Robotics

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trader32176
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Robotics

Post by trader32176 »

Coronavirus lockdown leads to increase in automation as employers turn to robots to keep their businesses running

1/31/21


https://www.outbreak.news/2021-01-31-co ... esses.html


As the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic rages on in North America and millions of people remain in lockdown, manufacturers and other industries are turning to robots to keep their factories running.

According to a report by the Association for Advancing Automation, a trade organization that advocates for the supposed benefits of automating jobs, North American companies ordered 9,972 robot units in the fourth quarter of 2020. This represents a nearly 64 percent increase over the fourth quarter of 2019, the second-best quarter ever for North American robotics sales. The total number of robot units sold in 2020 was 31,044, which is up 3.5 percent from 2019.

“The surge in robot orders that we’re seeing, despite the pandemic, demonstrates the growing interest in robotic and automation solutions,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of the Association for Advancing Automation, in the company’s report. “It’s promising to see the growth of robotics in new applications and reaching a wider group of users than ever before.”

“The pandemic has created a sense of urgency for manufacturing companies to invest in automation like never before,” said Mike Cicco, CEO of the American arm of Fanuc Corporation, a Japanese robot maker. “Traditionally, companies have implemented automation to reduce cost, increase output and improve quality. However, the pandemic has added an additional factor that is driving manufacturers to reexamine their supply chain to increase flexibility, minimize disruptions and move it closer to their customers.” (Related: Researchers develop an algorithm that tells robots where humans are going: Tool can soon allow humans and robots to work in a factory setting… or someday hunt us like prey.)

A vast majority of 2020’s gains in orders came during the second half of the year. In the first half, robot orders actually dropped by 18 percent as companies were still trying to figure out how to replace all of the labor power that they lost due to economic lockdowns.

But as soon as corporations got over this hurdle, demand for robots accelerated, with the gains coming from the fourth quarter of 2020 only being surpassed by the fourth quarter of 2016.

Orders for non-automotive sector jobs surpassed automotive robot orders

Before the pandemic, the jobs being automated were mostly in the manufacturing sector such as the automotive industry. Now, jobs are being automated at an alarming rate in multiple industries. For the first time ever, non-automotive sectors of the economy purchased more robots than the automotive industry.

According to the report, year-over-year orders for automotive robot units increased by 39 percent. For the plastics and rubber industry, orders increased 51 percent. For food and consumer goods, 56 percent. The industry that saw the largest surge in robot unit orders were the life sciences, pharmaceutical and biomedical industries with a 69 percent increase.

According to John Bubnikovich, North American chief regional officer for KUKA Robotics, the growth for robotics has been spurred by the level of competence in the latest robotic units.

“The automation competence level in general industry has grown, and that matured into greater demand,” he said.

This can be seen through the many technological improvements that have made it more practical for robots to replace workers in many jobs. Among them are improvements in vision and mobility and advances in machine-learning that make it much easier for the robots to complete complex tasks that they could not do before, such as preparing food.

According to Mark Joppru, vice president for ABB Robotics and Machine Automation, robots that were used in food applications used to handle simpler tasks like case loading. But ever since they started taking over food preparation jobs, the industry has seen improvements in food safety and hygiene.

“While these trends have existed for several years, COVID has changed perceptions and priorities for customers, accelerating the adoption of robotic automation,” said Joppru.

Bubnikovich added that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly shifted consumer behavior, which created expectations that would have been almost impossible to satisfy without the use of automation.

Dean Elkins, a segment leader for Yaskawa Motoman, agreed with this assessment as he has seen automation be used to aid the e-commerce industry to fulfill orders quickly while at the same time allowing for proper social distancing practices to be kept in place.

Elkins pointed out that robots have also been very useful in the production of coronavirus-related personal protective equipment, testing kits and other medical gears that are very essential for use during the pandemic.

Find out the latest news regarding advances and issues in robotics and the loss of jobs that comes with automation by reading the latest articles at Robotics.news.
trader32176
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Re: Robotics

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Researchers are developing 3D structural-sensing robots to handle healthcare tasks

2/27/21


https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210 ... tasks.aspx


Robots that could take on basic healthcare tasks to support the work of doctors and nurses may be the way of the future. Who knows, maybe a medical robot can prescribe your medicine someday? That's the idea behind 3D structural-sensing robots being developed and tested at Simon Fraser University by Woo Soo Kim, associate professor in the School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering.

"The recent pandemic demonstrates the need to minimize human-to-human interaction between healthcare workers and patients," says Kim, who authored two recent papers on the subject - a perspective on the technology and a demonstration of a robots' usefulness in healthcare.

