Category Archives: Robotics

Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, Grandville, Rochester teams win VEX Robotics at MSU

EAST LANSING — Detroit Catholic Central High School’s VEX Shambots B team won the coveted VEX Robotics Excellence Award and a three-team alliance from Bloomfield Hills, Grandville, and Rochester were high school tournament champions at the 2017 Michigan VEX Robotics State Championship on Sunday, Feb. 19, at Michigan State University.

At the middle school level, Hudsonville Robotics took home the VEX Excellence Award and a three-team alliance that included two teams from Flint’s Carman Ainsworth Middle School Robotics and the Technology First team from Lambertville were tournament champions.

There were 76 teams, including 48 high school and 28 middle school teams, competing at the 2017 state games, all working for the right to represent Michigan in the 2017 VEX Robotics World Games in Louisville, Ky., April 19-25.

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SVSU to host FIRST Michigan high school robotics championship

UNIVERSITY CENTER – Saginaw Valley State University will welcome nearly 5,000 high school students from across Michigan for the statewide FIRST Robotics competition Wednesday, April 12 through Saturday, April 15. Including professional mentors and family members, an estimated 7,500 people will descend on the Great Lakes Bay Region for the competition, which is designed to inspire students to pursue careers in the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“We are dedicated to growing the next generation of passionate STEM individuals,” said Gail Alpert, president of FIRST in Michigan. “The robot is the vehicle we use to help them understand fields from mechanical engineering to computer science to business.”

SVSU President Donald Bachand said hosting the FIRST Robotics competition is a good fit for SVSU academically.

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Michigan VEX Robotics State Championships Feb. 19 at MSU

EAST LANSING – Around 500 of Michigan’s youngest robotic masters are coming to Michigan State University in East Lansing for the Michigan VEX Robotics State Championships, Sunday, Feb. 19.

Competitors from 48 high school and 28 middle school teams will gather in Jenison Field House during the tournament that runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Opening ceremonies begin at 9:15 a.m.

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2016 Breaks Records For Robot Orders, Shipments

ANN ARBOR — The Robotic Industries Association, the Ann Arbor-based advocate for the robotics industry, announced an all-time record in 2016 for North American robot orders and shipments.

During the year, 34,606 robots valued at approximately $1.9 billion were ordered in North America, representing growth of 10 percent in units over 2015.

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Auto Supplier Denso Backs FIRST Robotics

SOUTHFIELD — Denso, the auto supplier with its North American headquarters in Southfield, announced a 2017 commitment to FIRST Robotics, to which it has donated more than $800,000 since 2002.

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DMC Performs First Robot-Assisted Total Knee Procedures in Michigan

DETROIT — The Detroit Medical Center announced that two teams of DMC physicians performed the first-ever “MAKOplasty” robotic total knee replacement surgeries in the state of Michigan.

The procedures took place simultaneously at both Harper University Hospital in Detroit and Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital in Commerce Township on Wednesday, Dec. 14. The breakthrough surgeries were completed using a robotic arm-assisted technology which ensures accurate alignment and placement of knee and hip implants for nearly perfect results. The DMC is the only hospital system in southeast Michigan to offer this technology.

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LTU prof gets two grants for robotics and entrepreneurial education

SOUTHFIELD — A Lawrence Technological University assistant professor of biomedical engineering has been awarded two new grants – one to explore touch-sensitive feedback in robots, and another to expand entrepreneurial education in biotech.

Mansoor Nasir is principal investigator on a $50,000 grant from the DENSO North America Foundation and a $25,000 grant from the Kern Family Foundation.

The DENSO grant will be used to acquire laboratory instrumentation to help LTU students design, develop and evaluate haptics, the science of touch-based human-computer interfaces, for applications like auto interiors, medicine, and virtual reality.

“We want to introduce a sense of touch into robots to give them the ability to interact with objects,” Nasir said.

Working with Nasir on the DENSO grant are Eric Meyer, assistant professor of biomedical engineering; James Kern, robotics lab instructor; Franco Delogu, assistant professor of psychology; and Nabih Jaber, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Meyer is also co-principal investigator on the Kern Family Foundation grant.

The focus of the Kern grant is broadening the scope of entrepreneurial education in engineering classes, making it more widely available through such digital media as web videos.

