Starting at $599 USD, the Roomba i3+ offers intelligent navigation, self-emptying capability with Clean Base® Automatic Dirt Disposal, and an expanded range of personalized cleaning features powered by the recently launched iRobot Genius Home Intelligence

Experience the interactive Multichannel News Release here: https://www.multivu.com/players/English/8620652-irobot-roomba-i3-plus-vacuum/

„Innovative cleaning experiences have been, and always will be, foundational to our product offerings,“ said Keith Hartsfield, executive vice president and chief product officer at iRobot. „We have a proven track record of delivering products that make consumers‘ lives easier. The Roomba i3+ expands our lineup to offer not only exceptional cleaning performance and value, but greater personalization and control delivered by iRobot Genius. The iRobot Genius platform also allows the Roomba i3+ to evolve and get smarter over time, providing new ways for customers to clean their unique homes.“

Take vacuuming off your plate
Similar to the iRobot Roomba i7+ and Roomba s9+ robot vacuums, the Roomba i3+ comes equipped with the Clean Base® Automatic Dirt Disposal. With Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal, the robot empties debris on its own, with no intervention from the user. Consumers don’t have to think about emptying the bin for months at a time or worrying the robot won’t finish the job due to a full bin. The Roomba i3+ automatically empties up to 60 days‘ worth of dirt and debris into the Clean Base, which doubles as the robot’s charging station. The debris is then locked away in the Clean Base’s enclosed AllergenLock™ bag that uses four layers of allergen blocking material to trap 99 percent of pollen and mold.

The Roomba i3+ purposefully and logically cleans in neat rows to navigate multiple rooms within the home, across hard floors and carpet. If the robot’s battery runs low, the Roomba i3+ will automatically recharge and resume cleaning until the job is complete.

The Roomba i3+ is also equipped with a High-Efficiency Filter that captures 99 percent of pollen, mold, dust mites, and cat and dog allergens. The robot’s 3-Stage Cleaning System consists of Dual Multi-Surface Rubber Brushes that work together to effectively clean, a specially designed Edge-Sweeping Brush to get into corners, and 10X the Power-Lifting Suction as compared to Roomba 600 Series. Using patented Dirt Detect™ technology, the Roomba i3+ knows where dirt builds up and focuses cleaning in those specific areas.

Adapts to your life, listens to your voice
The Roomba i3+ brings a thoughtful new design that fits well into consumers‘ homes, with a durable, woven texture that minimizes fingerprints and collects less dust. The hidden-until-lit light ring helps the robot blend into the background, only lighting up to communicate robot behaviors or notifications when the robot is actively cleaning.

Users can also get more out of their Roomba i3+ with the newly redesigned iRobot Home App, powered by iRobot Genius™, which takes users beyond standard app control to give them a personalized cleaning experience. Available for iOS and Android devices, iRobot’s state-of-the-art artificial intelligence and home understanding capabilities enable the Roomba i3+ to learn how you like to clean. The Roomba i3+ will offer personalized suggestions via the iRobot Home App, such as recommended cleaning schedules based on past cleaning jobs and helpful cleaning suggestions during pet-shedding or allergy seasons.

Event-based automations can be set up directly within the iRobot Home App, an exclusive capability for iRobot customers that is powered by iRobot Genius™ and IFTTT Connect. Whether you’re heading off to work or going for a hike, the Roomba i3+ can begin cleaning when prompted by location-based services like Life360 or from smart home devices, like the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock. When paired with Alexa enabled devices or the Google Assistant, users can control the Roomba i3+ with just the sound of their voice. The Roomba i3+ also supports Imprint Link™ Technology so that it can team up with the iRobot Braava jet® m6 mopping robot to deliver an extra level of clean.

Pricing and Availability
The Roomba i3+ robot vacuum is available immediately for purchase online in the U.S. ($599 USD) and Canada ($749 CAD) on www.irobot.com and www.irobot.ca, and in retailers later this September. The Roomba i3 robot vacuum can also be purchased without the Clean Base® starting at $399 USD and $499 CAD. The Roomba i3+ is expected to be available in other international markets beginning in Q1 2021.