" There's an opportunity for sensing robots to measure essential healthcare information on behalf of care providers in the future."

- Woo Soo Kim, Associate Professor, School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering, Simon Fraser University

Kim's research team programmed two robots, a humanoid figure and a robotic arm, to measure human physiological signals, working from Kim's Additive Manufacturing Lab located in SFU Surrey's new engineering building.

The robotic arm, created using Kim's 3D printed origami structures, contains biomedical electrodes on the tip of each finger. When the hand touches a person, it detects physiological signals, including those from an electrocardiogram (which monitors heartbeat), respiration rate, electromyogram (monitoring electrical signals from muscle movements) and temperature.

The humanoid robot can also monitor oxygen levels, which could be used to monitor the condition of those who develop severe COVID-19. The data can be viewed in real-time on the robot's monitor or sent directly to the healthcare provider.

Kim plans further development and testing of the robot together with healthcare collaborators. At this stage, the robots are capable of passively gathering patient information. But within the next decade, he says it's conceivable that healthcare robots fitted with artificial intelligence could take a more active role, interacting with the patient, processing the data they have collected and even prescribing medication.

Further study will also need to involve determining acceptance levels for this type of technology among various age groups, from youth to seniors, in a hospital setting.

Source:

Simon Fraser University

Journal reference:

Kim, T. H., et al. (2021) 3D Origami Sensing Robots for Cooperative Healthcare Monitoring. Advanced Materials Technologies. doi.org/10.1002/admt.202000938.
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TimGDixon
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Re: Robotics

Post by TimGDixon »

Thats how I get everything done that i get done - i use robots - tons of them, they're everywhere in my office and lab..they don't cuss (unless you program them to), they don't need breaks, they don't argue, they don't leave the toilet seat up, all around they're good guys hahahahahahahahahah
trader32176
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Re: Robotics

Post by trader32176 »

Study: Majority of patients are receptive to interaction with robots for evaluating symptoms

3/5/21


https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210 ... ptoms.aspx


In the era of social distancing, using robots for some health care interactions is a promising way to reduce in-person contact between health care workers and sick patients. However, a key question that needs to be answered is how patients will react to a robot entering the exam room.

Researchers from MIT and Brigham and Women's Hospital recently set out to answer that question. In a study performed in the emergency department at Brigham and Women's, the team found that a large majority of patients reported that interacting with a health care provider via a video screen mounted on a robot was similar to an in-person interaction with a health care worker.

"We're actively working on robots that can help provide care to maximize the safety of both the patient and the health care workforce. The results of this study give us some confidence that people are ready and willing to engage with us on those fronts," says Giovanni Traverso, an MIT assistant professor of mechanical engineering, a gastroenterologist at Brigham, and Women's Hospital, and the senior author of the study.

In a larger online survey conducted nationwide, the researchers also found that a majority of respondents were open to having robots not only assist with patient triage but also perform minor procedures such as taking a nose swab.

Peter Chai, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and a research affiliate in Traverso's lab, is the lead author of the study, which appears today in JAMA Network Open.

Triage by robot


After the COVID-19 pandemic began early last year, Traverso and his colleagues turned their attention toward new strategies to minimize interactions between potentially sick patients and health care workers. To that end, they worked with Boston Dynamics to create a mobile robot that could interact with patients as they waited in the emergency department.

The robots were equipped with sensors that allow them to measure vital signs, including skin temperature, breathing rate, pulse rate, and blood oxygen saturation. The robots also carried an iPad that allowed for remote video communication with a health care provider.

This kind of robot could reduce health care workers' risk of exposure to COVID-19 and help to conserve the personal protective equipment that is needed for each interaction. However, the question still remained whether patients would be receptive to this type of interaction.

" Often as engineers, we think about different solutions, but sometimes they may not be adopted because people are not fully accepting of them. So, in this study, we were trying to tease that out and understand if the population is receptive to a solution like this one."

- Giovanni Traverso, Study Senior Author and Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Gastroenterologist at Brigham, and Women's Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The researchers first conducted a nationwide survey of about 1,000 people, working with a market research company called YouGov.

They asked questions regarding the acceptability of robots in health care, including whether people would be comfortable with robots performing not only triage but also other tasks such as performing nasal swabs, inserting a catheter, or turning a patient over in bed.

On average, the respondents stated that they were open to these types of interactions.

The researchers then tested one of their robots in the emergency department at Brigham and Women's Hospital last spring, when COVID-19 cases were surging in Massachusetts. Fifty-one patients were approached in the waiting room or a triage tent and asked if they would be willing to participate in the study, and 41 agreed.

