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PODCAST: THE STORY BEHIND YOUR NEW ROBOT COLLEAGUE

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Post by MADE

In the first episode of the podcast series “My Robot Friend” (Min Robotven), we talk about the collaborative robot, it’s origin, and development. Moreover, we visit the robot startup Smooth Robotics to talk about their innovation – a software program for collaborative welding robots.

What is a collaborative robot, how was it developed, and which trend is it a part of?

We find the answers together with the following three experts: The inventor of the collaborative robot Esben Østergaard, Professor in Robotics Henrik Gordon Petersen, and Technology Manager at Center for Robot Technology at the Danish Technological Institute, Søren Peter Johansen.

A World of Innovation

Furthermore, we are taking a closer look into what kind of innovations the collaborative robot has started in advanced production. Among them is the robot startup Smoth Robotics which has invented the welding software “Smooth Tool”. In the podcast you can hear the director of Smooth Robotics, Erik Mønster, explain how the welding software for collaborative robots works and how it creates value in practice. 

“We have visited companies where the topics are so complex that they spend several days: 3-4-5 days to make the setting of a complex welding robot. We have seen that you can reduce this by 70-80%,” says Erik Mønster

Do not miss the next episode of “My Robot Friend” in which we focus on the future of collaborative robots. The episode will be published on Made.dk, iTunes and Spotify September 2020.

Participants:

  • Esben Østergaard, Co-founder of Lifeline Robotics (2020), founder of Universal Robots (2005), PhD in Robotics and AI.
  • Henrik Gordon Petersen, Professor in Robotics at University of Southern Denmark.
  • Søren Peter Johansen, professional manager of Center for Robotics at Danish Technological Institute.
  • Erik Mønster, CEO at Smooth Robotics.
  • Julie Lykke-Nedergaaard, Host.

Music:

  • Jingle soundtrack: “Princess” af Ramzoid
  • Backgroundmusic: “Trip Trap” by Morten Peetz Andersen

Smart Specialization in Robotics session at EU Week of Regions and Cities

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Most of the developing regions struggle to find out proper innovation instruments that could enhance the so-called entrepreneurial discovery process behind the Smart Specialisation concept in Robotics. RobotUnion consortium believes that the processes and methodologies used within the project at the pan-European level can generate a spillover effect for European regions too, leveraging from the ‘European Structural and Investment Funds’. 

That is why the RobotUnion partners have decided to share their experience during the European Week of Regions and Cities and organize the Q&A:  

Regional smart specialization: Robotics” under the “Cohesion and Cooperation” topic that will take place on the 13th of October 2020 from 16:00-17:00.  

During the workshop FundingBox, Mobile World Capital Barcelona, Invest in Odense, and MADE will share insights on how to boost the regional investment strategy by including the smart specialization in Robotics and how to implement it together with the participation of SMEs (Open Calls) and DIHs concepts. That methodology will be based on the market adoption of the RobotUnion project as a possible innovation instrument both for ‘Smart Specialisation Strategies’ and Traditional Accelerators.  

On top of that two RobotUnion consortium members with strong involvement in regional strategies will share their experience: 

Izabela Zrazińska, Project Manager at RobotUnion and Jakub Kruszelnicki, Technology Transfer Expert, from FundingBox a community with over 16.500 subscribers where makers, entrepreneurs, and innovators meet, interact and collaborate to build growth connections and win equity-free funding to catalyse their growth. 

Martyna Waliszewska, Junior Investment Manager at Invest in Odense, a region involved in the RobotUnion project that has really embraced and prioritized robotics as an investment and development subject locally through the creation of the robotics cluster Odense Robotics will share the success story of their region. 

Merete Nørby, International Senior Consultant at MADE recognized by the EC as an Industry 4.0 landmark national initiative and a pioneer Digital Innovation Hub initiative which leads the future adoption of the program by European Regions under their Smart Specialization Strategies. 

At the end of the session, there will be an interactive Q&A session with the public moderated by Marta Portalés from Mobile World Capital Barcelona. 

HOW TO REGISTER for the session? 

  1. To register for the sessions organized during the event, you need first to sign in with your EU Login or create an account. 
  2. Enter the link: https://europa.eu/regions-and-cities/programme/sessions/1368_en  
  3. Click “Add session“.  

