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Knight Optical Presents: Top 10 Robotic Developments of the Year so Far

3rd Jul 2022

The robotics industry is booming, with optics playing a major part, and we have the automotive and manufacturing industries to thank for their increasingly widespread adoption. Following successful, efficient applications in these industrial areas, other sectors are switching on to the many benefits of opting for automation.

Here, Knight Optical – the leading supplier of high-precision optical components for such automation-focused applications – runs through the top 10 robot technologies of the year so far.

  1. Byte to Eat? 

One of the most recent, widespread robotic announcements comes from the UK restaurant scene. Following labour shortages, resulting in staff wage inflation, the Big Table Group – the owner of the Italian food chain Bella Italia – trialled out robotic waiters in June this year. The ‘BellaBot’, which is made by Chinese company Pudu and can carry up to 40kg across four trays and deliver and retrieve plates, is being tested at the chain’s Cumbria branch.

Learn more here.

  1. State of the Art 

Glastonbury is one of the UK’s leading festivals, so it comes as no surprise that when it came to creating the artwork for 2022’s event, the organisers turned to a super high-tech solution. For this year’s headliners, a humanoid robot created creative portraits of artists using cameras and computer memory. The robot, named Ai-Da, created the pieces by using a robotic arm to create a layered and scaled multi-dimensional portrait.

Find out more about Ai-Da here.

  1. Robots on the TV

In the UK, mobile network operator and internet service provider EE has recently been sharing the power of its network with a televised robot performance. Filmed live atop the highest mountain in Wales, Snowdon, a robotic arm, which is being operated by a barber in Clapham, is seen shaving Actor Tom Ellis with high precision. The message from this advertisement is the reliability of your signal when you really need it.

  1. Just a Spoonful of Medicine 

Robotic pharmacies are popping up everywhere in the UK, and their popularity is also reaching new heights over the pond in the USA. Christ Hospital in Cincinnati recently reported that its prescription-filing robot sorts through 6000 doses of medication a day, helping ease labour issues in the healthcare sector.

Learn more about the healthcare bot here.

5. Making a Splash

To help tackle the issue of plastic pollution in our oceans, scientists from Sichuan University have revealed the design of robot fish that remove microplastics from the sea. Known as a ‘soft robot’, the small devices work by swimming around and absorbing microplastics on their soft, flexible bodies – which are also self-healing.

Discover more about these robot fish here.

6. Buzzing Around

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed firefly robots that can be used in search and rescue missions. The emitted coloured light, which can be used to signal for help, has been achieved by “embedding electroluminescent zinc sulphate particles in the robots’ artificial muscles”.

Read more about this project here.

7. Learning New Tricks

An AI-powered robot has recently learnt how to mould letters out of Play-Doh all by itself. Having never seen the letters it materialised previously; the robot is lined up to for a future life working with delicate materials, such as a dumpling-making chef, due to its ability to gently form and handle substances.

Find out more here.

8. Cleaning Up Your Act 

It’s no secret that the recyclability of our waste needs a complete overhaul. Reducing the need for human operation, AMP Robotics is developing both hardware and software that will help overcome the common issues faced with recycling. This technology “relies on image analysis to sort recyclables with far higher accuracy and recovery rates than are typical for conventional systems”.

Discover more about this innovation here.

9. Elon Musk’s Humanoid Robot

Although it hasn’t officially been launched yet, Elon Musk’s AI humanoid robot, Optimus, is set to be revealed on Tesla’s AI day in September this year. Reports are already in about how impressive the technology plans to be – standing at nearly six-foot tall, able to walk at five miles per hour and deadlift 150 pounds.

Find out more about Musk’s humanoid bots here.

10. Saving Lives and Extinguishing Fires

For the Delhi Fire Service (DFS), the induction of two robots has been a lifesaving addition to the team. Finding their way through narrow lanes, reaching areas that are inaccessible to firefighters and rescuers and even alerting firefighters of the presence of chemicals in a building, these remote-controlled robots have been assisting the improvement of the working conditions of the fire service in Delhi.

Learn more here.

Supporting Robot Engineers and Manufacturers

Above are just a small handful of innovations that have been revealed this side of 2022. With advancements in the world of robotics evolving at a rapid pace, we’re eager to see what the next six months of creativity brings for the industry. As a trusted leading supplier of high-precision, metrology-tested optical components for autonomous projects, we have the knowledge and in-house capabilities to the performance of your end application.

Why Choose Knight Optical for your Application? 

Discerning customers rely on Knight Optical not only for the premium quality of our output and in-house state-of-the-art Metrology Laboratory and QA Department’s capabilities but because – as well as a range of Stock Optics (available for next-day dispatch) – we also offer our optics as Custom-Made Components.

Last year, we celebrated 30 years in business. With over three decades’ experience under our belt and a whole host of long-standing world-renowned customers on our books, we are proud to have worked on some of the most ground-breaking innovations.

If you are looking for premium-quality, bespoke optical components, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of the Technical Sales Team here.

Europe, UK, Asia & RoW:

[email protected]

+44 (0)1622 859444

USA & Canada: 

[email protected]

+1 401-583-7846