Robotics, Automation & Business News Index: 2021

Robotics | Automation | Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Advanced Manufacturing | 3D Printing

Welcome to 2021

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Asia: Overview by Region

The Asian Century & The Xi Effect
Asia’s Rendezvous with the Future Is Arriving Fast
The world’s showcase and continent-wide laboratory for robot-driven automation in this The Fourth Industrial Revolution

East Asia Bears Watching
Something very big is going on here: Seoul, Shanghai and Tokyo

Southeast Asia: The Bounty & Promise of ASEAN
Food, consumers and industry in exchange for investment and automation technology

China’s Big Push: Xi, Robots and Productivity
Leap to manufacturing economy based on invention and technology demands increased productivity

Emperor of All Robots Put to the Test
Saving Japan from itself with robotics: Competition and productivity 
for a shrinking workforce

Korea Awakens, Reacts…and Accelerates
Economic urgency spurs demand for advanced manufacturing robots

Crunch Time for Taiwan: Robotics and Automation
Aware of its limitations and very tardy, Taiwan hurries to catch up with East Asia

Robots for India: Industry’s Troubling Headwinds
Robots, automation, Gandhi and “premature de-industrialization.”

January 2021

The Gripper Chronicles
Touch Blind: The Quest for Grippers That Feel
Australian haptics developer endows robot grippers with the ability to feel, which might lead from factories to logistics to prosthetics to connecting with dementia patients.

Outlook for Piece-Picking Cobots to 2025
$1.7B forecast for cobots getting easier to see from my apartment window, but is automation really ready?
What’s up with Europe?
Why Is the EU the World’s AI Laggard?
With barely 5k AI patents, the EU is getting squeezed into AI irrelevancy.

Help Wanted: Creativity & Flair
The CES2021 Event Experience “Sans” People
CES says bye-bye for now to the tens of thousands of people who, every early January, tramp the aisles to gawk in person at 4,500 booths stuffed with tech gear.

Canadian Journalists Take On Canadian Robotics
Seven young journalists from Lethbridge College explore and report on Canadian robotics from coast to coast

Shaking up a monopoly!
Under the Hood: China’s Robot Parts Industry
China challenges the foreign robot parts monopoly’s 75% market share

Hazards, Testing & Standards
Mischief Makers: When Robots Cause Accidents
Hazard-free robots and cobots can keep you out of court, if you know where to look for the hazards

February 2021

ABB Finally Births Two, New Cobots. Now What?
The GoFa and SWIFTI cobot twins debuted. Will we forget about them as quickly as YuMi?

Careers in “Smart” Robotics
Career Idea #9: Go Have Dinner with Aaron Prather

Looking to Buy a Few Shares of Robotics?
The coast is clear again

Smart Factory vs. Not So Smart
Upping the robot ante: When preventive maintenance and non-stop work are not enough.

“Demand Soars” for Industrial Robots in China
High Gear for China’s Automation “Bonanza”—Nikkei Asian Review

Can China Reskill 220M Workers?
Unlocking the talent resident in 220M potentially more important than Belt & Road; plus, legacy-building for President Xi Jinping.

March 2021

27 March 2021
This Is Robotics: Radio News
What’s going on in the world of robotics?

Robots, Retail & $1T Gone AWOL!
Can robots help stem retailer losses from out-of-stock goods? Retail needs something…and fast!

Robotic Material Removal
Higher Efficiency Due to Automated Deburring
With the CRT, RCV, and CDB, SCHUNK has developed three units for different deburring tasks providing an optimal tool for any application.

U.S. Scrutiny Over China’s Robots
How politics and great power intrigue are already influencing the global robotics industry, and what the consequences might be.

The Best of the Best for 2021
Top 20 Rankings in Engineering & Technology

What Automation Needs to Flourish
Why Is Southeast Asia So Investment Worthy?
Four charts, one booklet and a video explain it all!

New Breed: “Collaborative” Service Robots
Service Robots & The Pandemic Next Time!
Will service robots make the deadline? They need help in order to help us.

Out of China
Robots in Southeast Asia: The Big Next!
Industrial robot sales in Southeast Asia poised for rapid expansion as trade war tariffs drive low-end manufacturing south earlier than expected.


April 2021

It’s as Simple as: More Industrial Real Estate Equals More Warehouses Equals More Robots
There’s a boom in industrial real estate going on in the U.S., and it’s getting ever more frantic. All of which means great times ahead for logistics robots

Oceans 2050
Jacques Cousteau’s Oscar Just Turned 65
Marine robotics: Heir apparent to “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau

Young Canadians on Canada
From Farm to Fork, AI Is Speeding Up the Process
Technology continues to advance, and the agriculture and food processing sectors have evolved along with it.

