Yes, we realize that the month of June is almost halfway over, and we’re talking about automation stories from May 2018. We’ll admit, we’ve been swamped, not only with other event coverage, but also preparing for our own Robotics & AI Summit @ LiveWorx next week in Boston.
If you’ve been just as busy, you may have missed some of the most popular articles on Robotics Business Review over the past month. Lucky for you, that’s what we’re here for. For those readers too busy to click through every article and link on the RBR website, here are our Top 5 stories from May 2018.
5) How AI and IoT Smart Sensors Are Preserving a Lake Ecosystem
Summer arrived late in the Northern Hemisphere, but post-Memorial Day activities have many flocking to lakes for swimming, fishing, boating, and other vacation activities. Lake George, N.Y., is one such destination, and for the past 30+ years, people have been working on preserving the freshwater ecosystem through The Fund for Lake George.
That group, along with IBM and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), has formed The Jefferson Project, using sensors and computer modeling to help track and monitor things like invasive species, precipitation and water quality to make sure that the lake and the surrounding area remains as pristine as it was in the 1700s.
4) 3D Printing Startup Arevo Names New CEO, $12.5M Funding Round
Additive manufacturing, a.k.a. 3D printing, has long been used for prototyping, but most of the headlines have been around consumer and hobbyists over the past few years.
The trends indicate, however, that manufacturers will reap even more benefits as new processes emerge that can create stronger materials.
One company doing this is Arevo, which combines a spinning turntable and robotic arm with software to create stronger composite materials.
As part of its funding announcement in May 2018, the company showed of a 3D-printed bike made of these innovative materials.
3) Wearable Robotics Move From Exoskeleton to Lightweight Suit
Exoskeletons aren’t just for fictional characters in science fiction movies – they’re now improving lives by providing strength and balance to people who couldn’t stand or walk without this assistance.
In this article, author Peter Van der Schaft profiles work being done in the Netherlands to create more lightweight exoskeletons rather than the more rigid parts, motors, and batteries often seen in this space. For patients experiencing nerve and muscle damage, these lighter suits can provide more benefits.
2) Rakuten Super Logistics Picks InVia Robotics for Goods-to-Person, RaaS Systems
As warehouses and other e-commerce fulfillment companies move out of robotics trials and tests, you’re going to see more announcements of companies fully deploying mobile robot systems.
In this case, Rakuten Super Logistics said in May 2018 that it was working with InVia Robotics to automate RSL’s warehouses in the U.S.
The robotics-as-a-service (RaaS) model that InVia uses was one of the key factors in the decision to go with InVia, Rakuten said. The model can help reduce the risk for companies deploying robots, as well as lower costs than a full-scale robotics capital purchase.
1) E-Commerce Drives FedEx to Find Robots for Multiple Challenges
FedEx is one of the world’s largest delivery companies, so it’s no surprise that an article describing how they’re utilizing automation would be the top story for the month on Robotics Business Review.
In a May 2018 interview with RBR Senior Editor Eugene Demaitre, FedEx’s Ted Dengel discussed efforts at his companies on deploying different robotics systems, including those from Vecna Technologies. He also discusses drone deliveries, last-mile delivery, and addressing the labor shortage in the supply chain market.
Dengel is one of the guest speakers at next week’s Robotics & AI Summit, so you can hear Dengel speak about these issues and more in Boston next week.
That’s it for May 2018 — see you in July (hopefully earlier than the middle of the month).