Actuator is go! – TechCrunch


Big today Day! After months of struggling to put together, Actuator is finally graduating to your inbox as the latest addition to the TechCrunch newsletter family. I’ve written 40 of these things since the start of the quiet prename test in February (I’ve been calling them “robotics Roundup” for a few months here).You can check out Complete backlog here, And if you’re still reading this through, Be sure to sign up here..

Seeing that we are approaching the end of another very strange year, I will spend the next two weeks exploring the biggest robotics trends in 2021. Think of it like Spotify Wrapped instead of Steely Dan’s embarrassing number of songs (Definitely not talking about myself here), Let’s take a look at automation, AI, research and investment trends that define the last 12 months. And by doing so, we should have a better picture of the world we are heading to.

I have been threatening to publish a robotics newsletter at TC for the last few years. The first big robot event in Boston, dating back to 2017.. It’s been a rich vein for a while, but to be honest, I think we couldn’t choose a better moment to start this than it is now.

Looking at the second anniversary of the pandemic, it is clear that for many of us, for better or for worse, there may be no “ordinary” to return. For people in the robot industry, this is the first glimpse of something big, bold and exciting. It may be too optimistic to imply that we may appear in something better (and believe me, the last 21 months or so have been deeply inhaled at a personal level). There is no doubt that it is time to rethink how we do almost everything. Logistics, Healthcare, Restaurant, Agriculture, Retail — all of these categories are set to be radically transformed by COVID-19. And robotics is playing an important role in that transformation.

Almost two years later, countless industries are still under heavy burden to fill their positions. Those who have previously considered full automation as a distant dream are looking at these solutions much more aggressively, resulting in a significant increase in investment across a wide range of categories. The concept that VC should have been too far away has reached the top of termsheets around the world.

I’ve been writing about technology professionally for a long time, but for the first time I’ve heard people talk seriously about robot ubiquitous in the present form.Just before Thanksgiving, I Talked to Mathew Jonson Robertson, Has just been appointed Director of the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. He told me:

We are really at this turning point when it comes to the large robotic field systems deployed around the world. One day, no matter where I am in America or the world, I would like to look out the window and see the robot doing something useful.

Obviously, we aren’t there yet. But I basically believe that we are much closer to that goal than, for example, January 2020. Part of our future work is to discuss how to get there. You also need to take advantage of the opportunity to discuss the consequences of getting there. For example, work, quality of life, environment, all of this means. And don’t point out too much. It’s a way to ensure that robotics continues to serve us, not the other way around.

Publishing a newsletter indefinitely every week was a bit daunting at first. But I’ve been doing it every week for a while, so there’s one thing for sure. It means that we will not stop talking immediately.

Image credit: AWS

On the contrary, I may have missed the week (happy to delay Thanksgiving to the celebrating people), but robotics didn’t.My buddy Frederick is in Las Vegas, Nevada this week AWS re: Invent conference.. Amazon started the show with the launch of a robotics fleet management program.problem RoboRunner is trying The solution has been seen to be undertaken by various startups. Specifically, how can companies successfully integrate different brands of robotic systems?

AWS CTO WernerVogels are:

There are only a few successful commercial robotics companies today, and there are several major reasons for this. First, the real environment is dynamic and unpredictable, making it difficult to find one that fits the robot product market. As a result, it can be difficult to combine the right niches with the right features. Second, building a robot with a high degree of autonomy and intelligence requires interdisciplinary skills that are difficult to find and adopt. Third, robotics is capital intensive and requires significant upfront investment in sensors, actuators, and mechanical hardware, even if they are already on the market.

Can Amazon eat up the fleet management of industrial robots like it used to … well, basically everything else? The company certainly has the infrastructure and resources to tackle the disparate categories. We are also now entering the world of early robotics startups. New partnership with Mass Robotics.. Amazon has partnered with a Boston-based tech hub to launch a new robotics accelerator with a particular focus on AWS applications.