Autonomous UVC disinfection robot scales up the fight against viruses

St-Sulpice Switzerland/Sezana, Slovenia, September 16, 2020 – Based on proven mobile robot and UVC lamp technologies the mini UVC, jointly developed by BlueBotics and Engmotion, can be used alone or in a connected fleet to autonomously disinfect hospitals and other public buildings such as airports, hotels, and commercial/industrial sites. The robot combines the reliability and fleet management capabilities of BlueBotics’ mobile robot and navigation technologies with Engmotion’s powerful Steril-ONE UVC disinfection lamp.
 

“As COVID-19 forces facility managers to improve the depth and frequency of their cleaning operations at a time when fewer staff may be available, this robot provides a new and efficient way to achieve these goals,” Dr Nicola Tomatis, the CEO of BlueBotics, said. “Using our industry-proven ANTsoftware it is simple to generate a map, set disinfection points and your autonomous robot will do the rest. The robot easily and efficiently disinfects any type of indoor public space, from hotel rooms to hospitals, airports and more.”

Disinfecting a restroom with UVC light

With businesses around the world taking tentative steps towards reopening, attention has turned to how public facilities such as hospitals, airports and hotels can ensure they remain safe for visitors. The public are increasingly seeking reassurances of venue safety before visiting or passing through, and at the core of organizations’ responses is enhanced disinfecting policies and practices.

With the pressure that the COVID-19 pandemic has put on hospitals and nursing homes, there is an increased focus on ensuring they are a safe location for patients, medical staff, and visitors. In a study last year published in the American Journal of Infection Control, examined the effects of an ultraviolet (UV) light technology designed to defeat superbugs in hospitals and found that it eliminated almost 98 per cent of pathogens. These infections cost billions of dollars, and some estimates state that they cause almost 100,000 deaths each year in the United States alone.

mini UVC robot with ultraviolet lights

“When it comes to disinfection technology, UVC light is proven to destroy up to 99% of viruses on surfaces, including the SARS family of viruses, and vegetative bacteria,” said Enrico Merlani, the CEO of Engmotion. “However, static lamps require trained staff to place and move them. An autonomous mobile robot that can move and position itself at every required location really is the optimal solution. The robot allows facility managers to do more with less, systematically disinfecting more areas, more deeply and more often using either one or several connected robots, and all without the need for additional human resources.”


Safe and reliable disinfection
BlueBotics, working in combination with Engmotion, developed the mini UVC robot to enable operations teams to disinfect sites safely and autonomously. It features safety laser scanners at the front and rear of the robot, which allow it to detect obstacles and people when in transit, and a high-sensitivity movement sensor on top, which automatically shuts down UVC operations if a human is detected.

If an operator needs to disinfect an area more quickly, disinfect a larger site, or clean multiple areas at the same time, the robot’s ANT server software makes it easy to create a full fleet of connected mini UVC robots. Other ANT driven vehicles can also be included in the fleet, such as Cleanfix’s floor cleaning robots or other logistics vehicles. Additionally, ANT server’s built-in simulator allows an operator to verify a project before activation.

Deployed thousands of times in the field, BlueBotics’ ANT technology and Engmotion’s Steril-ONE UVC disinfection lamp ensure the system disinfects exactly as planned, time and time again. 

The BlueBotics mini UVC is quick to set up and easy to use: just drive the robot with a joystick manually around the site to generate a map, create routes and set disinfection points using the system’s ANT lab software, and the BlueBotics mini UVC — or fleet of mini UVCs — does the rest. The solution can be operated 100 per cent autonomously, semi-autonomously (if staff need to open doors), or manually via a wired controller (personal protective equipment required).


The power of ultraviolet cleaning

Scientists have known for over a century about UV’s ability to disinfect. And for many years, UVC lamps have been used for sterilisation in medical settings, food production and a number of other places. The properties of UV rays are also known to be effective at killing viral particles, including other coronaviruses like MERS.


Pilot Project

The BlueBotics mini UVC was recently deployed at an international airport in Italy as part of a pilot project carried out by Software Design (A SITA Company). 

“In this COVID-19 era, airport operators need to keep their sites cleaner, with more disinfection cycles every day,” explained Marco Pici, who is Head of Business Development & Business Transformation at Software Design (a SITA Company). “The BlueBotics mini UVC can be a great help. It can be used to run more cycles with the same resources, helping sites to do more with less. With the ANT server an operator can easily manage and operate a number of different robot types, like our reception robot, and use these as they see fit, or even have them triggered by the airport’s operation system.”