The Hard & the Soft of Robotics
It takes an interesting mind in engineering to excel at the “hard” in grippers and the “soft” in grippers as well.

Robotic Goods-to-Person to Quadruple!
“Through 2023,” says Gartner, “demand for robotic goods-to-person (G2P) systems will quadruple.” That’s a hefty increase…

ELITE ROBOT Launches New Sales and Customer Support Office
ELITE Robot, a China-based developer of award-winning collaborative robots (cobots), is pleased to announce the official opening of its North American sales and support office in Knoxville, TN

Micro-fulfillment and the last mile
Warehouse “Anywhere” Gets $2.8B from Softbank
AutoStore’s cube tech gets lots of attention from Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank. Asia/Pacific tabbed for major growth.

Young Canadians on Canada
Cybersecurity Practices: Post-Secondary Institutions

May 2021

Waterloo: “Out Where the Robots Roam”
Seeing one’s future in the city that remade itself

Marketing Cobots as Heavy-Duty Consumer Tools
Cobots as “Guardians of the Factory”

Researchers Develop First Robotic Surgery System in Peru
A team of Peruvian researchers is working on the development of the country’s first robotic surgery system.

SRT Announces Four New “Soft” Grippers
SRT kicks the “soft” revolution into high gear with the release of four new “intelligent end-effector (i-EOAT)” soft grippers.

New technology behind “going soft”
Keeping Safe with Soft Robot Grippers
Another April
Top News Stories for April 2021

New Paradigm for Buying Industrial Robots & Cobots
So, you want to buy an industrial robot or cobot, do’ya? Here’s a new way

Robot-Supported Surface Finishing
Perfect Finish Through Automated Surface Finishing

Young Canadians on Canada
Artificial Intelligence: Online Shopping Aid or Manipulator?


June 2021

Supply Chain Woes
The supply bottlenecks began with semiconductors. Their deficiency was still easy to explain until…
Beware the Automation Highway
Keep the pedal off the metal and get an expert to ride shotgun.

Soft Robot Tech: New Products Released
Realizing Efficient and Convenient Flexible Manufacturing Solutions

Beauty and the Robot: Disrupting Personal Care
A woman and her face. Why aren’t robots shaving faces, legs and underarms?

Automation & The Future of Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia Is China All Over Again…Only Better!
Free 63-page Research Report.

July 2021

New Products
SRT: VFC Series Van der Waals Pads
SRT has launched the new VFC series of van der Waals Pads

This Is Robotics: Radio News
January 27, 2022: Program #6

Smart Factory’s Worst Nightmare: Sybil Attacks from Byzantine Robots. Better Call Blockchain!
Like COVID, the world has been caught unaware and now must hustle up a digital vaccine for a stout defense of cyberattacks

Xi Jinping, “Faust” & Robots
Exiled, Living Rough, and Reading Goethe

The Hybrid Worker in the Hybrid Workplace
Say goodbye to vertical-specific expertise.

The Juggernaut with 20K AMRs…and Counting!

August 2021

Sex Robots Will Never Make You Cry…Maybe
Pitfalls & Promise of a New Industry

Realizing Digital Production with SRT
Intelligent manufacturing solutions are helping food industry to Realize Digital Production.

New Magnetic Platform for Robot Surgery
Coming together: Magnetics, robots, human organs, and a very smart surgical idea.
Twin Pack of Robot Technology
Courtesy of Fizyr & ArtiMinds: Making robots easier to use: Breakthroughs in vision and programming software for robots and cobots.
Global Welding Market to $48B by 2026
Can Welding Robots Fill Fastening Void?

Shine Up the Cobots & Robots for 4Q2021 Selling
Robots and cobots set to join hot-selling AMRs in long-awaited sales binge

ABB, Still Playing Catch-up, Grabs ASTI
It’s momentum time in logistics, and Swiss-based ABB is looking for some


September 2021

This Is Robotics: Radio News #2 (29 September 2021)

Technological Disruption Creates Jobs…Good Ones!
Helping workers take advantage of the new jobs that technology will create

When the Robot Burns the Toast
Kitchen robotics for elderly & handicapped

E-Commerce at Work: Humans Beware
The churn in e-commerce warehouses is challenging humans to keep pace. Can they for very long?

Back to the Future with Surgical Robotics
A UK competitor, CMR Surgical, may well be the most important surgical robot challenger to Intuitive. CMR Surgical has a shot at making many millionaires, as has Intuitive since 2000.

The Demise of Dumb: New Generation of Smart Robots
Five-year window for “smart” robot connectivity to take hold across all industries

Are Robots the Answer to an Autonomous AI?
What do we consider intelligence and why can we do this?