These patients were interviewed about their symptoms via video connection, using an iPad carried by a quadruped, dog-like robot developed by Boston Dynamics. More than 90 percent of the participants reported that they were satisfied with the robotic system.

"For the purposes of gathering quick triage information, the patients found the experience to be similar to what they would have experienced talking to a person," Chai says.

Robotic assistants

The numbers from the study suggest that it could be worthwhile to try to develop robots that can perform procedures that currently require a lot of human efforts, such as turning a patient over in bed, the researchers say.

Turning COVID-19 patients onto their stomachs, also known as "proning," has been shown to boost their blood oxygen levels and make breathing easier. Currently, the process requires several people to perform.

Administering COVID-19 tests is another task that requires a lot of time and effort from health care workers, who could be deployed for other tasks if robots could help perform swabs.

"Surprisingly, people were pretty accepting of the idea of having a robot do a nasal swab, which suggests that potential engineering efforts could go into thinking about building some of these systems," Chai says.

The MIT team is continuing to develop sensors that can obtain vital sign data from patients remotely, and they are working on integrating these systems into smaller robots that could operate in a variety of environments, such as field hospitals or ambulances.

Source:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
trader32176
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Re: Robotics

Post by trader32176 »

Robotics platform could revolutionize how labs track the spread of COVID-19, other pathogens

3/4/21


https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210 ... ogens.aspx


A robotics platform designed by Toronto researchers to screen thousands of COVID-19 samples at once has the potential to revolutionize how labs track the spread of viruses and other pathogens, according to new findings.

The study, out Wednesday in Nature Communications, found that the next-generation, ultra-high-throughput sequencing platform, called C19-SPAR-Seq, designed by researchers from the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute (LTRI) at Sinai Health, has a sensitivity rate greater than 95 per cent in positive cases during peak onset.

" Identifying positive samples quickly and accurately is critical in beating this pandemic.With new and potentially dangerous variants now circulating, this is a platform that is scalable, automated and capable of analyzing thousands of COVID-19 patient samples in a single instrument run."

- Dr. Jeff Wrana, Senior Investigator, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto

Wrana and fellow LTRI senior investigator Dr. Laurence Pelletier, in collaboration with University of Toronto professor Dr. Ben Blencowe, credit a strong team of eager trainees who shifted from other areas of research to help develop and validate the platform, allowing for the team to go from concept to published paper in under 12 months.

"The co-operation of the Mount Sinai Hospital clinical diagnostic lab was the other key ingredient to our success," said Pelletier. "To date the shared microbiology lab, headed by Dr. Tony Mazzulli, has provided access to thousands of samples."

In late 2020, the team pivoted again to use the robotics platform to screen thousands of positive samples for variants by rapidly sequencing fingerprint regions of the viral genome to look for key mutations.

"It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Dr. Jeff Wrana and his team at the LTRI," said Dr. Mazzulli, microbiologist-in-chief for Sinai Health and University Health Network (UHN). "His novel SPAR-Seq System is cutting-edge technology and his team's ability to sequence COVID-19 samples in real time has tremendous potential for impacting our understanding of the epidemiology and spread of novel mutants in the province."

The platform is also cost-effective. The study notes it only costs about $8 USD per test when running thousands of samples at once, as the cost per sample decreases due to economies of scale.

"It's extremely reliable and readily adaptable," said Javier Hernandez, a junior researcher in the Wrana lab who co-led the study with Drs. Marie-Ming Aynaud and Seda Barutcu. "The turnaround is approximately 24 hours. It's very simple as we've automated practically every step in the process. For me, it's been a very exciting thing to see my work make a difference."

Source:

Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute

Journal reference:

Aynaud, M. M., et al. (2021) A multiplexed, next generation sequencing platform for high-throughput detection of SARS-CoV-2. Nature Communications. doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-21653-y.
trader32176
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Re: Robotics

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Liquid-handling robots for wastewater surveillance help predict COVID-19 cases in San Diego

3/3/21


https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210 ... Diego.aspx


In earlier days of the COVID-19 pandemic, before diagnostic testing was widely available, it was difficult for public health officials to keep track of the infection's spread, or predict where outbreaks were likely to occur. Attempts to get ahead of the virus are still complicated by the fact that people can be infected and spread the virus even without experiencing any symptoms themselves.

When studies emerged showing that a person testing positive for COVID-19 -; whether or not they were symptomatic -; shed the virus in their stool, "the sewer seemed like the 'happening' place to look for it," said Smruthi Karthikeyan, PhD, an environmental engineer and postdoctoral researcher at University of California San Diego School of Medicine.