About the European Week of Regions and Cities: 

The European Week of Regions and Cities is an annual four-day event during which cities and regions showcase their capacity to create growth and jobs, implement European Union cohesion policy, and prove the importance of the local and regional level for good European governance. 

This year, the European Week of Regions and Cities will spread over three consecutive weeks in October, each dedicated to one timely topic: 

  • 5-9 October: Empowering Citizens, 
  • 12-16 October: Cohesion and cooperation, 
  • 19-22 October: Green Europe, in cooperation with the Green Week. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the related health and safety measures, the majority of the 500 sessions will be in a fully digital format. Among the exceptions are key events and workshops requiring interpretation, which are going to be organized in a hybrid format (online with a limited physical presence). Some events such as exhibitions and regional tastings can be either digital or physical

See the full programme here.

Over 800m EUR invested in Odense-based robotics cluster!

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Our RobotUnion partner Odense Invest has just published the report

The investment landscape around the Odense’s ecosystem has been growing exponentially since 2015, at the beginning of 2020 surpassing the 800m EUR. With a vibrant community gathered around the local robotics cluster, we have registered over 130 active VC investors, 85 investors in robotics and almost 100 corporates.

When going a little bit more in detail, the data showcases an interesting phenomenon – exit capital is being reinvested in the local ecosystem. All those insights and more and now available at your fingertips! We have always been putting our best efforts to keep up with the new developments surrounding local robotics startups and SMEs. Now, the time has come to launch our first attempt to provide even more detailed picture of what has been so successfully happening on the island of Fyn. As of the 20th of August, our business intelligence platform is officially live and available at osav.dk. On top of that, we proudly present you with ‘The State of the Robotics Investment Landscape’ – a report, which marks the beginning of the platform.

Download the report ‘The State of the Robotics Investment Landscape’ here & access the platform: https://www.odenseseedandventure.dk/

If you are a robotics startup, don’t miss the chance to apply to the Odense Investor Summit!

Read More

How to accelerate robotics companies? We explained everything at ICRA 2020!

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On 10 June, the successful live session was organised by Fundingbox together with ISDI, BLUMORPHO, Mobile World Capital Barcelona and KEWAZO in the frame of the 2020 edition of the International Conference on Robotics and Automation.

Project partners shared the success recipe of the RobotUnion acceleration programme in front of an audience of 372 viewers from 38 countries.

To begin with, some keys figures related to the first startup batch (10 companies) that finished the programme:

  • More than €8 million of private investment raised during the acceleration.
  • RobotUnion startup teams nearly doubled their workforce in a year.
  • Their revenue increased by more than 60% in the same lapse of time.
  • The Technology Readiness Level* of all companies grew by 3 extra levels on average!

So what were the main ingredients of the RobotUnion acceleration recipe?

The presentation included an introduction and results for all the main aspects of the programme (technical mentoring, business support, fundraising strategy), the various RobotUnion partners – Izabela Zrazinska (FundingBox, the coordinator), Xianshu Zeng (ISDI), Régis Hamelin (Blumorpho) – as well as Ekaterina Grib from Kewazo, a construction startup accelerated by RobotUnion, expanded on their main learnings.

Presentation made during ICRA 2020

Regarding for instance technical mentoring, several crucial aspects were underlined:

  • It was highly beneficial to startups to externalise basic technical services that would help them save time and eventually deliver high-quality products with the help of specialised providers.
  • Guidelines relative to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) should be prepared in advance especially since hardware products, obviously including robotics, are not as easily protected compared to software products.

Business support managed by ISDI appeared to be very important to startups (9.5/10 satisfaction rate!). The Master Training Camp in Madrid allowed them to refine their internationalisation ambitions. Does it make sense to establish oneself in a country where the cost of entry and market culture are different? Many questions in addition to this one were dealt with during that week. Another very useful and maybe less visible advantage was tapping in the mentors’ networks. Their knowledge of the robotics market came handy for startups to make their business development strategy more concrete.

Finally, the classes on fundraising led by Blumorpho enabled accelerated companies to sweep away many common preconceptions related to access to investment, a generally fundamental step to go from startup to scaleup. By way of illustration, thinking that investors do not understand technologies, or that your product will just sell by itself is often at odds with reality.