Neuro-Las Vegas Financing Round

Image credit: Nuro

Autonomous delivery company Nuro just announced another big salary increase.. This latest $ 600 million round was led by Tiger Global Management (of course). That brings the company’s valuation to a whopping $ 8.6 billion. Co-founder Dave Ferguson told TechCrunch where the funding is heading. .. “

P06 16Bits Blur

Image credit: Somatic cells

Cleaning public toilets is definitely at the top of the list when talking about dirty work that automation can replace at some point. Somatic CEO Michael Levy pointed out that the company’s robots have reached a new milestone in automated bathroom scrubbing, as evidenced in the video below.

Virtually out of stealth at last year’s robot event, the company designed a system that allows you to get on the elevator, open doors, and rub the bathroom.

As Levy told me last year, “The reason bathrooms are a very good application is because everything is bolted to the floor. Things work in a predictable way. Built after 1994 All commercial bathrooms made are ADA compliant. The good thing for robot engineering is to make a specific design. “

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Image credit: FJ Dynamics

A little bigger funding for a robotics agtech company — this time in China. Founded by former DJI Chief Scientist WuDi. FJ Dynamics We just announced that we have closed the $ 70 million Series B for Robot Harvesters. Rita had a frank conversation with Wu. Wu said: But how does your technology benefit people if it doesn’t work on the production line or farm due to lack of industry experience? “

fair enough.

IMG 4228

Image credit: Miso Robotics

Anecdotally, it seems rare to see an increase in a crowded capital round, paying attention to a wide range of notable trends. Miso Robotics, which manufactures the hamburger cooking robot Flippy, Announcing Just $ 35 Million Crowdfunding Series B Distributed to over 8,200 investors (list including both new names and repeaters).

As far as crowdfunding is concerned, this is a big round and a trend worth noting. Sure, there’s something to say about the support of large consumers, but above all, I’m wondering what it means for investor confidence to follow this route.


Image credit: Stellar rumen

Earlier this week Stella Pizza Announcement At some point next spring, we plan to launch a robot pizza cooking truck in Los Angeles. Formed by a trio of SpaceX expatriates, the company’s trucks can cook pizza from scratch in less than five minutes and produce pizza every 45 seconds with a maximum capacity.

According to the press material:

Equipped with an innovative new pizza machine, Stellar Pizza turns raw pizza dough and fresh toppings into a fully baked pizza within 5 minutes. With the maximum capacity to produce pizza every 45 seconds, food trucks can consistently deliver larger quantities of fresh gourmet pizza than in-store pizza. The robotic pizza making process begins with a freshly made ball of raw pizza dough. This ball is pressed into a round pizza dough. Then add homemade sauce and fresh toppings. Finally, insert the raw pizza into one of four high temperature custom designed ovens and bake it perfectly.

Hopefully the robot pizza truck business will prove Stellar’s smooth ride Than in the case of Zume Since then, after going through one of the weirdest pivots in recent memory, now Produce sustainable packaging with the help of ABB..Figure 5c 22

Image credit: UCRiversideNeusbot I’m from the University of California, Riverside this week.. Soft robots move as iron oxide and copper nanorods convert light into heat. School teams believe that this technology may help clean up future oil spills. “Usually people send ships to the site of an oil spill and clean it by hand,” researcher Zhiwei Li said in a news-related release. “Neusbot can do this like a robot vacuum, but it can do it on the surface of the water.”

Computer-render what the final Semiramis hanging garden structure will look like.

Computer-render what the final Semiramis hanging garden structure will look like. Image credit: Gramazio Caller Research

Fun things from ETH Zurich concludes us.. The school uses construction robots to create a homage to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, blurring the line between architecture and art. Apart from Devin’s work, which is at the same time amazing and at the same time completely in the brand:

This project is a kind of giant sculpture planter, the “Hanging Garden”, inspired by the legendary architecture of the ancient city of Babylon. (By the way, it was my ancestor Robert Koldewey who excavated / plundered the famous Ishtar Gate.)

Learn something new every day about one of your colleagues.

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