Mayflower Autonomous Ship Launches

PLYMOUTH, England, Sept. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Ocean research non-profit ProMare and IBM (NYSE:IBM) have announced the completion and launch of the Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) – an AI and solar powered marine research vessel which will traverse oceans gathering vital environmental data.

Following two years of design, construction and training of its AI models, the new fully-autonomous trimaran was today lifted into the waters off the coast of Plymouth, England ahead of its official launch tomorrow.

Designed to provide a safe, flexible and cost-effective way of gathering data about the ocean, the new-generation Mayflower promises to transform oceanography by working in tandem with scientists and other autonomous vessels to help understand critical issues such as global warming, micro-plastic pollution and marine mammal conservation. ProMare is co-ordinating the scientific studies working with IBM Research and a number of leading scientific organizations.

MAS features an AI Captain built by ProMare and IBM developers which gives MAS the ability to sense, think and make decisions at sea with no human captain or onboard crew. The new class of marine AI is underpinned by IBM’s latest advanced edge computing systems, automation software, computer vision technology and Red Hat Open Source software.

„Able to scan the horizon for possible hazards, make informed decisions and change its course based on a fusion of live data, the Mayflower Autonomous Ship has more in common with a modern bank than its 17th century namesake,“ said Andy Stanford-Clark, Chief Technology Officer, IBM UK & Ireland. „With its ability to keep running in the face of the most challenging conditions, this small ship is a microcosm for every aspiring 21st century business.“

To enable followers around the world to stay updated with MAS as it undertakes its various missions, IBM and ProMare have today launched a new interactive web portal. Built by IBM iX, the business design arm of IBM Services, the MAS400 portal is designed to provide real-time updates about the ship’s location, environmental conditions and data from its various research projects. Live weather data will be streamed from The Weather Company, as MAS is receiving forecast data and insight from the new IBM Weather Operations Center.

The portal even features a seven-armed, stowaway octopus chatbot called Artie, who claims to be hitching a ride on the ship. Powered by IBM Watson Assistant technology and created in partnership with European start-up Chatbotbay, Artie has been trained to provide information about MAS and its adventures in a lively, and accessible format.

„MAS400.com is one of the most advanced ocean mission web portals ever built,“ says Fredrik Soreide, Scientific Director of the Mayflower Autonomous Ship project and Board Member of ProMare. „Protecting the ocean depends on our ability to engage the public in important matters affecting its health. This MAS400 portal is designed to do exactly that and tell people where the ship is, what speed it’s travelling at, what conditions it’s operating in and what science we are conducting. Users can even help Artie the Octopus fish out surgical masks, cigarette butts and other increasingly common forms of ocean litter from a virtual ocean of facts and data.“

MAS will spend the next six months in sea trials and undertake various research missions and voyages before attempting to cross the Atlantic in Spring 2021. MAS’s transatlantic voyage will be based on a similar route and pioneering spirit to the 1620 Mayflower which made the same crossing 400 years ago.

MAS Facts:

Name: Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS)
Organizations and
companies behind it:   
ProMare, IBM and a global consortium of partners 
Mission:MAS and other autonomous ships and drones working in tandem with human scientists to collect vital oceanographic data
Humans on board:0
Autonomy level5 (can operate independently with no human intervention)
Sensors on board:30+
AI Cameras on board:   6
Octopuses on board:1
Science projects:Marine mammals, micro plastics, sea level height & wave patterns, oceanographic and environmental data collection
Length:15M
Width:6.2M
Max speed:10 knots
Weight:5 tons/4535KG
Equipment capacity:    0.7 tons/700KG
Hull design:Trimaran (central hull with two outrigger wings)
Power:Solar-driven hybrid electric motor
Software:IBM Visual Insights computer vision technology, IBM edge systems, IBM Operational Decision Manager automation software, IBM Maximo asset management software, data from The Weather Company        
Hardware:IBM Power Systems AC922, 6 Jetson AGX Xavier, 2 Jetson Xavier NX, 4+ Intel-based computers, 4+ custom microprocessor systems
Navigation equipment:Precision GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System), IMU (Inertial Measurement Units), radar, weather station, SATCOM, AIS
Live mission portal:https://mas400.com
More information:https://newsroom.ibm.com/then-and-now
B-roll:  https://newsroom.ibm.com/mayflower-b-roll
Images:https://newsroom.ibm.com/mayflower-images

IFA 2020: Neato Robotics stellt nächste Generation der Premium Roboterstaubsauger vor

Die intelligenten Roboterstaubsauger von Neato D10, D9 und D8 erleichtern den Haushalt

Berlin, September 2020 — Neato Robotics, ein führender Anbieter von intelligenten Roboterstaubsaugern für den Haushalt, stellt auf der IFA 2020 in Berlin die neuesten Modelle des Premium-Lineups vor: Neato D10, D9 und D8. Die Roboterstaubsauger von Neato verfügen über modernste Technologien, lassen sich mühelos konfigurieren und sind besonders langlebig – damit sind sie ultimative Partner für den Haushalt. 