With an overall impression of the programme reaching the excellent score of 8,75 out of 10, the RobotUnion recipe has proved to be effective! Check out the summary of the first startup batch’s story to know more:

*TRL, a standard scale to evaluate the maturity of a technology

Aether Biomedical raises seed round to make bionics accessible to all

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Poznan, Poland – Medical robotics company, Aether Biomedical, has raised a seed round of EUR 750,000 from Sunfish Partners, Chiratae Ventures India, and Joyance Partners. Aether Biomedical’s goal is to build data driven rehabilitation robotics devices starting with bionic limbs.

“The investment will help the company launch its first flagship product Zeus, a bionic limb for upper limb amputees, onto the market. We had a very specific goal in mind while building Zeus – Reduce the price without compromising on the efficiency. To do so we have heavily relied on advancements in additive manufacturing, signal processing, as well as machine learning and continue to do so in the development of future products. ” Says Dhruv Agrawal, CEO of Aether Biomedical.

Specifically, Zeus is a multi-action bionic aiming at improving the accessibility of bionic products to the amputee population. Zeus provides more than 150N of grip force, one of the highest on the market, combined with a smooth, elegant design, while being 30 – 40% more affordable than competitors. One of the key features that Aether Biomedical has focused on while building Zeus is robustness. Zeus has an innovative impact resistance mechanism protecting against daily life stresses, and has a static holding capacity of 35 Kgs on its fingers (Like carrying a bag).

“We want Zeus to be acting as a support system for amputees, spending minimal time in the repair and servicing. What makes Zeus unique is the modular structure, allowing for repair at a local service center level.” Says Dr Faith Jiwakhan, CTO of Aether Biomedical.

“Over 10 million people in the world are reported to be living with upper limb amputations. Aether aims to address this large market globally, and the ever-rising amputee population. The robotics prosthetic market is to witness significant innovation and product need from around the world. The unique features of the product which make it state of the art design and accessible have the potential to create life changing and hence life-enabling solutions for a number of people, especially in emerging economies.” Sudhir Sethi, Founder and Chairman, Chiratae Ventures India.

Aether Biomedical has conducted extensive internal testing for Zeus and is moving ahead with the completion of the medical certification process and launch of the product. The first geographies covered will be Europe and India. Zeus V1 is only the beginning. Aether Biomedical plans to strongly expand its R&D operations and the development of its core IP in biosignal processing aimed towards data driven rehabilitation. Aether Biomedical has already started shipping the demo kits to prosthetic centers for demonstration to patients..

“Data-driven rehabilitation has the potential to make life better for millions of people, and Aether Biomedical has a real shot to help us get there. What got us interested in the team was its bold vision; what made us invest was its relentless drive, day in and out, to make this vision a reality.” says Dr. Marcus Erken, Partner, Sunfish partners.  

Aether Biomedical was founded by Dhruv Agrawal and Dr. Faith Jiwakhan and has grown to 12 employees. Initially started in India, Aether Biomedical was invited to be a part of the Poland prize program, organized by Brinc and PARP in 2018. The company chose to stay in Poland and raised its pre seed round from Shape VC and subsequently became a part of the Robotunion program and was awarded a grant as one of the most promising robotics startups in Europe.

Maciej Frankowicz, Partner @ Shape.vc says “It takes a lot of courage to move to a foreign continent to start a business, especially if you’re in your early 20-ties. I am very happy that from all the available options the founders have chosen Poland for starting the company.”

Aether Biomedical has also received the Fasttrack accessibility plus grant from the National Center of Research and Development, Poland (NCBR). The grant funding is being utilized for continuing the development of Zeus hand by adding even more advanced features and developing accessory products such as wrist rotation unit and powered elbow system.

“We are thrilled to support Aether Biomedical in their groundbreaking work in rehabilitation robotics,” said Joyance Partners’ Managing Director Paolo Pio. “Dhruv assembled a great team, and they have a huge potential to empower amputees worldwide to live fuller, happier lives.”

Aether was advised by Jedrzej Szymczyk and his team from LLW for the successful completion of this transaction.