Earlier, in 2014, Nasir and Meyer received a grant through a Kern Family Foundation program, the Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network (KEEN), to develop course modules on entrepreneurship for engineering classes. In 2015, they received funds through KEEN to organize three half-day workshops on entrepreneurship for engineering professors.

The Kern Family Foundation, based in Waukesha, Wis., has as one of its goals building entrepreneurship into engineering education. More at http://www.kffdn.org/ or http://engineeringunleashed.com/keen/.

About the DENSO North America Foundation

A registered 501(c)3 corporate foundation, the DENSO North America Foundation is dedicated to helping Students advance their education in engineering, technology and other related programs. Founded in 2001, the Foundation provides grants to colleges and universities throughout North America, helping our communities prosper through the development of a skilled and knowledgeable workforce. The Foundation also provides disaster relief grants through the American Red Cross to aid persons and communities in which DENSO Corporation operates. For more, visit http://densofoundation.org.

About DENSO in North America

In North America, DENSO employs more than 23,000 people at 30 consolidated companies and affiliates. Of these, 25 are manufacturing facilities located in the United States, Canada and Mexico. In the United States alone, DENSO employs more than 15,000 people in California, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Arkansas. DENSO’s North American consolidated sales totaled US$9.9 billion for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016. For more, go to http://www.densocorp-na.com or connect with DENSO on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/DENSOinNorthAmerica.

Lawrence Technological University, http://www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 100 universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

Record Number of Robots Ordered in First Half of 2016

ANN ARBOR — The North American automation industry has set new records to begin 2016, according to the Association for Advancing Automation, the industry’s Ann Arbor-based trade group.

A3 tracks the robotics, machine vision and motion control markets for its three member organizations, the Robotic Industries Association, AIA – Advancing Vision + Imaging, and the Motion Control & Motor Association.

A3 is at its highest membership level ever, welcoming 119 new member companies so far in 2016. A3 now represents 965 member companies directly involved with robotics, vision, motion control and motors.

Robot Statistics

A total of 14,583 robots valued at approximately $817 million were ordered from North American companies during the first half of 2016. The number of units ordered in the first six months marks a new record to begin the year, growing 2 percent over the same period in 2015, which held the previous record. Order revenue decreased slightly by three percent in the first half of 2016. In the same time, 13,620 robots valued at $838 million were shipped to North American customers. These figures represent the second highest total for units shipped and a new record for shipment revenue in the first half of a year.

The number of robots ordered by automakers and suppliers rose 16 percent and 4 percent respectively to begin the year, and was the largest driver of the market’s record performance. Similarly, the food and consumer goods industry soared in the first half of the year, ordering 41 percent more robots than the same period in 2015. Total orders to all other non-automotive industries fell 14 percent. In terms of applications, the biggest increases were realized in inspection (69 percent), assembly (38 percent), and spot welding (21 percent). RIA estimates that some 265,000 robots are now at use in North American factories, which is third to only Japan and China.

“The robotics industry is thriving today as more companies of all sizes are realizing the benefits of automation,” said Jeff Burnstein, A3 president. “The increasing functionality, flexibility, affordability and safety of robots today contributes to how this dynamic market is reshaping the global manufacturing landscape.”

Motion Control & Motor Statistics

Global shipments for motion control products grew 3 percent to $1.54 billion in the first half of 2016.

“The encouraging first half performance was largely driven by growth in three important product categories,” said Alex Shikany, MCMA Director of Market Analysis. “Two of the largest segments we track, actuators/mechanical systems (up 11 percent and electronic drives (up 8 percent), saw strong growth in the first half of the year. Motion controllers, one of the hottest current product markets, also increased by eight percent in the first half of 2016.”

The second quarter of 2016 increased on a year over year basis 5 percent to $820 million. The categories which grew the most in the second quarter were electronic drives (up 16 percent), actuators and mechanical systems (up 12 percent, and motion controllers (up 11 percent). Additionally, the latest MCMA survey of motion control and motor suppliers revealed that the majority of industry experts believe the market will increase in the next six months.

Vision & Imaging Statistics

The machine vision market entered 2016 on the heels of two consecutive record-setting years for sales in North America. Despite a 7 percent cyclical contraction in the first half of the year to $1.1 billion, which was largely tied to the stagnation in the semiconductor industry, the machine vision market in North America remains a key growth segment within the booming automation landscape.

