Cobot-Pioneer enables modern educational didactics

Munich, November 10, 2020 – While more and more manufacturing companies are using collaborative robots, technology has so far been treated as a secondary consideration in vocational training. Current curricula largely ignore the increasing automation. Universal Robots (UR) wants to change this: With UNIVERSAL ROBOTS EDUCATION, the world market leader in collaborative robotics has developed a holistic concept that allows training officers to easily integrate the topic into the teaching process.

„Our new concept makes it easier for training companies and vocational schools to impart relevant automation knowledge in a practical way“, explains Andrea Alboni, Sales Manager D/A/CH at Universal Robots (Germany) GmbH. „We are thus reacting to an acute discrepancy between training content and professional practice. We finally need up-to-date training directly on the robot in order to qualify the skilled workers of tomorrow for working in modern manufacturing contexts“.

Five modules for hands-on learning


UNIVERSAL ROBOTS EDUCATION is a didactically holistic concept. On the one hand, the measures contained in the program pick up both teachers and those responsible for training as well as students by creating the necessary knowledge base on both sides. On the other hand, theory and practice go hand in hand to ensure the greatest possible learning success. Under these premises, the concept is divided into five building blocks:
  • In the free online training courses of the UR Academy, trainees learn the basics of programming.
  • With the help of the offline simulator they practice programming on their PC, on the UR user interface. Afterwards, the created program can be tested on a real Cobot.
  • The hardware learning stations each include a real robot arm on which trainees can safely try out various applications.
  • Teaching materials support the teachers in their lesson planning and offer students the opportunity to deepen their knowledge.
  • In face-to-face training sessions, teachers and training officers train themselves to prepare for teaching with Cobots.

Specialists for the industry of tomorrow


„In many areas of the working world, collaborating robots are already part of the standard inventory today,“ Alboni is convinced. „If companies take this to heart in their training operations, they not only give their trainees a clear knowledge advantage. At the same time, they are investing in their own future, because skilled workers with robotics know-how are increasingly essential for competitive success – now also beyond the manufacturing industry in logistics, trade or the laboratory sector.

Modernizing training in SMEs

With the new concept universal robot addresses itself beside vocational schools also to small and medium-size training enterprises. These companies play a central role in the German apprenticeship system: around 80 percent of apprentices in Germany complete their training there. Thanks to the space-saving, profitable lightweight robotics from Universal Robots, automation is now also affordable for SMEs. The industry pioneer has thus sustainably lowered access barriers. Since entering the market in 2008, Universal Robots has sold more than 46,000 Cobots that make the work of employees in companies around the world easier.

https://www.universal-robots.com/de/education/

Translated with www.DeepL.com

Robo Wunderkind Explorer Lite Freestyle Build Session

Robo Wunderkind Explorer Lite Freestyle Build Session Timelapse Video. I built my first own creation and used the Robo Blockly app to program it.

Record 2.7 Million Robots Work in Factories Around the Globe

IFR presents World Robotics 2020 – #WorldRobotics2020

Frankfurt, Sep 24, 2020 — The new World Robotics 2020 Industrial Robots report shows a record of 2.7 million industrial robots operating in factories around the world – an increase of 12%. Sales of new robots remain on a high level with 373,000 units shipped globally in 2019. This is 12% less compared to 2018, but still the 3rd highest sales volume ever recorded.

“The stock of industrial robots operating in factories around the world today marks the highest level in history,” says Milton Guerry, President of the International Federation of Robotics. “Driven by the success story of smart production and automation this is a worldwide increase of about 85% within five years (2014-2019). The recent slowdown in sales by 12% reflects the difficult times the two main customer industries, automotive and electrical/electronics, have experienced.”

“In addition to that, the consequences from the coronavirus pandemic for the global economy cannot be fully assessed yet,” proceeds Milton Guerry. “The remaining months of 2020 will be shaped by adaption to the ´new normal´. Robot suppliers adjust to the demand for new applications and developing solutions. A major stimulus from large-scale orders is unlikely this year. China might be an exception, because the coronavirus was first identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019 and the country already started its recovery in the second quarter. Other economies report to be at the turning point right now. But it will take a few months until this translates into automation projects and robot demand. 2021 will see recovery, but it may take until 2022 or 2023 to reach the pre-crisis level.”