„Bei den neuen Modellen vereinen wir Neatos 15-jährige Expertise mit den Anforderungen unserer Kunden und neuesten Innovationen in Sachen Robotik und KI-Technologie“, sagt Thomas Nedder, CEO von Neato. „Das neue Neato-Sortiment an intelligenten Roboterstaubsaugern ist einzigartig in Design und Technologie und zeichnet sich durch höchste Benutzerfreundlichkeit aus. Die neue App MyNeato ist nur ein Beispiel dafür, wie unser Unternehmen mithilfe von Robotik den Alltag erleichtert.“

Die neuen Roboterstaubsauger von Neato überzeugen durch eine hohe Verarbeitungsqualität und intuitive, unkomplizierte Anwendung im ersten D-förmigen Design der Branche. Mit der breitesten Bürste und dem größten Staubbehälter auf dem Markt erreichen Neato-Besitzer eine besonders gründliche Reinigung in jeder Ecke und an jeder Kante. Dank des ersten verfügbaren True HEPA-Luftfilters erfasst der Neato D10 bis zu 99,97 Prozent der Allergene und Partikel (wie Staub und Hautschuppen) – dabei werden auch kleinste Schmutzpartikel mit einer Größe von gerade einmal 0,3 Mikrometern beseitigt. Die Konfiguration eines Neato-Roboters ist darüber hinaus unkompliziert und schnell: Anwender stellen eine Bluetooth-Verbindung mit einem WLAN-Netzwerk her und folgen im Anschluss den Anweisungen der neuen MyNeato App. Neato bietet seinen Kunden damit nicht nur eine besonders einfache und intuitive Installation, sondern auch den aktuell kürzesten Einrichtungsvorgang der Branche.

Neato D10

Der Neato D10 verfügt über eine Laufzeit von bis zu 150 Minuten, einen True HEPA-Filter – der bis zu 99,97 % der Allergene mit einer Größe von nur 0,3 Mikrometern erfasst – und die neueste LIDAR-basierte Technologie LaserSmartTM – damit steht der Neato D10 für herausragende Leistung und Reinigungskraft.

Neato D9

Mit seinem besonders leistungsstarken HEPA-Filter, der 99,5 % der Staubpartikel und Allergene erfasst, einer Laufzeit von bis zu 120 Minuten und der charakteristischen Neato-Technologie LaserSmartTM reinigt der Neato D9 überall und jederzeit – sogar im Dunkeln.

Neato D8

Der Neato D8 setzt auf die bewährte und branchenführende Qualität und Technologie von Neato und kommt beispielsweise mit dem größten Staubbehälter der Branche, einer extrabreiten Bürste und der neuesten Technologie LaserSmartTM daher. So erreicht der Roboterstaubsauger eine noch größere Benutzerfreundlichkeit, eine Laufzeit von bis zu 90 Minuten und eine effektivere Reinigung.

Die neue Produktlinie ist ab Herbst 2020 bei teilnehmenden Händlern in Nordamerika, Europa und Japan sowie in den USA und auch unter NeatoRobotics.com erhältlich.

Über Neato

Neato Robotics entwickelt intelligente Roboter für den Haushalt, die das Leben verbessern und alltägliche Herausforderungen lösen. Neato hat es sich zum Ziel gesetzt, Anwendern ein personalisiertes Reinigungserlebnis zu bieten – um dies zu gewährleisten, entwickeln sich die Roboter stetig weiter und passen sich an die Anforderungen der Nutzer an. Zu den aktuellen Neato-Innovationen zählen neben erstklassigen Reinigungstechnologien unter anderem die intelligente LIDAR-basierte Navigationstechnologie LaserSmartTM sowie Features zum Mapping und zur Smart Home-Konnektivität. Weitere Informationen finden Sie unter: NeatoRobotics.com. Besuchen Sie Neato auch auf Facebook, Instagram, Twitter und Youtube.

