Robot News #4


There continues to be a lot of news about robots, AI and automation. Some of these articles date back to April, but I think they are still relevant.

Hitachi’s Answer to Pepper

Hitachi has introduced the EMIEW3 as a competitor to Pepper. It is designed as a human helper in stores and public facilities. It seems to have a little better specs than Pepper, but not a huge jump forward. Read a little more here.


Robots Collaborate for Food Processing

Sweden’s Atria Scandinavia has added Universal Robots pick-and-place robots to it’s factory to improve performance. Atria engineers found them easy to integrate into their processes. Because of the improved productivity and savings realized the ROI on the robots has only been one year.

Atria found that using robots instead of dedicated automation reduces downtime and makes conversion to processing a different product on the packaging line much faster. The robots have also reduced carton wastage by 25%. Read more here.

SciFi Fears Inhibit AI

In “Brave new world? Sci-fi fears ‘hold back progress of AI’, warns expert” the possibility that all of the apocalyptic science fiction movies and books with robots rising against their human masters may be slowing the acceptance of AI and robots.

Chris Bishop, director of Microsoft Research in Cambridge, is cited in this article. Bishop is pro AI, even being one of the co-signers of the open letter published last year calling for the pursuit of AI for good.

I do agree with the concept. I think that media has imbedded in too many minds the fear of a robotic/AI rebellion.

Robots Will Work Next to Humans

At the RoboUniverse conference held about a year ago the point that robots will primarily supplement humans rather than replacing them was put forward. This is a highly contested opinion as prior posting have documented.

The fact that robots are introduced to supplement humans making them more efficient and that additional personnel will be needed to maintain the robots were part of the argument presented. Read more here.

Chinese Robot Jia

The University of Science and Technology of China introduced their very human looking “Jia Jia”robot. The robot can carry on a conversation and use facial expressions. The article “China’s realistic robot Jia Jia can chat with real humans” includes a video demonstration.

The robot looks very realistic.

IBM Introduces Brain on a Chip

IBM introduced the neurosynaptic processor back in August of 2014. The 5.4 billion transistor chip boasts 4096 synaptic cores. This chip or others like it may lay the path for future “smart” devices. Read more here.


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