Posted in kitchen remodel

Toyota Research Institute experiments with robots that hang from the ceiling and unfold to clean the kitchen

Researchers are using fleet learning and simulations to train robots to navigate one of the most complex environments: A home.

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Visiting  private homes in Japan inspired researchers to build a new domestic robot that moves around on the ceiling instead of the floor.

Image: Toyota Research Institute

Working in a factory is easy for robots with the structured environment and repetitive tasks that come with that job. Helping with housework is a much bigger challenge. Scientists at the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) are taking on that challenge by building new domestic robots and training them in a mock home.

Gill Pratt, the CEO of TRI and Kelly Kay, the Institute’s executive vice president and chief finance officer, gave a virtual tour of the TRI labs on Thursday. Max Bajracharya, the vice president of robotics and Steffi Paepcke, the senior user experience leader, explained the research and development process for building

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Posted in contractions

Robots stumble amid COVID-19 pressure

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New data released by the Association for Advancing Automation (A3) and ITR Economics suggest that even robots, which in many ways have been the darling technology of the pandemic, are not immune from stagnating sales. The data indicates a substantial year-to-date decline in robotics, machine vision, and motion control orders compared to last year.

Released as part of the Global Economic and Automation Outlook, the numbers put the decline in robot orders in North America, which totaled 13,524 units, at a whopping 18% compared to the first half of 2019. Order revenues fell in equal measure to $716 million in the North American market.

The scale of the contraction may seem surprising given the rosy outlook for automation amid pandemic-related shutdowns. However, the top-line numbers also mask strong performance in certain automation categories.

“It’s clear that our industry is feeling the effects of COVID-19, its strain on supply chains,

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