What’s New in Robotics? 05.05.2023
View the news summary for the week in vitro human egg fertilization using robots, needles and SONY PlayStation 5 controllers, small batch machining that multiplies its output with robotic work cells, new HaaS (Harvest as a Service) offering from Ripe Robotics, Kodiak Robotics automates Class 8 EV trucks, and echolocation for AGV and mobile robot won first place at LogiMat 2023.
Robots, needles & babies
The new era of desktops in vitro Fertilization (IVF) has arrived. The net for couples who wish they couldn’t have babies yet: SONY’s PlayStation 5 robots, needles and controllers have just shattered a multi-billion dollar industry with a cheap, reliable and effective replacement.
In the US, the average cost of one IVF (in vitro fertilization cycle) can range from $15,000 to $25,000, according to dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News’ chief medical correspondent and board-certified OBGYN physician. Plus, there’s the emotional toll, as one woman told ABC: “Going through IVF is brutal, isolated and incredibly lonely. It’s a dangerous rollercoaster ride that goes from hope to despair, moment by moment. This is very distressing physically, psychologically, and spiritually.”
Around 500,000 children are born via IVF globally each year.
A startup based in Barcelona, Spain, Overture Lifehas built a robotic system that it claims “is a first step towards automating in vitro fertilization, or IVF, and has the potential to make this procedure cheaper and much more common than it is today”.
“Think of a box where sperm and eggs go in, and embryos come out five days later,” says Santiago Munné, a prize-winning geneticist who is the chief innovation officer at the Spanish company.
At New York City’s New Hope Fertility Center, a mechanical engineer from Overture, without any medical training, uses a robot, a needle holding a single sperm, and a PlayStation 5 controller to guide the needle, penetrate a live female’s egg or ovum and inject the sperm.
To David Sable, a former fertility doctor who now runs an investment fund, said IVF has been “40 years of incredible science and completely mediocre systems engineering.”
Overture Labs has changed all that by revolutionizing embryology.
Robot and FANUC RoboDrill triple throughput
The dental lamp uses a custom light-emitting diode (LED) to light dental materials, penetrate even into the porcelain to curing the underlying resin cement.
Based in Utah Ultradent had production issues producing Valo LED curing lamps. Small batch production was too slow: 50 minutes and three complex machining operations to produce one curing lamp.
The manufacturing process involves “loading raw materials by hand and finished parts; a complicated and slow process for a company with only three employees on the shop floor per shift.”
“We needed more reliability and faster cycle times,” said Ryan Umpleby, Sr. programmer. Ultradent CAD/CAM.
Workaround: two dedicated automation cells, each consisting of a FANUC RoboDrill, a FANUC robotic arm, and space for raw stock storage. The cells now operate for 16 hours a day with the engine unattended and the lights out.
Production cycle time deducted from “about 45 minutes, down to 21 minutes average. With only three employees on the factory floor per shift, automating the loading/unloading process.” With ongoing 24/7 operation, Ultradent nearly triples its throughput while reducing machining costs associated with third-party processing.
Expanding to 24/7 operation, Ultradent nearly triples its throughput while reducing machining costs associated with third-party processing.
Ripe Robotics HaaS (Harvest as a Service)
Most farms would be happy to free themselves from having to hire laborers at harvest time or having to own and maintain a robot harvester. Based in Australia Mature robotics and its fleet of robot harvesters offers both as a service.
“We build and operate our very own fruit picking robot, using our own design,” said Hunter Jay, CEO of Ripe Robotics. “We can optimize for the things growers care about—speed, price, quality of pick-up—without optimizing for things an off-the-shelf robot usually requires, like millimeter-level precision.”
Instead of selling its harvesting robots, Ripe Robotics also runs them during the harvest, instead of asking farmers to operate, maintain and store the automated vehicles in the garden.
The ease-of-use scenario for such automated harvesting is very different for farmers. Farmers simply switch from employing human workers at harvest to employing robots.
Jay says that such an arrangement also gives Ripe Robotics product upgrades and enhancements. Working on the harvest gave Jay’s team a first-hand view of the harvester and the harvesting process simultaneously.
“Our robots will change things for growers as we scale, reduce the amount of labor they need to sourcing and manage each year,” said Jay, “and give them more information about what happened to their fruit during the season.”
Autonomous 18-wheel EV
class 8 truck are road monster nomads, typically 18-wheeler tractor-trailers with a gross vehicle weight of over 33,000 pounds. It’s big and clunky, and quite dangerous if one gets out of hand. To makeover a Class 8 truck into an autonomous truck is quite difficult.
Mountain View, CA based Kodiak Robotics recently completed a driverless truck makeover and introduced its first autonomous electric Class 8 truck: the electric Peterbilt Model 579EV.
The Peterbilt Class 8 trucks are equipped with Kodiak’s fifth generation sensors. The company reports that its autonomous system is “vehicle- and powertrain-agnosticallowing Kodiak to easily incorporate its autonomous systems into growing truck platforms as they become available, regardless of fuel type.”
The Peterbilt can be recharged in three hours, claims Kodiak, and boasts a peak power rating of 670 horsepower. With a range of up to 150 miles, the company also notes that the truck is designed for short-haul deployment and hauling, and will be a test vehicle for Kodiak.
The Echo One made its debut and won LogiMat’s “best prize”.
Before LogiMAT 2023Europe’s largest trade fair for intralogistics, closing April 27, was announced three best show prizes. Echo One, debuting along with 100 other new products, took first place in the “Order Taking, Conveying, Lifting and Storage Technologies” category.
Echo One, from Germany Toposens GmbHis the company’s 3D ultrasonic collision avoidance technology, designed to mimic the echolocation technique of bats.
Toposens claims that this is the first sensor for AGV and mobile robots. Unlike existing sensor technology, says a company spokesperson, which can be negatively affected by lighting or humidity conditions (such as fog), “Echo One uses echolocation to generate powerful real-time 3D echo location data to guide autonomous systems in a variety of applications. .
The performance of this 3D ultrasonic sensor is strong in harsh environments (featuring a protection rating of IP67), as it is dust-resistant and unaffected by dust, smoke and mist.”
Its low power consumption of 2.2 W supports the robot’s long uptime, while the Echo One offers a solution “for existing deficiencies, it is usually an optical range search technology through best-in-class 3D object detection (such as detecting forklifts in 3D space).”