Robotics

Curves and CO2 Reduction Coexist in Chicago’s Colossal Concrete Installation

Musing on the spiritual and formal predilections of the building materials he used so masterfully, architect Louis Kahn once famously said: “You say to brick, ‘What do you want, brick?’ And brick says to you, ‘I like an arch.’ And you say to brick, ‘Look, I want one, too, but arches are expensive, and I can use a concrete lintel.’”

The Stereoform Slab pavilion, designed and fabricated for the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial, is a meditation on the ideal forms of a different material: concrete. The spirit of the installation directly addresses Kahn’s concession to material efficacy, combining arches with sculpted concrete while also demonstrating a more sustainable approach to using the material.

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/concrete-co2/.

Photo Credit: The Stereoform Slab illustrates the potential for sustainable concrete-sculpting methods. Courtesy of Dave Burk/SOM.

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Dancing With Robots Shows the Real Power Dynamic Between Humans and Machines

Brooke Roberts-Islam apologizes—she has agreed to introduce Rose Alice Larkings, founder and principal dancer/choreographer for the London Contemporary Ballet Theatre, but there is a brief delay. “Rose will be on shortly,” Roberts-Islam says. “She’s with the robots at the moment.”

The robots—a pair of snakelike KUKA Robotics LBR iiwa industrial robots, to be exact—are her muses and dance partners.

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/dancing-with-robots/.

Photo Credit: Image composite: MIcke Tong. iiwa image courtesy KUKA.

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A Bionic Man: Hugh Herr Strides Forward on Next-Generation Robotic Legs

You’ll likely hear Hugh Herr before you see him.

The charismatic leader of MIT’s biomechatronics research group wears two next-generation prosthetic legs, each barely visible under the cuff of his gray slacks, which produce a faint percussive buzz with each footfall, like the sound of a tiny electric drill. The sound serves almost as a leitmotif—you hear it, faintly, as he ascends the stairs to his office in the glass-and-metal MIT Media Lab or as he ambles across the stage during a lecture.

Among futurists, Herr’s story is the stuff of legend. In the early 1980s, after he lost both legs below the knees to frostbite in a climbing accident in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, a doctor told him he would never climb again. Defiant, Herr used a local machine shop to hack together custom prostheses from rubber, metal, and wood. He designed a set of small feet that could find a foothold where his old pair would have slipped and a spiked set he could use to ascend the steepest walls of ice. He went on to become as confident a climber after his accident as he’d ever been before.

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/hugh-herr-robotic-legs/.

Photo Credit: Hugh Herr. Courtesy MIT Media Lab.

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Empathy Is Essential to the Future of Human-Robot Coexistence

The way humans interact with robots has served society well during the past 50 years: People tell robots what to do, and robots do it to maximum effect. This has led to unprecedented innovation and productivity in agriculture, medicine, and manufacturing.

However, an inflection point is on the horizon. Rapid advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence are making robotic systems smarter and more adaptable than ever—but these advancements also inherently weaken direct human control and relevance to autonomous machines. As such, robotic manufacturing, despite its benefits, is arriving at a great human cost: The World Economic Forum estimates that over the next four years, rapid growth of robotics in global manufacturing will put the livelihoods of 5 million people at risk, as those in manual-labor roles increasingly lose out to machines.

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/human-robot-coexistence/.

Photo Credit: A child approaches Mimus’s enclosure at the Design Museum in London.

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Helper, Companion, Connector—How Health Care Robots Will Transform Elder Care

The world’s population is aging. In 2015, 901 million people were aged 60 and older. By 2050, that number is expected to more than double, reaching nearly 2.1 billion. According to the United Nations, this shift is poised to become one of the most significant social transformations of the 21st century.

To address the needs of this aging population—and a looming shortage of health care professionals—robots are making their way into homes, hospitals, and assisted-living facilities. The global market for elder-care technology products is expected to reach $10.3 billion by 2020, according to a report by Research and Markets. In fact, a quiet gold rush is emerging in the form of health care robots, particularly for the elderly who desire to “age in place” by remaining in their own homes. Whether industrial or humanoid, in homes or in assisted living facilities, these robots can serve as extensions of health care teams.

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/health-care-robots/.
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Powder to the People: This 3D Printing Incubator Is Liberating Engineers

Hailing from the Outer Banks, a long, sandy necklace of islands off North Carolina’s coast, Jimmie Beacham knows something about witnessing history. When his grandfather, John, was a small boy, he watched one of the Wright brothers’ first attempts at flight in nearby Kitty Hawk, a feat that ultimately ended up changing how we live.

Now Beacham himself is in the vanguard of a revolution, one that is changing how we design and make things. It’s called additive manufacturing, which includes technologies like 3D printing.

As chief engineer for advanced manufacturing at GE Healthcare, Beacham, 43, is in charge of a futuristic laboratory in Waukesha, Wisconsin. His team of a dozen engineers is helping 70 GE factories sprinkled around world explore 3D printing, augmented reality, robotics, big data and other software and technologies. But it’s their convergence that really gets him excited. “This is a whole new ballgame,” he says. “For example, we can use robots to print sensors on machine parts and then analyze the data they produce to make them work better.”

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/powder-to-the-people-this-3d-printing-....

Photo Credit: GE Healthcare’s Stephen Abitz is holding a test sample used to develop the tungsten collimator. Image courtesy GE Reports.

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Robo-Cycling: Bringing the Power of Automation to Recycling

Horowitz’s path to robotics wasn’t obvious from the beginning. As he tells it, he was convinced that getting an MBA and working in business was going to be the direction his life took. He remembers thinking, “Oh, this kind of stuff is kind of silly and kind of pointless, so I’m going to go do the adult thing. Maybe get an MBA.”

These experiences, seemingly random and unconnected, collectively combined to create a set of experiences that launched AMP Robotics.

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/amp-robotics/.
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