3D Printing is helping reinvent robots (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 77)

3D printing is helping many industries find new effective ways of going about their business. In robotics, this was particularly apparent, mostly due to the still very early nature of the field. The research environment is more flexible and open to disruption and this has led to some pretty amazing applications. Through generative design CAD techniques, Boston Dynamics robots got a substantial weight-cut and simplified the overall design, much like Airbus is doing with its airplane cabin parts. Thanks to its manufacturing flexibility and quick iteration times, 3D printing is enabling wild prototying ideas, like new soft robotic grippers, and aiding students in not only putting robotics within reach but to be able to innovate on practically the same level as any other company.

A Morning Jog With Boston Dynamic’s 3D Printing Powered Atlas Robot

Structure of the Atlas' legs. Image via Boston Dynamics

Despite the feeling for this extremely realistic robot, [Boston Dynamic’sAtlas is undeniably a feat of modern engineering, in many parts enabled by 3D printing. To be expected, the legs responsible for Atlas’ convincing agility have been cited as one of the most challenging parts of its development. Each leg is actuated by hydraulic power, requiring the internal integration of multiple channels and actuator cylinders into a single part – a task that has been overcome with the use of 3D printing.

Read the full coverage on 3D Printing Industry.

Silicone material enables the 3D printing of soft robotic grippers

3d printing of soft robotic grippers

The ACEO team from Wacher Chemie AG chose 3D printing for its soft robotic grippers because this technology lets designers customize the grippers into varying sizes, shapes and weights. The elastomer material is made from 100% silicone and can be used in food applications and also offers biocompatibility.

Check out the full article here.

Rize One 3D Printer Helps Students Reach Success in Robotics Competition

FRC Team 1257 was part of a challenge that was called FIRST Power Up, which asked students to build robots that placed boxes on scales. As part of the challenge, the team designed a functional pulley with an integrated sprocket and used a Rize One 3D printer to 3D print it in one piece, reducing the number of parts that would have otherwise been needed and minimizing the assembly required.

“We chose the Rize One 3D printer to print the part due to Rize’s isotropic part strength and ink marking capability,” said Jackie Gerstein, a technology teacher at UCMHS and faculty advisor and mentor to Team 1257.

Read the article here.

 

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Automation is cause for unemployment, or is it? (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 43)

There’s been massive outcry recently regarding the shift in automation employment in various industries, threatening nearly 40% of jobs by 2030. Factories are quickly implementing new automated systems for warehouse management, manufacturing and most menial tasks. Taking away manual jobs from the market, many are complaining it’s eroding the economy as a whole in the process. In fact, some countries are relying on industries that are seeing a massive shift to automation, effectively truncating and undermining their workforce. This is most dangerous to those regions struggling to rise above the poverty line, where traditional factories are being replaced by automated performance power-houses. Nonetheless, the data is showing automation is not characterizing unemployment as we feared. This is all the more pronounced in those countries where institutions have been put in place to enable the pursuit of more future-oriented occupations. If we look back at ATMs in the ’70s, we will see a decline in the number of employees per branch but the new system encouraged companies to build more and more branches, mitigating the effect. All in all, while automation is having an impact on unemployment per se, new possibilities are being created to make a smarter, more efficient system possible while keeping the economy machine churning.

 

This Economic Model Organized Asia for Decades. Now It’s Broken

Today, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Myanmar are in the early stages of climbing that ladder—but automation threatens to block their ascent. Instead of opening well-staffed factories in these countries, Chinese companies that need to expand are building robot-heavy facilities at home. “The window is closing on emerging nations,” says Cai Fang, a demographer in Beijing who advises the Chinese government on labor policy. “They will not have the opportunity that China had in the past.”

Keep reading at Bloomberg.

 

The rise of robots in the German labour market

Although robots do not affect total employment, they do have strongly negative impacts on manufacturing employment in Germany. We calculate that one additional robot replaces two manufacturing jobs on average. This implies that roughly 275,000 full-time manufacturing jobs have been destroyed by robots in the period 1994-2014. But, those sizable losses are fully offset by job gains outside manufacturing. In other words, robots have strongly changed the composition of employment by driving the decline of manufacturing jobs illustrated in Figure 1. Robots were responsible for almost 23% of this decline. But they have not been major killers so far when it comes to the total number of jobs in the German economy.

Read the full article here.

 

Chill: Robot-related job loss won’t be that bad (probably)

Chill: Robot-related job loss won’t be that bad (probably)

[…] the ATM was highly disruptive. You’d be tempted to equate this disruption with job loss, as fewer employees at bank branches meant thousands were suddenly without jobs.

But you’d be wrong.

Since ATMs made it much cheaper for banks to operate, it led to a boom, of sorts, in building new branches. From 1989 to 2004, banks opened 43% more physical locations than it did in the period before ATMs — leading to more jobs in banking, consequently.And that’s not even considering the additional skilled laborers needed to install, configure, and maintain over 400,000 ATMs installed nationwide since the 70s. Or, there’s the drivers and guards needed to fill them. There’s those who work in customer service, laborers who man the assembly lines, parts companies responsible for the pieces within them, ISPs (and their employees) who keep them online, security experts who lock down the network from hackers, and so on.

 

Read the full article at The Next Web.

 

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Automation, analyzing our hands-free future (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 26)

This week we are going to take a look at what automation is doing to our current socio-economical global landscape. It has pervaded the news with its most face-value effect of taking over manual human jobs, which it undoubtedly is: what the public is missing is a clear overview of the far-reaching effects. For example, automation will be able to provide a cushion for the ageing demographic of those countries who are dragging the economic growth. Presently, automation technologies and IIoT are bringing more to the table than raw workforce, exposing unconventional growth vectors to businesses. Automation is also hinting at a possible future in which jobs could be erased, urging a new definition of the individual’s social and economic contribution.

Robots May Help Defuse Demographic Time Bomb in Germany, Japan

robots welding at VW factory

Japan and Germany may be sitting on a ticking demographic time bomb where aging populations begin to drag down economic growth. Good thing they’re also prime candidates for robot revolutions. Increased automation and more use of robotic technology in these manufacturing powerhouses could help cushion the impact, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

Moody’s analysts wrote in the report this month:

“To the extent that robots can undertake activity that require labor, they will compensate for the negative impact that a slower growth in labor force would have otherwise had on growth.”

Read more about it on Industry Week.

Driving Unconventional Growth through the Industrial Internet of Things

Screen Shot 2017-06-17 at 10.17.26 PM

The IIoT has been heralded primarily as a way to improve operational efficiency. But in today’s environment, companies can also benefit greatly by seeing it as a tool for finding growth in unexpected opportunities.
In the future, successful companies will use the Industrial Internet of Things to capture new growth through three approaches: boost revenues by increasing production and creating new hybrid business models, exploit intelligent technologies to fuel innovation, and transform their workforce.

Read the report by Accenture.

Technology Will Erase Jobs—But Also Make Everything Cheap or Free

At Singularity University’s Exponential Finance Summit in New York this week, [Peter] Diamandis talked about the broad and specific trends he believes are leading to a demonetized world. […] The counterbalance to technological unemployment, Diamandis said, is the demonetization of living—in other words, pretty much everything we need and do in our day-to-day lives is becoming radically cheaper, if not free, and technology’s making it happen.

Read the whole article at SingularityHub.

 

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