From July to November 2020, Karthikeyan and team, led by Rob Knight, PhD, professor and director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation at UC San Diego, sampled sewage water to see if they could detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. They could. But concentrating the wastewater proved to be a bottleneck -; it's a slow and laborious multi-step process.

Now, in a paper published March 2, 2021 in mSystems, the researchers describe how they have automated wastewater concentration with the help of liquid-handling robots. They demonstrated their system's robustness by comparing it to existing methods and showing that they can predict COVID-19 cases in San Diego by a week with excellent accuracy, and three weeks with fair accuracy, just using city sewage.

San Diego County has only one primary wastewater treatment plant, located on the coast in the city's Point Loma neighborhood. All excrement flushed away by San Diego's approximately 2.3 million residents, including those on the UC San Diego campus, ends up there.

Seven days a week, Karthikeyan or a colleague drove down to the treatment plant to pick up wastewater samples that had been collected and stored for them by on-site lab technicians. They brought the samples to Knight's lab on the UC San Diego School of Medicine campus in La Jolla.


" Unfortunately, we can't just directly test wastewater samples the way we would samples from patient nasal swabs. That's because the samples we get are highly diluted -; just think of the number of people contributing to the waste stream, plus all the junk that gets flushed and makes it to the sewer system."

- Smruthi Karthikeyan, PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of California San Diego School of Medicine

Back in the lab, the researchers process the sewage using their robotic platform. The system extracts RNA -; the genetic material that makes up the genomes of viruses like SARS-CoV-2 -; from the samples, and runs polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to search for the virus' signature genes. The automated, high-throughput system can process 24 samples every 40 minutes. Later the same day, Karthikeyan adds the data to a digital dashboard that tracks new positive cases.

According to Knight, the technique is faster, cheaper and more sensitive than other approaches to wastewater surveillance. The team is able to identify a single COVID-19 case in a building of approximately 500 people.

Wastewater monitoring key to UC San Diego's Return to Learn program

The researchers and students in Knight's lab are no strangers to dealing with stool samples. The team has long been known for their studies of the gut microbiome -; the unique communities of microbes that live in our gastrointestinal tracts. People all over the world participate in their research program, The Microsetta Initiative (aptly abbreviated "TMI"), by mailing their fecal swabs to Knight's UC San Diego lab. The crowdsourced project has allowed the team to study the many factors that might influence the makeup of a person's gut microbiome, and the many ways it influences our health.

In the spring of 2020, Knight's team quickly pivoted their focus to look for one particular microbe: SARS-CoV-2. Soon the team formed an integral part of UC San Diego's Return to Learn program, an evidence-based approach that has allowed the university to continue to offer on-campus housing and in-person classes and research opportunities. With approximately 10,000 students on campus, the many components of the program have kept COVID-19 case rates much lower than the surrounding community and most college campuses, maintaining a positivity rate of less than 1 percent.

Return to Learn relies on three pillars: risk mitigation, viral detection and intervention. Knight's team and their collaborators play a big role in viral detection on campus. They help screen for the asymptomatic presence of SARS-CoV-2 in students and staff (often self-collected using test kits available from vending machines), on surfaces and in wastewater.

The team continues to collect samples daily from more than 100 wastewater samplers on the UC San Diego campus, which cover more than 300 buildings. Approximately one month after the campus detection system came online in summer 2020, a positive case was detected in the Revelle College area one Friday afternoon. The campus community was notified within 14 hours and targeted messages were sent to people associated with the affected buildings, recommending they be tested for the virus as soon as possible. More than 650 people were tested for COVID-19 that weekend.

As a result, two asymptomatic individuals were identified as being positive for COVID-19. After the campus promptly notified them, they self-isolated before an outbreak could occur. Now, wastewater screening results are available on a public dashboard and positive samples are being sequenced to track the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants. The Return to Learn program, including wastewater testing, has become a model for other universities, K-12 school districts and regions.

"As the barrier to entry and operate continues to drop, we hope wastewater-based epidemiology will become more widely adopted," Knight said. "Rapid, large-scale infectious disease early alert systems could be particularly useful for community surveillance in vulnerable populations and communities with less access to diagnostic testing and fewer opportunities to distance and isolate -; during this pandemic, and the next."

