Medical

Telepresence Robots Attempt to Move Back Into the Spotlight

Credit: Ava Robotics The public’s first exposure to telepresence robots likely came during a 2010 episode of The Big Bang Theory, when character Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) drives a robot to avoid catching germs from his friends and colleagues. The punchline was that Cooper was inside his bedroom one room away, not across the country like most users would be. This should have been a watershed moment for the telepresence market – showing a mainstream audience the benefits of a mobile robot that could attend meetings in place of a worker being physically present. Almost eight years later, many people are still waiting to see more telepresence robots in their offices or homes. Compared with robotics suppliers to the manufacturing, supply chain, and self-driving vehicles markets, telepresence...

Robot Investments Weekly: Money Flows to Mobile, Medical Robots

Credit: CMR Surgical After last week’s investment spotlight fell on autonomous cars and artificial intelligence systems, this week we saw a focus on healthcare and medical robots. Several surgical systems and AI-based platforms aimed at helping doctors diagnose diseases made headlines with investments from venture capital firms. We’re highlighting 20 transactions from recent weeks, but you can always track more investments in the RBR Transactions Database. Our regularly updated database lets you sort deals by company, industry, technology, or transaction type. RBR Insiders can also download the Q1 2018 Transactions Report, which gives further analysis on automation spending. Let’s get to this week’s transactions! Medical robots and AI systems earn the spotlight Medical robots that help sur...

Robotics & Geopolitics: Automation Looms Over Vegas Union Talks; Healthcare AI Woes for IBM

Credit: Mariamichelle via Pixabay A potential strike by casino workers in Las Vegas was averted, but their concerns over automation will likely remain. In addition, this week saw IBM laying off employees in its Watson Health division, and China launching facial recognition efforts in Africa. Robotics Business Review has partnered with Abishur Prakash at Center for Innovating the Future to provide its readers with cutting-edge insights into recent developments in international robotics, AI, and unmanned systems. Are you ready to be updated? Automation among concerns of Las Vegas casino unions Robotics developments: On June 1, a deal between the Culinary and Bartenders Unions and several large hospitality companies in Las Vegas, including MGM, expired. The unions represent around 38,000 work...

Flexibility, Collaboration Key When Building Robots That May Cure Cancer

Credit: HighRes Biosolutions For biopharmaceutical companies looking to discover the next big breakthrough in the fight against cancer, automating their processes can literally be a matter of life and death. With billions of dollars being spent to research drug discovery, finding ways to more quickly automate research is a high priority. HighRes Biosolutions aims to help pharmaceutical and biotech companies automate laboratory operations in areas that include drug discovery, high-throughput genotyping, sequencing sample preparation, and molecular diagnostics. Founded in 2004, the Beverly, Mass.-based company offers a modular and flexible docking station and workstation “pod” that allows scientists to swap testing devices in and out in about 30 seconds. This lets researchers deploy automate...

Wild Card Entrants Join IBM Watson AI XPRIZE Competition

Today, the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE announced three additional teams for its multiyear contest, which is intended to encourage development of artificial intelligence tools to “solve societal grand challenges.” The contestants from the Wild Card round join 59 teams that have advanced to Round 2. The IBM Watson AI XPRIZE is different from other competitions in that the participants identify the problems they want to solve rather than the organizers. “The idea really is that we have an open competition — we’re not asking people to solve a given problem,” said Amir Banifatemi, new frontiers group lead at XPRIZE. “We’ve given the crowd out there a way to frame grand challenges with AI.” “There are plenty of hackathons, as well as DARPA or NSF challenges out there that are domain-focused,” he said. ...

Robots Help Teach STEM Concepts to Autistic Students

Credit: Alicia Moody, University of North Carolina, Wilmington. As schools around the world look for ways to better teach science, technology, engineering, and math to students, many teachers are finding that robots can help teach STEM concepts to children with autism because of their physical nature and consistent behavior. For example, one classroom is using Bee-Bots to move to different math problems on a grid, with children expected to answer problems and code the robot to move to the next location, where a second problem awaits. In another classroom, Sphero robots help teach motion and friction principles by running through mazes and adding chariots with weights to enhance friction. A NAO robot Amelia Moody, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, said ...

Wearable Robotics Move From Exoskeleton to Lightweight Suit

[embedded content] Opening of Wearable Robotics Lab, Twente University, The Netherlands Exoskeletons, as the name indicates, are skeletons on the outside of bodies. In health technology, exoskeletons can provide patients with the strength and balance needed to stand and even walk. But what if a patient’s problem isn’t with the bones or joints, but with the nerves or muscles? Enter wearable robotics. Herman van der Kooij, Twente University Currently, most “exoskeltons” feature rigid parts, motors, and batteries. When a patient’s walking problems are in the nerves and muscles, however, this doesn’t make much sense, according to Herman van der Kooij, professor of Biomechatronics and Rehabilitation at Twente University in Netherlands and head of the Wearable Robotics research consortium. “A he...

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