Sphero® Hits a Hole-in-One with New Sphero Mini Golf

Golf-loving robot enthusiasts and educators everywhere can now embrace Sphero technology and STEAM learning in a programmable, robotic golf ball. 

BOULDER, Colo., September 15, 2020​ Sphero®​​ , the industry leader in edtech programmable robots and STEAM-based educational tools, announced today the latest sports-themed Sphero Mini​®​, Sphero Mini GolfTM​, is now available. 

The new Sphero Mini Golf packs a ton of tech and fun into its golf-ball sized frame. Equipped with a gyroscope, accelerometer, and colorful LED lights, this robot is much more advanced than any other ball found on the links — or in the living room. 

“Over the years we’ve seen a number of parents, educators, and kids creating golf courses to navigate and learn with their Sphero robots,” says Paul Copioli, Sphero CEO. “Sphero Mini Golf was the perfect, no-brainer addition to our Sphero Mini offerings so these DIY courses can be brought to life and taken to the next level with a realistic, programmable golf ball.” 

LEARN THROUGH PLAY

Create a DIY mini golf course out of craft and household materials, then control Sphero
Mini Golf’s movements several ways in the Sphero Play app. Master the Joystick,Slingshot, or Tilt modes and celebrate an ace in no time — no clubs or lessons required.

TEE UP THE FUN

Sphero “putts” the fun into learning how to code with the Sphero Edu app. Download the Sphero Edu app to experience a coding journey in full swing. Explore activities, and share inventions and creations with the entire Sphero community. Sphero Mini Golf is the perfect way for golf fans of all ages and skill levels to have a “hole” lot of fun while learning.

TECH SPECS:

  • Sphero Mini​®​ robotic ball with new removable, golf-themed shell
  • LED lights that glow in a variety of colors
  • Teeny, tiny tech: gyroscope motor encoders, and accelerometer sensors
  • Compatible with both Sphero Play app to play STEAM games and Sphero Edu app to learn the foundations of coding
  • Compatible with Sphero Edu​®​ app for iOS, Android, Amazon Fire OS, macOS, Windows, & Chrome OS*
  • Compatible with Sphero Play app for iOS, Android, & Amazon Fire OS

Sphero Mini Golf adds to the Sphero Mini Sports collection, including Sphero Mini Soccer, which was released in September 2019. 
Sphero Mini Golf is available on sphero.com and through select retailers for $49.99 USD MSRP, £49.99 and €59.99 SRP.

Learn more about Sphero Mini Golf​TM​ and the entire Sphero​®​ and littleBits​®​ product collection at sphero.com​  ​. 

*Please see our device compatibility support pages​ for specific versions of operating systems supported.

ABOUT SPHERO: 

Sphero inspires the creators of tomorrow through remarkably cool, programmable robots, electronic building blocks, and educational tools that transform the way kids learn and create through coding, science, music, and the arts. Sphero goes #BeyondCode and drives kids to turn their imagination into reality. The skills kids unlock through play-based learning prepare them to thrive, no matter what subject or career they pursue. Based in Boulder, CO, Sphero has become the #1 STEAM-based learning solutions company, loved by millions of parents, kids, and educators worldwide. Learn more at ​sphero.com.

Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute Announces Nine New Technology Projects Focused on COVID-19 Recovery

Approximately $5M in Department of Defense funding dedicated to projects that advance the use of robotics to respond to current and future pandemics 

September, 2020 – The ARM (Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing) Institute is pleased to announce the selection of nine technical projects that will be led by members of its national consortium to help with COVID-19 recovery. Special funding for this project call was provided by the Office of the Secretary of Defense.  

The ARM Institute is the nation’s leading collaborative partnership focused on industrial robotics and workforce innovation. ARM and its 260+ member organizations from industry, academia and government advance transformative robotic technologies and education for both commercial and defense industrial base needs to grow U.S. manufacturing competitiveness and supply chain resilience.

These projects address the needs of the manufacturing industry and the Department of Defense (DoD) in response to the national emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The specific applications of the selected projects have been identified by the Department of Defense as areas of urgency, such as diagnostics, medical care, medical countermeasures, non-medical personal protective equipment (PPE), and other supplies. The projects are explicitly linked to COVID-19 mitigation, demonstrating an ability for the United States and the Department of Defense to prevent, prepare for, and respond to this and future pandemics. 