See Zeus in action in the below clip –

About Aether Biomedical –

Aether Biomedical is a medical robotics startup with its focus on building bionic limbs for upper limb amputees. Aether Biomedical’s product Zeus is a low cost – high efficacy multi action bionic limb for upper limb amputees.

About Sunfish Partners –

Sunfish Partners is an early stage VC that invests in Polish deep tech startups. Sunfish Partners has offices in Warsaw and Berlin. To learn more, go to www.sunfish.vc and follow them on Twitter @sunfishpartners.

About Chiratae Ventures India –

Launched in 2006, Chiratae Ventures India Advisors (formerly IDG Ventures India) is India’s leading technology Venture Capital funds advisor. The funds advised by Chiratae Ventures India Advisors collectively have over $700 M under management and 80+ investee companies across Consumer Media & Tech, Cloud/Software, Health-tech and Fin-tech. Notable portfolio companies include Bounce, Curefit, FirstCry, Flipkart, Forus, Lenskart, Manthan, Myntra (acquired by Flipkart), NestAway, Newgen (NSE: NEWGEN), PolicyBazaar, Rentomojo, Unbxd and Yatra (NASDAQ: YTRA) among others.

About Joyance Partners –

Joyance Partners is a $20M venture capital partnership that invests in companies with the capacity to deliver, or contribute to the delivery of, Delightful Moments.

HOW TO OBTAIN EFFECTIVE MAINTENANCE OF MACHINES IN YOUR COMPANY

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“If your planning is based on an unenlightened foundation then it is just a change. If we want to make improvements, we must base the decision processes on data,” an expert from the Danish Technological Institute explains. A new study provides valuable insights on how companies obtain effective maintenance of machines.

In this video Palle Grøndahl Department manager for Digitalization, Productivity and Quality at the Danish Technological Institute explains why maintenance needs to be on the companies’ agenda. English subtitles are available in settings.

A new study by the Danish Technological Institute on behalf of MADE provides valuable insights on how companies obtain effective maintenance of machines.

“Maintenance needs to be on the agenda because it actually has a fairly significant economic effect for businesses. Even if you have tuned your system and fine-polished everything to just run, it can all crash if you have an unstable system,” says Palle Grøndahl Department manager for Digitalization, Productivity and Quality at the Danish Technological Institute.

The way to effective maintenance is via a risk screening. A risk screening where you evaluate your system. The system is divided into several categories which depend on how significant the subsystem is.

“If your planning is based on an unenlightened foundation then it is just a change. If we want to make improvements, we must base the decision processes on data. So therefore, I encourage companies to obtain a foundation of data and to structure their database so that they can see the effect of their maintenance efforts,” says Palle Grøndahl.

SELF-PROPELLED ROBOTS IN VOLA’S NEW FACTORY: “IT’S NOWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD”

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Source: MADE

The Danish manufacturer of quality bathroom and kitchen fixtures VOLA has opened an innovative factory of the future enabled by a large number of collaborative robots.

Volas factory of the future is a unique solution to factory automation, where the robots support Volas employees by automating the many logistical processes, ensuring productivity and product quality.

MADE had the pleasure of inviting companies to visit VOLA’s factory of the future, where participants could see the new robots working side by side the factory employees.

VOLA chose to invest in mobile robots to address the need to increase production capacity and flexibility, as well as the desire to create a world-class production environment.

This has resulted in collaborative working environment between employees and robots.

VOLAs Factory Director Peder Nygaard speaks about the new robots at the MADE company visit.

The robots are improving productivity at VOLA, by automating the internal logistics. This enables VOLA’s employees to focus on production and ensuring product quality, says Peder Nygaard, Factory Director.

Furthermore, the robots help to manage VOLA’s rising demand for quality fixtures and taps.

VOLA already plans to buy even more robots to meet future demand and to further develop their new factory.

HOW DO YOU TEACH A ROBOT TO FIND SCRATCHES? WITH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

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Source: MADE

With the help of artificial intelligence, a new robot will automatically find scratches and errors on components and provide quality control that is more effective than the human eye. In a MADE research project, VOLA and B&O are developing a prototype in collaboration with the Danish Technological Institute (DTI).

Get an insight into how you can improve the maintenance of machines and equipment in your business (English subtitles are available in settings).

Stainless taps and aluminium-coated hi-fi equipment are all products with glossy reflective surfaces that must not be scratched.

