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Latest Robotics News


Human-machine teaming is a hallmark of the Pentagon’s “Third Offset Strategy”, which has guided weapons development since November 2014, when the military announced a strategy that would employ autonomy and artificial intelligence. Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work championed this approach, Defenseone.com notes. The bottom line was the notion that humans properly paired with machines will outfight machines, as well as humans. Does this sound a bit like sci-fi?

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Only a year ago, as an independent contractor, Bobby Watts of Watts Innovations flew a proof of concept prototype of the new Aergility Atlis multirotor design. The prototype used a Scorpion motor-powered pusher from Innov8tive Designs, and the bank of rotating blades atop the vehicle, a hallmark Aergility innovation, acted as “flat plate” airfoils, providing lift. Bobby then posted the following enthusiastic note on the Watts Innovations website:
“We recently worked with Aergility to help tell their story of a new type of aircraft that they developed that solves the traditional problem of short flight time that plagues all multirotor aircraft. Their new aircraft is an exciting piece of technology that will allow it to carry a heavy payload and fly for hours/ hundreds of miles all on a single tank of fuel. Watts Innovations is extremely excited to be a part of this and wish the Aergility team nothing but success in their new endeavor! For more information, check out: www.Aergility.com
We were thrilled to visit the Aergility booth at the recent Xponential 2019 conference and trade show hosted by the AUVSI in Chicago. Aergility has taken the multirotor concept to an entirely new level.
Jim Vander Mey, Aergility CEO, notes in the short YouTube video linked to below, shot by Bobby Watts, that he started the project many years ago when he was considering how to find a more functional VTOL aircraft that did not have the complexity of a helicopter. Jim describes how he conceived a design that would do exactly that.

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The National Robotics Education Foundation (NREF) has captured an expansive photo gallery of Xponential 2019, and, as in past years, it will take a little bit of time to edit and post the hundreds of images that represent this leading-edge technology event. We will post a few show scoops in advance to portray the amazing diversity of robotics and AI technologies exhibited at this latest conference and trade show. Check out this mock-up of the amazing BELL Nexus full-size, person carrying multirotor!

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A new lithium-ion battery breakthrough was recently demonstrated by CUBERG. A video shows a quadcopter using CUBERG’s new lithium metal battery flying 70% longer than one powered by a traditional lithium-ion battery. CUBERG is supported by Boeing, the U.S. Department of Energy and venture capitalists. The battery uses a new non-flammable electrolyte that lacks many of the weaknesses of traditional Li-ion chemistry batteries; the company notes that previous generation lithium ion cells are “heavy, they underperform and are vulnerable to rapid degradation.”

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MIT and Yale University researchers have developed humanoid waste sorters that rely on touch, not vision, to pick and place. Able to differentiate between paper, glass and plastic using “soft robotics and sensors,” the system utilizes a gripper made of a material called auxetics, which expands when pulled. The robot identified objects with 85% accuracy working from a fixed position, but that lessened to 63% when picking from a moving conveyor belt.

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