“The selection of these 9 projects shows that the ARM member ecosystem is joining the fight against this pandemic by developing robotic–related capabilities to assist DoD and commercial Industries,” said Dr. Greg Hudas, the DoD Program Manager for the ARM Institute.

ARM plans to award close to $5M in funding, for a total contributed investment of approximately $8M across these 9 projects, briefly described below:  


Project Title: Autonomous Robotic Spraying and Disinfection in Warehouses & Shipyards  

Principal Investigator: Siemens Corporation Corporate Technologies 

Project Team: FedEx Corporation, Yaskawa Motoman   

Description: Logistics and support operations have played a vital role in supporting the nation by supplying medical supplies and essential goods to millions of Americans. To control the spread of COVID-19 in these facilities, more frequent and reliable disinfection is required. This project will develop an autonomous warehouse disinfection system that can automatically navigate, locate, and disinfect heavily touched surfaces and potentially contaminated areas. This process will minimize the human role in potentially harmful disinfecting procedures while reducing costs. 


Project Title: Automation of Characterization and Evaluation (ACE) in PPE Manufacturing   

Principal Investigator: Northeastern University 

Project Team: Merrow Manufacturing 

Description: The quality assurance procedures for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as facemasks, is labor intensive and time consuming. Sample testing of PPE has become a priority not only in manufacturing plants but also at medical centers. The national labs providing validation testing for PPE are reporting lead times up to 75 days due to lack of qualified technicians and overwhelming volume of new requests.  This project aims to develop a robotic system to automate the quality assurance tests for PPE inspection, thus improving the performance, productivity, and efficiency of PPE manufacturing in the United States. 


Project Title: Built-By-Bot: Customized Mask Assembly using Robots  

Principal Investigator: Siemens Corporation Corporate Technologies 

Project Team: Henderson Sewing Machine Corporation, Sewbo Inc, Bluewater Defense, Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center (ISAIC)    

Description: The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has identified cloth masks as playing a vital role in slowing the spread of COVID-19, but the supply has not been able to keep up with the demand. Robotic sewing presents a technical challenge because it requires the manipulation of flexible materials, fine motor control, and precise part recognition. This project will build upon the outputs from other ARM projects to automate the robotic production of cloth face masks for personal protective equipment (PPE). 


Project Title: Mobile Autonomous Industrial Disinfector (MAID)   

Principal Investigator: Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories 

Project Team: GrayMatter Robotics, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), Lockheed Martin Rotary Mission Systems   

Description: Due to the rapid transmutability of COVID-19, frequent surface disinfection is required for businesses and workspaces to operate safely. The current method of manual cleaning is not ideal because it puts another person into the space who could get sick or transmit the virus. This project will develop an autonomous mobile robot with a mounted collaborative multi-axis robotic arm capable of manipulating both a disinfection system and a sensor suite. The system will identify areas that need disinfecting, execute the disinfecting process, and keep records of the cleaning tasks completed. 


Project Title: Rapid PPE Production through Automation & Robotics (RAPPAR)   

Principal Investigator: Siemens Corporation Corporate Technologies 

Project Team: Henderson Sewing Machine Company, Yaskawa Motoman, HomTex Inc   

Description: The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed critical vulnerabilities in the global health care supply chain. At the beginning of the pandemic, U.S manufactures were unable to meet the significant demand for Personal Protective Equipment, resulting in shortfalls and long lead times. This project will improve existing automated mask production in the US by including robotic automatic visual inspection, picking-and-sorting, and end-of-line packing and palletizing. 


Project Title: Autonomous Mobile Capability for Room Disinfecting Robots   

Principal Investigator: QinetiQ North America 

Project Team: MassRobotics  

Description: Schools, offices, military bases, and manufacturing floors need to be disinfected between shifts to minimize the spread of COVID-19. The Decon–X  (DX1) disinfecting system has proven its effectiveness in Europe, but currently lacks the mobility and autonomy to disinfect spaces without an operator. An automated solution is required to ensure workers return to a COVID-free environment each day. This project is aimed at adding mobile autonomous capabilities to the DX1 room disinfection system to automate the consecutive treatment of multiple rooms and spaces within workplaces.  The addition of mobility and autonomous navigation to the DX1 will enable the robot to move from room to room and perform a series of treatments with little to no human intervention. 