VOLA manufactures kitchen taps, which have exactly this type of shiny surfaces. VOLA has always concentrated on quality and consistency. Today, quality control is performed by operators who manually inspect the items produced by the company.

– It is crucial for us to be part of such a project because we focus on quality and design. The challenge is that quality control is manual today, says Peter Krogh, Technical Manager at VOLA.

– We give people guidelines for inspecting items, but it will still always be an individual interpretation. We hope that we can achieve greater consistency on the issues once the solution is automated. There is great potential.

That’s why the Danish Technological Institute’s robot vision specialists are now trying to develop a method that can reliably detect scratches. This work is part of a MADE project together with VOLA and B&O and originates from MADE researcher Anne Juhler Hansen’s work at AAU.

Due to the shiny and reflective nature of the products, you have to go beyond traditional inspection methods with simple camera technology. DTI therefore makes use of a very special vision technology called deflectometry.

Lights, cameras and robots

Deflectometry is a way of effectively inspecting glossy and reflective items. Here, lights, cameras and robots are used to handle the item precisely during the inspection.

– Conceptually, it involves projecting a known pattern of light onto the item and then filming with a regular camera how that pattern appears, says Thomas Giselsson, consultant from DTI.

– If there are small recesses, holes, notches or scratches, you will be able to see them by processing the data you generate, he adds.

Deflectometry is a way of effectively inspecting glossy and reflective items. Here, lights, cameras and robots are used to handle the item precisely during the inspection.

Deep learning to automate quality assurance

The benefits of the new system do not stop here.

Not only does deflectometry make it possible to identify defects that you would otherwise find difficult, you can also automate the whole process of finding defects and evaluating the quality. One of the methods for this is ‘deep learning’.

– Initially, the operator helps the system by highlighting where the problem shows. When you have done this for a large amount of data, you will at some point be able to create a deep learning system that can make the same annotations on new items that the system has not seen before, says Thomas Giselsson.

– We should not have to tell the computer how to build the system. It can figure it out for itself. The system will then be able to see many of the problems we get people to identify today, he adds.

– This process is still in the experimental stage – and quality control is part of VOLA’s development and implementation of new automation solutions, as are our new self-driving robots, which now manage parts of the internal logistics at the Horsens factory, explains Peter Krogh, Technical Manager at VOLA.

The project with VOLA, B&O and DTI is part of MADE research within the theme Sensor Technology and Production Data, funded by the Innovation Fund. In June 2020, a meeting has been agreed with VOLA, where DTI will discuss the options for introducing an automation plant in VOLA’s factory in Horsens.

When is something a fault?

The project originates from MADE researcher Anne Juhler Hansen from Aalborg University (AAU), who researches visual quality control for B&O, VOLA and LEGO.

– There are many aspects to this work that crop up repeatedly across industries, but there are also many things that are different. It is about creating a common language and looking at what standards are in the area, explains Anne Juhler Hansen.

In her PhD thesis, she studied how to quantify faults and create boundary values. In other words, when is something a fault that is ugly enough that the item should be discarded?

– We humans are flawed and we have different opinions. Maybe we can see a scratch today that we would not see tomorrow. Therefore it can be a major challenge to define when a fault is significant.

The project with VOLA, B&O and DTI is part of MADE research within the theme Sensor Technology and Production Data, funded by the Innovation Fund. In June 2020, a meeting has been agreed with VOLA, where DTI will discuss the options for introducing an automation plant in VOLA’s factory in Horsens.

An interaction between humans and machines

The system initiated by Anne Juhler Hansen is intended as an interaction between humans and machines.

We are not aiming for fully automated solutions initially, but to provide visual quality control staff with assistance in making decisions and improving quality control.

The researcher at Aalborg University is excited that RTOs and production companies are now furthering her ideas and methods so that more people can benefit.

– It will be extremely exciting to follow how companies will try to implement this. We call it aesthetic quality control and it’s really hard to define.

In future, computer must learn to think like humans and experience mistakes just as we do.

– I have worked in this area for several years, so I am very excited to see where it will lead. There is great potential to spread the solution to others. Automated quality control can ensure uniformity and take on tedious, repetitive work that requires sharp focus all the time, says Anne Juhler Hansen.

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