Asia, Europe and the Americas – overview

Asia remains the strongest market for industrial robots – operational stock for the region´s largest adopter China rose by 21% and reached about 783,000 units in 2019. Japan ranks second with about 355,000 units – plus 12 %. A runner-up is India with a new record of about 26,300 units – plus 15%. Within five years, India has doubled the number of industrial robots operating in the country´s factories.

The share of newly installed robots in Asia was about two thirds of global supply. Sales of almost 140,500 new robots in China is below the record years of 2018 and 2017 but still more than double the numbers sold five years ago (2014: 57,000 units). Installations of top Asian markets slowed down – in China (minus 9%) and Japan (minus 10%).

Annual installations of industrial robots TOP 15 countries © World Robotics 2020 Report

In China, the broad majority of 71% of new robots was shipped in from foreign suppliers. Chinese manufacturers still mainly cater to the domestic market, where they gain increasing market shares. Foreign suppliers deliver some 29% of their units to the automotive industry, while it is only around 12% for Chinese suppliers. Therefore, foreign suppliers are more affected by the decline of business in the Chinese automotive industry than the domestic suppliers.

Europe

Europe reached an operational stock of 580,000 units in 2019 – plus 7%. Germany remains the main user with an operational stock of about 221,500 units – this is about three times the stock of Italy (74,400 units), five times the stock of France (42,000 units) and about ten times the stock of the UK (21,700 units).

Robot sales show a differentiated picture for the largest markets within the European Union: About 20,500 robots were installed in Germany. This is below the record year 2018 (minus 23%) but on the same level as 2014-2016. Sales in France (+15%), Italy (+13%) and the Netherlands (+8%) went up. Robotics in the United Kingdom remains on a low level – new installations slowed down by 16%. The newly installed 2,000 units in the UK are about ten times less than the shipments in Germany (20,500 units), about five times less than in Italy (11,100 units) and about three times less than in France (6,700 units).

Americas

The USA is the largest industrial robot user in the Americas, reaching a new operational stock record of about 293.200 units – up 7%. Mexico comes second with 40,300 units, which is a plus of 11% followed by Canada with about 28,600 units – plus 2%.

New installations in the United States slowed down by 17% in 2019 compared to the record year of 2018. Although, with 33,300 shipped units, sales remain on a very high level representing the second strongest result of all time. Most of the robots in the USA are imported from Japan and Europe. Although, there are not many North American robot manufacturers, there are numerous important robot system integrators. Mexico ranks second in North America with almost 4,600 units – a slowdown of 20%. Sales in Canada are 1% up to a new record of about 3,600 shipped units.

South America´s number one operational stock is in Brazil with almost 15,300 units – plus 8%. Sales slowed down by 17% with about 1,800 installations – still one of the best results ever – only beaten by record shipments in 2018.

Worldwide trend in human-robot collaboration

The adoption of human-robot collaboration is on the rise. We saw cobot installations grew by 11%. This dynamic sales performance was in contrast to the overall trend with traditional industrial robots in 2019. As more and more suppliers offer collaborative robots and the range of applications becomes bigger, the market share reached 4.8% of the total of 373,000 industrial robots installed in 2019. Although this market is growing rapidly, it is still in its infancy.

Collaborative and traditional industrial robots © IFR International Federation of Robotics

Outlook

Globally, COVID-19 has a strong impact on 2020 – but also offers a chance for modernization and digitalization of production on the way to recovery. In the long run, the benefits of increasing robot installations remain the same: Rapid production and delivery of customized products at competitive prices are the main incentives. Automation enables manufacturers to keep production in developed economies – or reshore it – without sacrificing cost efficiency. The range of industrial robots continues to expand – from traditional caged robots capable of handling all payloads quickly and precisely to new collaborative robots that work safely alongside humans, fully integrated into workbenches.

Orders

Orders for World Robotics 2020 Industrial Robots and Service Robots reports can be placed online and grant immediate access to the 2019 figures.

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.

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