Robotics 2030
Intelligence & Mobility

Boston Consulting Group has put an interesting lens to the next decade of robotics, highlighting “seven unfolding developments that will influence the direction of robotics in the next ten years.”

Siemens Encamps Global Robot Research HQ in China
Showtime for Siemens and its digital twin tech


January 2022

Three Hallmarks Defining Cobot Success
Cobot Specialization, R&D Excellence & Leading IP
Three tech attributes showing themselves necessary for cobot success. Universal Robots, Techman, and Doosan share the knack, but better keep an eye on newcomer ELITE ROBOT.

The Pittsburgh Story, Part 2
Flexing Pittsburgh’s Robotics Prowess
Positioned to help meet America’s greatest manufacturing challenges

Careers in “Smart” Robotics: Do Yourself a Favor
“Smart” Job Tracks Powered by Robotics & AI
Here’s what a little “intelligence” can bring to the life of a machine.
Here are 10 on the way to 32. Hang with us for more in 2022!

Micro-Fulfillment: $10B by 2026, ~$36B by 2030
Top Emerging Trend During COVID Driven by Online Grocery & Dark Stores

Flipping the Lens
On Fear & Loathing of AI/ML

December 2021

The Rise of Deng Xiaoping
China’s Christmas Miracle & Best Gift Ever!
Keeping the sheen on Deng Xiaoping’s “Big Idea”

The Great East-West AI Clash: China vs. U.S.
Not since the Cold War has technology anchored such a high-stakes power struggle. The real winner: Technology.

SRT Helps an Enterprise’s Flexible Automatic Production
SRT’s flexible gripper helps customers realize the automatic operation of the goods sorting and shelving process, and effectively reduce the labor intensity of workers.

Kitchen robotics for elderly & handicapped
When the Robot Burns the Toast
A Review & Commentary on Toyota Research Institute’s in-home robots, as seen through TRI’s Robotics Virtual Open House
Text and podcast episode: This Is Robotics: Radio News

Can Robotics Stem Global Food Spoilage & Waste?
Asia, especially China, needs to overhaul the food supply chain from farms to chopsticks. Agricultural robotics, warehouse automation, and improved transportation offer a way forward

This Is Robotics: Radio News (podcast)
New Robot Tricks for 2022: Capsule Robotics, The All-Robot Auto Plant, and The Dexterous Hand

This Is Robotics: Radio News (podcast)
The Problem with Cobots
Well, Let’s Start with Sales

The Rise of Daegu City
The Road Ahead: Robot Technopolis 2022-2028
Global Robot Cluster (GRC) November Meeting to Plan Roadmap of Next Steps

Global Robotics Patents: The Patent Wars!
Who is leading, who is on the rise, and who are the also-rans?

Autonomous Mobile Robots
Is This the Golden Age of AMRs?
In spite of the pandemic and because of the pandemic, AMRs have not only flourished, they have massively proliferated. Forecast for 2028: $7 billion!

November 2021

Classic Applications: Food Industry
The SRT-iEOAT solution has been verified by several successful cases. It can be widely used in food sorting, packaging and other fields.

From Dying Steel Town to Global Robotics Hub
Pittsburgh is now a top robotics research hub in the U.S. and an industry leader worldwide

Kim Chang-ho Leads Drive for Robot Technopolis
Decade of work pays off in high-tech victory as Daegu City wins nationwide competition as mega-site for Korea’s Robot Technopolis

To Have and Have Not: Advanced Manufacturing’s Most Important Skill

The Rise of Daegu City
Korea’s Newest Innovation Hub & Asia’s Next Robotics Technopolis

Automated Production Lines That Can Grip Hot Products Without Causing Damage
SRT’s flexible gripping solution has successfully automated the production of high temperature products

Why International Internet Day Is Wrong!
History got it wrong. Hey, it happens. No harm done…as long as someone gets it right. …We have…

HAI ROBOTICS Unveils 3 New Products at CeMAT Asia
Exploring New Frontiers of Warehouse Automation

The Fantastic Five of Asia
Five of Asia’s most fascinating robotic projects: China, Japan & Singapore

October 2021

This Is Robotics: Radio News #3 (28 October 2021)


Robot Automation and the East Asian Workforce
Manufacturing technology is a “resource-liberating force”…

SRT: Soft Robot Gripper: Case Sharing
Application of Flexible Gripper in Dough Sorting Line

The Trouble with Cobots
Arguably the most important advance in robotics in the last 50 years has got a problem: sales

A Place Where Robots Are a Godsend
Where because of robots there is work; and where without them is unthinkable

China’s Inland Ocean of Trading Partners: Its Supercities
Bountiful ports of call for robots, automation, logistics, and AI…especially “smart” logistics