Philip English

Robotics Enthusiast, Director, Investor, Trainer, Author and Vlogger

Hospital Robot Workers | Star Wars BB8 Robot | Facial Expressions Robot Weekly Update

Hospital Robot Workers Star Wars BB8 Robot Facial Expressions Robot

Hi there, and welcome to my weekly Robot Update. This is wear I do a round up of what is going on in the Robot news around the world, so stay tuned.

Hi Guys, I’m Philip English from, and welcome to the Robot Weekly update number 19.

New hospital takes delivery of fleet of robot workers

But these mini-robots are in fact the behind the scenes stars of the new £842 million South Glasgow University Hospital. Patients will see little of the motorised workers, which will see 26 robots assist staff in their duties. Costing £50,000 each, the fleet are being used to move medical equipment, linen, food and waste around the vast site which begins opening on Monday. The £1.3m Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGVs) to give them their full title, are10 inches high and are capable of lifting up to half a tonne at a time. The self-operating vehicles come to life when a member of staff has scanned a trolley or cage to be picked up. The AVGs then track their target as they make their way through the hospital, using their own dedicated lifts in the 14 storey complex. Once an AVG has completed it’s task it then returns to the charge docking station where it can be fully charged in 30 minutes- all without any input from a human. When one moves from the front of the rank, another automatically takes its place from the nearest charging station.  At a loading bay where goods including kitchen materials, linen and medical supplies are delivered, the robots pick up their cargo, call a lift and head for the appropriate floor. A NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde spokesperson said: “They robots are fully geared up and ready for operation. We’ve had them for four weeks now and they are already in use around the hospital. “The use of the robots will free up valuable time for porters to undertake important duties such as moving patients.” The intelligent robots will adjust their speed depending on the width of the corridor and if any one is in close proximity. They have lights which will allow them to be easily seen and are able to give verbal warning if they are approaching people. The South Glasgow University Hospital will take over from four of Glasgow’s other hospitals- the Southern General, the Victoria Infirmary, Western Infirmary and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children (Yorkhill)- which are currently in the process of transferring their, equipment, staff and patients to the new hospital. The move means NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde will have to move around 1000 patients and 10,000 staff during the transition which is expected to be completed by mid June.

Star Wars BB8 robot was built by Sphero and you can get one this Christmas

The latest Star Wars film – Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens – is not even out yet and already one of its characters, a little robot droid named BB8, has become a huge star. He even has his very own dedicated Twitter emoji that displays whenever you use the hashtag #BB8. BB8 is a small spherical robot that makes cute sounds a la R2D2 and fans have been thrilled to hear from director JJ Abrams that for the first time, the Star Wars franchise has made use of a real robotic machine rather than a man in a robot suit, an advanced puppet or just using special effects. During a Q&A session at the Star Wars Celebration fan convention in Anaheim, California, on 16 April, Abrams explained that UK-based award-winning film prop maker Neal Scanlan and his team had been responsible for remote-controlling BB8 to make act on screen, but what he did not say was a real technology company had been involved in bringing the robot to life. The company in question is Sphero, a tech toy startup based in Colorado, US, and on 22 April, the firm announced it will be releasing a toy version of BB8 that will be available to purchase for the 2015 Christmas season and fans can register to receive more information.

Facial expressions Robot

With his lively eyebrows, winkled cheeks and eyes that follow you around the room – this state-of-the-art robotic head is menacingly lifelike. The humanoid, known as Ham, has been drawing in crowds with his incredible range of facial expressions at an electronics event in Hong Kong this week. The head, designed by American robotics designer David Hanson, is able to answer basic questions and can also be used in the simulation of medical scenarios. Ham is currently on exhibit at the Global Sources spring electronics show at AsiaWorld Expo – the largest event of its kind in the world, with more than 4,000 booths displaying the latest gadgets. The head is created with malleable material called Frubber using soft-bodied mechanical engineering and nanotechnology. It contains realistic pores that measure just 4 to 40 nanometers across (there are 10million nanometers in one centimetre). Using specialised software the machine can recognise and respond to a number of human facial expressions in a natural way. According to Hanson Robotics’s website, the humanoids can actually see your face, make eye contact with you, and understand speech to ‘engage you in witty dialogue’. Such reactions are a major feat of engineering, according to chief designer David Hanson, the founder and and president of Hanson Robotics.  It is not the first human-looking robot that his firm has created either. An earlier version of Ham drew headlines as it was sculpted to look like Albert Einstein, complete with a bushy moustache and a shock of white hair. The Einstein humanoid made facial expressions by using multiple motors – which whir into action and subtly adjust multiple points of articulation around his mouth and brown eyes. Mr Hanson sees robotics as his calling and works on many fronts, from sculpting features to developing artificial intelligence.

That’s it guys, for a weekly world Robot News, I am your host Philip English

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