How to fund Digital Manufacturing? (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 80)

Funds like Atomico are already forming a portfolio of startups poised to disrupt many verticals through IIoT, robotics and AI, and they are showing excitement for the future as well. There is tremendous value to be created through digital startups, many of which take on daunting challenges. The aptly named Automation Everywhere wants to bring, you guessed it, automation to any mundane human task, both physically and digitally, and has just raised $1.8 billion valuation. Similarly, company Katerra wants to reinvent how the construction industry is structured and has already raised $865 million in venture capital. But is Venture Capital really the right way to fund a B2B industry with slow sales? The fact that Automation Everywhere waited 15 years to raise its first funding, and Katerra is backed with $865m from Softbank indicates maybe not. Maybe more patient private capital, or even public markets – with their more limited growth objectives – are the right source of funding. Foxconn backing Andrew Ng, while Flex has backed ex-Autodesk CEO Carl Bass with $200m indicates it may be so. Our prediction: We’ll see a lot more interesting funding mechanisms in this industry going forward.

Data, AI & Robots: Atomico’s Take on Industry 4.0

Inexpensive sensors, cheap wireless communications infrastructure, highly scalable cloud-based data processing and novel machine learning methods have converged to a point where the building blocks are in place for a new Machine Age. Venture capital investment in internet-of-things in Industry (the decidedly ugly-sounding “IIoT”) is at an all time high, according to a CB Insights report on the topic, with over $1bn invested in Q4 2017 alone.

Read the full article at Medium.

Silicon Valley company that automates ‘mundane’ tasks with robots gets nearly $2 billion valuation

A Silicon Valley company that uses bots to automate certain tasks previously done by human workers has reached a $1.8 billion valuation with a new fundraising from several companies, including Goldman Sachs. San Jose, California-headquartered Automation Anywhere this week announced a $250 million round of fundraising — its first round of outside funding despite being in business for 15 years.

Read the rest here.

Can Silicon Valley Disrupt How We Build?

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Katerra announced that it had acquired Michael Green Architecture, a 25-person architecture firm in Vancouver, British Columbia. On June 12, the company revealed that it had bought another, larger architecture firm, Atlanta-based Lord Aeck Sargent. This comes five months after Katerra raised $865 million in venture capital from funders led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund, which has also invested heavily in the co-working startup WeWork. “The construction industry is ripe for digital disruption,” said co-founder and chairman Michael Marks in a press release. “This new round of funding will enable us to further invest in R&D and continue to scale the business.”

Read the full article here.

 

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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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Machine-Driven Performance for the Digital Thread (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 32)

Machine-learning methods are transforming image recognition and problem-solving skills in computers with hardware and simulation algorithms that are capable of providing actionable insights. Businesses are already starting to employ these new tools to gain a more efficient and productive workflow, automating the digital thread beyond simple dematerialization, as well as stepping into smart decision-making.

Machine Learning “Surfnet” Creates 3D Models From 2D Images

The SurfNet process. Image via Purdue University Mechanical Engineering.
The SurfNet process. Image via Purdue University Mechanical Engineering.

New research has developed AI technology that can transform 2D images into 3D content. The method, called SurfNet, has great potential in the field of robotics and autonomous vehicles, as well as creating digital 3D content. The research was led by Purdue University’s Donald W. Feddersen Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Karthik Ramani.

Karthik Ramani explains this process:

“If you show it hundreds of thousands of shapes of something such as a car, if you then show it a 2D image of a car, it can reconstruct that model in 3D”.

Read more about Surfnet here.

 

MIT’s Robotic Arm 3D Printers Take The Stress Out of Architecture

4 self-supporting gridshell test designs, 3D printed in plastic using a robotic arm. Image via 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing journal.

Stress Line Additive Manufacturing (SLAM) is an architectural 3D printing concept out of MIT. It challenges the typical FDM approach to construction, accounting for structural stresses caused by the act of depositing material layer-by-layer. […] In further development, the researchers will apply further architectural theory to the designs and make solid filled objects. They also hope to be able to integrate sensors into the system so the robotic arm intelligently adapts the design as it prints.

Read more about it at 3D Printing Industry.

 

Geometric search engines – How useful are they?

Digitisation presents challenges as well as opportunities: On the one hand we’re surrounded by more data than ever before, yet on the other, we have more efficient tools to manage the onslaught. […] In the process of searching for similar designs, while we have traditional search methods like text based and keyword based, they do fall short at times. Geometric Search Engines (GSEs) can significantly improve speed and efficiency of the digital thread in additive manufacturing to help solve these challenges.

Read the full article at Develop3D.

 

Don’t forget to come back next week for another news’ roundup. In the mean time, our Twitter feed should keep you updated with the latest AM/IIoT news!