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Presentation at Vic ATSE given by Elliot Duff - The Internet of Things (IoT) is boosting productivity, safety and efficiency for industries, economy, and government. Dr Duff will address the challenge of transforming the way we collect, link and act on this type of data utilizing robotics. He will bring ‘show and tell’ to help us understand robotics and the digitization of industry.

 

For developing Zebedee, a handheld 3D mobile laser mapping system capable of producing detailed maps of indoor, outdoor, and underground environments in the time it takes to walk through them. Zebedee enables efficient mapping of sites that were previously too costly or impossible to scan.

Team members: Robert Zlot, Michael Bosse, Elliot Duff, Paul Flick, Thomas Lowe, Peter Kambouris, Jonathan Roberts, Gautam Tendulkar.

Read more about the achievements of our current winner at Science Excellence Medal recipient.

HeatWave (a small handheld 3D thermography device) won the  2014 National iAward for Research and Development

HeatWave (a small handheld 3D thermography device) won the 2014 Queensland iAward for Research and Development.

Exploring the next generation of robots in Australia By Dr. Michael Bruenig, Deputy Chief of CSIRO's Computational Informatics Division. 

 

Zebedee a handheld mobile mapping device won the 2013 Australian Museum ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology.


 

To be launched at National Manufacturing Week (8 May 2013), the whitepaper highlights the issues facing Australia's manufacturing sector and presents a new category of technologies built to encourage human-robot work practices. Known as Lightweight Assistive Manufacturing Solutions LAMS, these new systems are designed to enhance the workers skills, actions and tasks, not to replace them. 

The paper outlines how current tools available to manufacturers are built for high volume mass-manufacturing, but that new economic drivers require manufacturers to focus more on low-volume, highly customised and high value-add products. Known as Lightweight Assistive Manufacturing Solutions, these new systems are designed to enhance the workers skills, actions and tasks, not to replace them. They include virtual reality headsets, smart robots which can be taught to multi-task and tele-supervised robots which can be controlled over the internet.

A drive towards more ICT enabled advanced manufacturing was one of the key opportunities identified by the Prime Minister’s Manufacturing Taskforce in 2012 in its report Smarter Manufacturing for a Smarter Australia.

"Australian Manufacturing is shifting away from large-volume production to mass customisation, and companies are telling us they need more flexible systems to deliver these more customised products. This whitepaper seeks to highlight these trends and present solutions which will enable Australian industry to address these challenges," says co-author and CSIRO business development manager Dr Peter Kambouris.

"Industrial automation used in manufacturing today is limited, but developments in ICT and robotics present Australia with an opportunity to change the way we manufacture. CSIRO believes lightweight robotics and advanced ICT systems are one way of meeting this challenge," he adds.

A virtual headset called GMR is one system being trialled by industry. Using a head-mounted camera the wearer (worker) is able to beam what they can see to anyone (expert/helper) in a remote location. The helper is then able to project their hand gestures onto whatever the worker is looking at and virtually show them how to fix an issue or conduct a repair.

Systems like GMR have been designed with safety in mind and allow workers to operate in hazardous environments and safely execute complex tasks.

"Our focus has been on creating systems which can help people and businesses work safer and smarter. Our consultation with industry has shown that safety, flexibility and affordability are the three drivers for Australian industry," says Dr Kambouris.

The whitepaper, titled "An initiative to enhance SME productivity through fit for purpose Information and Robotic technologies" will be launched on Wednesday 8 May 2013 at National Manufacturing Week in Melbourne. It has been drafted based on in-depth interviews with SMEs from Queensland and Victoria.

A whitepaper, titled "An initiative to enhance SME productivity through fit for purpose Information and Robotic technologies" was launched on Wednesday 8 May 2013 at National Manufacturing Week i in  Melbourne. It has been drafted based on in-depth interviews with SMEs from Queensland and Victoria.

An initiative to enhance SME productivity through fit for purpose Information and Robotic technologies

Facing increasing operational costs, skills shortages and comparatively low productivity growth, manufacturers are in need of alternative solutions that give them the flexibility to respond to a volatile demand, leading to an increase in productivity in the form of an affordable investment. Industrial automation currently available is not flexible enough, designed for high volume, low variation processes and hence economically unviable for small and medium sized businesses (99 per cent of industry).  Moreover, current technology is designed to improve productivity by replacing the work force, a strategy that is not considered suitable to the Australian SME sector, as one of their key competitive advantages is the innovation that is generated on the manufacturing line. Recent advances in robotics and information and communications technologies (ICT) are leading towards the convergence of close collaboration between worker and robot. 

Advances in sensor technology are also enabling the ability to perceive the dynamic manufacturing environment, with this digital information stream providing a safer work environment with improved quality and productivity outcomes. Through its research into the Australian SME sector, CSIRO foresees the enhancement (rather than replacement) of manufacturing workers with assistive information technologies and robotics-based technologies as a profound enabler for Australian SME’s economic success. This paper describes how current CSIRO advances in the field of ICT can be combined into Lightweight Assistive Manufacturing Solutions to lift workplace productivity and increase competitiveness - creating new business opportunities for Australia. It also explores the implications of these solutions in future manufacturing.

CSIRO celebrates Global Star Wars Day by unveiling the next generation of robotics research Read more ...

Under Extreme Heat

Our environmental sensor nodes are built to survive harsh conditions, but not those quite so extreme as they experienced on 8 January 2013 when a bushfire swept through the area near Yass in NSW where this 50 node network was installed.

On the Front Cover

Once again, we've made the cover of the Journal of Field Robotics. All 2013 editions of this journal feature three robots from the Autonomous Systems Laboratory on the cover: our autonomous catamaran, autonomous helicopter HD, and Starbug miniature submarine.