Project Title: Rapid Robotic Diagnostic Kit Discovery   

Principal Investigator: Siemens Corporation Corporate Technologies 

Project Team: Maxim BioMedical Inc, Siemens Healthineers 

Description: While many tests for COVID-19 have been developed, the U.S still has not reached the scale necessary for effective management and control. COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests have long turnaround times (2-3 days for lab results). Rapid development of COVID-19 Lateral Flow Assay (LFA) tests would dramatically aid the United States’ efforts towards large-scale testing for current and future pandemics. LFA test strip evaluation requires at least two technicians – one to run the assay and one to interpret results using analyzers that image and quantify individual strips. This project will develop a solution utilizing advanced vision systems and flexible robots to accelerate LFA test development by automating LFA test-strip evaluation. 


Project Title: Swarm Robotics for Large Structure Manufacturing  

Principal Investigator: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 

Project Team: Air Structures American Technologies Inc 

Description: COVID-19 has highlighted the urgent need to rapidly deploy negative pressure spaces. These air supported structures are rapidly deployable with performance advantages over traditional tents, and are ideal for use as expeditionary hospitals, quarantine facilities, housing, and other disaster relief or military applications. Production of these structures is labor-intensive but can be expedited with the development of robotic technology to aid manufacturing personnel with moving and manipulating heavy, flexible materials. This project aims to solve the problem of moving and manipulating a large, heavy, flexible material over a large area by developing a fleet of self-aware, human-directed robotic platforms to take on the hard work of moving the material around the production floor. This manufacturing technology will help team member Air Structures American Technology Inc (ASATI) produce a “hospital in a shipping container” that can be set up in a parking lot with a crew of 8-10 and a forklift in only 72 hours. ASATI will be able to reduce cost and manufacturing lead times of these critical structures through the implementation of this development. 


Project Title: Robotic Application of Anti-Microbial Copper Coatings  

Principal Investigator: Siemens Corporation Corporate Technologies 

Project Team: VRC Metals System  

Description: Copper-coated surfaces rapidly kill coronaviruses like COVID-19, but these have not been widely manufactured due to low demand. However, the pandemic has highlighted the need for self-disinfecting surfaces. Robotic cold spraying of copper will enable rapid production to meet the new demand. Wide adoption of copper-coated surfaces will reduce the spread of COVID-19 without the need for frequent cleaning. The robotic application of copper coating will improve the manufacturability of these parts. This project will develop a robotic anti-microbial copper application system (cold spray),  integrating a scanner and developing an automated path generation and QA tools to apply the copper coating to components like a doorknob, hospital bench, cart, handrail, etc. 


ABOUT ARM PROJECTS  

ARM receives funding from the United States Department of Defense and other government agencies to manage programs that develop, demonstrate, and accelerate the early adoption of novel robotic technology and workforce development solutions to:   

  • Assert U.S. leadership in advanced robotics for manufacturing   
  • Empower American workers to be cost-competitive with low-wage workers abroad   
  • Lower the technical, operational, and economic barriers to adopt robotics technologies   
  • Aid in the creation of new jobs to secure U.S. national prosperity.    

ARM works collaboratively with the government and Institute members to identify areas of need in robotics and workforce development. ARM projects require  at least one industry organization participant on each project to ensure that the outputs are relevant, applicable, and impactful. The projects are selected by a team of ARM members and partners spanning government, industry, and academia. Only ARM members can participate in projects. Email [email protected] to learn about membership. 


ARM Institute Annual Member Meeting

Join us October 13-15, 2020 for our Annual Member Meeting! Registration is free and open to ARM Members only. The Annual ARM Member Meeting is our cornerstone event and brings together representatives from across 260 member organizations for three days of high-energy engagement and information sharing. Spanning industry, government, and academia, our event highlights important solutions in robotics and workforce development to strengthen U.S. manufacturing for the defense and commercial industrial bases. Email [email protected] for more information.

2020 Commercial UAV Expo Americas to Take Place Virtually Next Week

UAS Solutions Providers and Thousands of End-Users will Gather Online Sep 15-17 for Expo and Conference Focused on Commercial Drones.