As the “eyes” of emerging smart-factories and robotic systems, machine vision is critical to the success of next-generation automation solutions. Products such as smart cameras, which are complete vision systems contained within the same camera enclosure, are opening new application areas for manufacturers. In North America, the smart camera category has grown four percent year over year to $157 million in the first half of 2016.

Statistics from the second quarter of 2016 indicate that the cyclical slowdown this market experienced to begin the year is subsiding. For example, machine vision systems (which includes smart cameras and application specific machine vision systems) grew seven percent to $495 million, compared to the first quarter of 2016. Similarly, machine vision component markets, which includes cameras, lighting, optics, imaging boards, and software, grew two percent to $80 million. Correspondingly, total machine vision sales in the second quarter of 2016 increased six percent over the first quarter.

Burnstein also noted that A3 is seeing the growing demand for machine vision, robotics, and related automation in events like the upcoming Automate 2017 trade show.

“The exhibit floor at Automate 2017 is expected to be significantly larger than our 2015 event,” he said. “This growth is attributed to the fact that leading automation companies are reaching out to small and medium sized customers. These companies, many of whom are just now beginning to explore automation, make up the core of the Automate 2017 attendee base.”

Automate 2017, the industry’s trade conference, will take place April 3-6 at McCormick Place in Chicago. For details on Automate, which is held every two years, visit http://www.automateshow.com.

More at http://www.A3automate.org, http://www.robotics.org, http://www.visiononline.org and http://www.motioncontrolonline.org.

Robofest: A global celebration of human imagination and robot skill

SOUTHFIELD – Nearly 500 students on 176 teams from 10 nations competed Friday and Saturday in the World Championships of Robofest, a worldwide youth robotics competition held since 1999 at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield.

In keeping with the international nature of the competition, teams winning top awards were from China, Colombia, Ghana, Korea, and the United States.

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Robofest Returns To LTU

SOUTHFIELD — Early spring means that it’s Robofest season – all over the world.

Robofest is a festival of competitions and events with autonomous robots that encourages students – from fifth grade to college – to have fun, while learning the principles of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), along with computer science.

Students design, construct and program the robots, which operate entirely autonomously in seven different styles of competition. Unlike other competitions that require a particular kind of robot kit be used, Robofest participants are free to use any robotics kits or components that they choose. Competitions are arranged at the junior (5th-8th grade), senior (9th-12th grade) or collegiate levels.

The international competition was designed and developed by Lawrence Technological University Professor CJ Chung, Ph.D.

Since 2000, nearly 18,000 students from around the world have competed in Robofest.

The Michigan Robofest championship will be held Saturday, April 30 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Lawrence Tech’s Southfield campus. The Robofest World Championship will be held Friday and Saturday, May 13 and 14, also at LTU.

Michigan preliminary competitions coming up in the weeks ahead are:
* Saturday, March 19, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Bethany Christian School, Troy
* Tuesday, April 5, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, part of Michigan Robotics Day
* Thursday, April 7, 1 to 5 p.m., Emerson Elementary/Middle School, Detroit
* Friday, April 8, 5 to 9 p.m., University of Detroit Jesuit High School, Detroit
* Saturday, April 9, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Gallimore Elementary School, Canton Township
* Saturday, April 9, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Achieve Charter Academy, Canton Township
* Saturday, April 9, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Canton Charter Academy, Canton Township
* Thursday, April 14, 5 to 9 p.m., William D. Ford Career Technical Center, Westland
* Saturday, April 16, 2-7 p.m. Oakland County Executive Building, Waterford Township
* Saturday, April 16, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wayne County Community College District Western Campus, Belleville

Competitions for this year’s world championship are being held in 11 U.S. states, as well as in Canada, China, Egypt, India and Lebanon. Chung said Robofest growth has been especially strong in India, where there are four regional competitions this year, and in China, where the event is now covered by major newspapers such as China Daily.

Chung teaches coding courses for computer science majors in LTU’s College of Arts and Sciences, as well as for LTU’s robotic engineering program in its College of Engineering, a degree that combines mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science. Chung says events like Robofest do a great job of teaching computer science – which is increasingly a graduation requirement in high schools – in a way that shows students the practical applications of the concepts they’re learning.

More at http://www.robofest.net.