Source:

University of California San Diego

Journal reference:


Karthikeyan, S., et al. (2021) High-Throughput Wastewater SARS-CoV-2 Detection Enables Forecasting of Community Infection Dynamics in San Diego County. mSytems. doi.org/10.1128/mSystems.00045-21.
trader32176
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Re: Robotics

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Robotic systems gain patient approval for contactless care

3/5/21


https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210 ... -care.aspx


WHO: Giovanni Traverso, MB, BChir, PhD, Associate Physician, Division of Gastroenterology, Brigham and Women's Hospital; corresponding author of a new article published in JAMA Network Open.

Peter Chai, MD, MMS, Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital; first author.

WHAT: In the age of COVID-19, mobile robotic telehealth systems could help clinicians and patients interact without contact. Last spring, some health care systems deployed robotic systems within a hospital to evaluate and interact with patients. In a JAMA Network Open article, Traverso and colleagues report the results of a national survey and a cohort study in an emergency department (ED), which analyzed patients' satisfaction with an initial evaluation conducted by a robotic system. Overall, 92.5 percent of patients were accepting of and satisfied with their experience.

"Taken together, this investigation suggests that a robotic system to facilitate contactless tele-triage in the ED is feasible, acceptable, and could have a large public health impact during the COVID-19 pandemic," the authors write.

In the cohort study, 40 stable patients in the Brigham's ED agreed to have their medical histories recorded by a four-legged, dog-like robotic system called Dr. Spot. The system, which includes four cameras and a mounted tablet, is operated remotely by a single emergency medicine provider. Of the participants, 92.5 percent reported satisfaction with Dr. Spot, and 82 percent stated that their experience was as good as an in-person encounter.

Results of the national survey, which was completed by 1,000 participants, indicated that individuals believe robotic systems are most useful for facilitating patient-physician interactions, acquiring contactless vital signs, and conducting basic SARS-CoV-2 testing by obtaining nasal and oral swabs. Participants also demonstrated approval of robotic systems that could support placement of intravenous catheters, and, for those who are critically ill, provide potential assistance with tasks like turning patients (proning).

"We anticipate robotic systems can be developed to assist with these tasks, especially during surges of patients with potential COVID-19 infection," the authors write. "Minimizing human contact with individuals who may have COVID-19 disease, but are otherwise well, may reduce the risk of in-hospital disease transmission and enable high-risk health care workers to safely interact with patients through tele-triage."

Source:

Brigham and Women's Hospital

Journal reference:


Chai, P.R., et al. (2021) Assessment of the Acceptability and Feasibility of Using Mobile Robotic Systems for Patient Evaluation. JAMA Network Open. doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.0667.
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Re: Robotics

Post by trader32176 »

Small robot swimmers that heal themselves from damage

3/24/21


https://phys.org/news/2021-03-small-robot-swimmers.html


Living tissue can heal itself from many injuries, but giving similar abilities to artificial systems, such as robots, has been extremely challenging. Now, researchers reporting in ACS' Nano Letters have developed small, swimming robots that can magnetically heal themselves on-the-fly after breaking into two or three pieces. The strategy could someday be used to make hardier devices for environmental or industrial clean up, the researchers say.

Scientists have developed small robots that can 'swim' through fluids and carry out useful functions, such as cleaning up the environment, delivering drugs and performing surgery. Although most experiments have been done in the lab, eventually these tiny machines would be released into harsh environments, where they could become damaged. Swimming robots are often made of brittle polymers or soft hydrogels, which can easily crack or tear. Joseph Wang and colleagues wanted to design swimmers that could heal themselves while in motion, without help from humans or other external triggers.

The researchers made swimmers that were 2 cm long (about the width of a human finger) in the shape of a fish that contained a conductive bottom layer; a rigid, hydrophobic middle layer; and an upper strip of aligned, strongly magnetic microparticles. The team added platinum to the tail, which reacted with hydrogen peroxide fuel to form oxygen bubbles that propelled the robot. When the researchers placed a swimmer in a petri dish filled with a weak hydrogen peroxide solution, it moved around the edge of the dish. Then, they cut the swimmer with a blade, and the tail kept traveling around until it approached the rest of the body, reforming the fish shape through a strong magnetic interaction.

The robots could also heal themselves when cut into three pieces, or when the magnetic strip was placed in different configurations. The versatile, fast and simple self-healing strategy could be an important step toward on-the-fly repair for small-scale swimmers and robots, the researchers say.

More information:
Emil Karshalev et al. Swimmers Heal on the Move Following Catastrophic Damage, Nano Letters (2021). DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.0c05061
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Re: Robotics

Post by trader32176 »

How robots are helping in the battle against COVID-19

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Re: Robotics

Post by trader32176 »

How Robots Are Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in India

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