PORTLAND, MAINE (PRWEB) SEPTEMBER 10, 2020

With Commercial UAV Expo Americas slated for September 15-17, organizers of the event have announced that they are expecting the participation of thousands of UAS professionals from around the world. The 2020 edition of the event, originally scheduled to take place at Paris Las Vegas, will instead take place virtually due to ongoing health and safety concerns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Attendees represent industries such as construction, drone delivery, energy and utilities, forestry and agriculture, infrastructure and transportation, mining and aggregates, public safety and emergency services, security, surveying and mapping, and many more.

Commercial UAV Expo Americas Virtual will kick off on Tuesday, September 15 with Virtual “Outdoor” Flying Demonstrations open to all registrants. Leading UAS vendors will demo their drones and software in action, providing insight into their capabilities. Vendors participating in the demos include Iris Automation, Doosan, Sundance Media Group, Sabrewing Aircraft Company, Inc., and Autel Robotics. Following the demos are Emerging Technology Showcases in which UAS solution providers will present their newest technology.

The highly anticipated conference program, organized by conference planners with input from Commercial UAV Expo Americas’ Advisory Board, kicks off at 9:00 AM PT on Wednesday, September 16 with a keynote presentation from FAA Administrator Steve Dickson, the first of three highly anticipated keynote speakers. Mr. Dickson will share how over the past year the industry and the FAA have made substantial progress related to UAS. Immediately following Mr. Dickson, Scott Breor, Acting Deputy Assistant Director, CISA, will provide an update on threats in critical infrastructure, securing facilities, and resources available to the industry. The third keynote speaker, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios, will provide an update from the White House on Thursday, September 17, preceding a keynote panel presentation from the UPS Flight Forward Team. The remainder of the 40+ hours of conference content is made up of various panels, plenaries, breakout sessions, and roundtables. The full agenda can be viewed here.

Returning to Commercial UAV Expo Americas is the ever-popular DRONERESPONDERS Public Safety Summit which unites drone operators and program managers across law enforcement, fire rescue, and other emergency services for strategic discussions and workshops surrounding the evolving use of unmanned aircraft systems. This year’s digital environment will allow attendees from around the world to engage in targeted educational content to learn how first responders are using sUAS to save lives. Topics will include program development and management, training standards and certification, mutual assistance, and more.

In addition to the Virtual “Outdoor” Flying Demonstrations and Emerging Tech Showcases, leading solutions providers will showcase the latest UAS technology as part of the Virtual Exhibit Hall. Virtual Exhibit Hall hours will take place from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM PT on both Wednesday, September 16 and Thursday, September 17. Live interaction within the Virtual Exhibit Hall including one-on-one meetings with staff, product demonstrations, and much more will take place during “Power Hours.” Virtual Exhibit Hall “Power Hours” will take place from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM PT and 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM PT on both Wednesday, September 16 and Thursday, September 17.

For the first time at Commercial UAV Americas, The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Support Center will be available to attendees in the Virtual Exhibit Hall. The Support Center virtual booth serves as the FAA’s front door for people who are new to flying UAS, are looking for guidance on how to operate safely in various environments, want to learn more about waivers and authorizations, or just have questions about the role UAS play in the broader aviation community. The Support Center is a team of well-informed and professional aviation specialists who seek to help usher in the next generation of flight.

Drone professionals, including professionals from leading companies and government agencies from throughout the United States and 50+ countries, will attend Commercial UAV Expo Americas Virtual this year, drawn by the education, exhibits, and opportunity to connect with one another. Attendees and exhibitors will find it easy to make connections through the robust AI-powered networking tool Commercial UAV Expo Connect powered by Grip and sponsored by DroneUp.

REGISTRATION

A full conference pass costs $395 and includes full access to all the live and pre-recorded content from September 15-17 as well on-demand for 30 days following the event. An exhibit hall pass is free and includes access to Keynotes, Virtual Exhibits, AI-Powered Matchmaking, Virtual “Outdoor” Flying Demonstrations, Emerging Tech Showcases, and the Company Spotlight Gallery.

Registration will remain open throughout the expo and conference, but event organizers encourage professionals to register early to take advantage of everything the event has to offer. To register, please visit virtual.expouav.com/page/1554247/register?promo=209223.

About Commercial UAV Expo Americas

Commercial UAV Expo Americas, presented by Commercial UAV News, is the leading international trade show and conference in North America for the commercial drone market. Its sixth edition, September 15-17, 2020 will take place virtually. For more information, visit http://www.expouav.com.