Adidas aims to open automated shoe factory in Germany in 2016 | Reuters

MUNICH, Germany German sporting goods maker Adidas aims to open its first fully automated shoe factory in Germany next year, part of an effort to bring manufacturing back closer to its consumers in more affluent countries.

The sporting goods maker signed an agreement to obtain technology from German engineering group Manz that will allow it to design and make custom-tailored shoe components in a new type of automated plant it calls “Speedfactory”, Manz said on Tuesday.

Adidas has been working with the German government, academics and robotics firms on new technologies it hopes will trigger a significant a shift in the footwear industry as the move led by its arch rival Nike to produce in Asia decades ago.

Adidas wants to speed up delivery times to fashion-conscious customers and reduce freight costs.

The project fits with a broader drive by Adidas to catch up with Nike, which has extended its lead as the world’s biggest sportswear firm in recent years with innovative products such as its “Flyknit” shoes made out of machine-knitted fiber.

Key to moving footwear manufacturing closer to Western markets are technologies that cut the need for workers to piece together shoes.

As part of that initiative, Adidas unveiled a 3-D printed running shoe sole this month that can be tailored to a person’s foot.

Adidas will open its first “Speedfactory” in the southern German town of Ansbach near its Herzogenaurach headquarters in 2016, a spokesman for Adidas said.

Adidas’s other partners in the project are Johnson Controls, robotic assembly expert KSL Keilmann, the Technical University of Munich’s fortiss institute as well as the University of Aachen’s ITA RWTH textile technology institute.

(Reporting by Joern Poltz; Additional reporting by Anneli Palmen; Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Keith Weir)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-adidas-robots-idUSKCN0SE1RL20151020

Accuver Adds Automation to In-Building Network Testing

SEOUL, South Korea–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Accuver,

the world’s leading provider of wireless test and measurement solutions,

today released a new automatic in-building positioning feature and

freshly designed backpack to its XCAL-Harmony product line.

Accuver’s XCAL-Harmony is a portable, easy-to-carry, multi-phone testing

solution that can be used for indoor walk test in buildings, subway

stations, campuses and stadiums. The latest feature offers a

user-friendly solution that increases the speed and accuracy of

in-building network testing because it eliminates the need for a user to

manually click his or her position on the screen and automates the

process.

The new XCAL-Harmony backpack is designed to hold six smartphones with

XCAL-Mobile or XCAL-Solo software and extra batteries for six hours of

testing. The backpack also features a single port to charge all devices

and batteries as and a single USB port to access the device log files,

allowing for ease of data transfer.

“As mobile data traffic continues to rise, wireless service providers

will need to closely monitor their in-building network performance to

ensure optimal usage,” said You Jin Kim, Head of Accuver Global Business

Division. “Accuver’s newest lightweight backpack is designed to increase

the speed and accuracy of in-building testing, making the XCAL-Harmony a

more efficient and powerful tool to measure indoor network performance.”

Accuver will debut the XCAL-Harmony at Mobile World Congress in

Barcelona, Spain from February 27 – March 2. Please visit Accuver’s

meeting room #5M14MR, Innowireless booth #7M5, or contact Accuver for

more information at sales.accuver@accuver.com.

About Accuver

Accuver is a leading provider of wireless test and measurement solutions

that optimize the performance and reliability of mobile networks.

Working with all major network operators, infrastructure vendors,

chipset manufacturers and wireless equipment OEMs, we measure,

troubleshoot and optimize network performance and wireless service

delivery. This involves a seamless blend of user insight, design

innovation, software development, cutting-edge engineering, and support

services.

www.accuver.com

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170221005191/en/Accuver-Adds-Automation-In-Building-Network-Testing/?feedref=JjAwJuNHiystnCoBq_hl-bNgknBQakQ2FGsSkk8fjL9chyXjeoAqFXQqsgULEUc6rCOi9QzgjCezTS3Nw_X6kJUrpSBm-Hav1w-UkdSlG3lzMb7Zumkf8ZB_1TYWKp6FcVjEfZIyqgxRRsuxHCTK2w==

Hottest new CES 2017 tech: Home robots

Some of the hottest tech coming to CES this year includes home robots, Super UHD TVs, and the latest in PCs.

Artificial intelligence in the home has been making big gains at CES over the last several years, according to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) in a statement released Tuesday. CTA projects 2017 unit sales for voice-controlled, stand-alone digital assistant devices with a cloud-based operating system — including Amazon’s Echo and Google Home — to reach 4.5 million units, a 52 percent increase, and reach $608 million in revenue, up 36 percent.

And with home robots, companies at CES in 2017 will be looking to upstage intelligent home assistants like Google Home and Amazon Echo.  

Kuri: This home robot from Mayfield Robotics is all about personality. An erstwhile Pixar animator was one of the lead designers of Kuri, according to Robotics Trends. The robot has “emotive eyes and a friendly disposition” and cruises around your home “smartly avoiding obstacles,” says Mayfield Robotics. Kuri’s eyes are equipped with a camera that can capture photos and video, recognize faces, and monitor your home when you’re away. It will be priced at $699.

Olly: This is a “tabletop bot” that that “recognizes different household members and adapts it personality to suit each one,” according to Jordan Edelson, CEO of Appetizer Mobile, in a statement about CES trends this year. More specifically, Olly’s personality “evolves” depending on interaction patterns,” says Emotech Inc., the company behind the robot. Olly’s AI engine was created by a group a neuroscience and machine learning scientists.

APPLE’S COMING ATTRACTIONS IN 2017: RADICAL NEW IPHONE, RESIZED IPAD?

Intelligent Vision System: Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), one of Taiwan’s leading high-tech applied research institutions, announced it will show off an Intelligent Vision System for Companion Robots. “ITRI invites…attendees to booth 2015, Tech East, Westgate, to play chess and have coffee with a robot commanded by ITRI’s Intelligent Vision System.” 

Aristotle: Mattel’s Aristotle is an Amazon Echo assistant that is programmed to understand your kid, since a child’s speech patterns are different than an adult’s. Aristotle “is built to live in a child’s room–and answer a child’s questions–rather than rule the entire home,” according to FastCompany.com’s Co.Design. It is expected to be priced at $300.

THE BEST LAPTOPS OF 2016

CES 2017 proves intelligent, voice-controlled digital assistants are here to stay. “We’ve had more progress in voice-activated digital assistants in the last 30 months than in the first 30 years,” Shawn DuBravac, CTA chief economist, said in a statement on Tuesday. “Word recognition accuracy has improved from nearly zero percent in the 1990s to 75 percent in 2013 to about 95 percent today – enabling these devices to enjoy immense consumer adoption.”

TVs:

TVs are a CES mainstay and companies like Samsung and LG will be showing off the latest in TV tech.

Samsung: The tech giant will show off its QLED TV, based on Quantum Dot technology, which allows deeper blacks and better detail no matter how light or dark the scene is or whether you’re viewing it in a brightly lit or dark room, Samsung said. The new TVs can also reproduce 100 percent color volume. “For example, a leaf can be perceived as different colors from yellowish green to turquoise, depending on brightness of the light,” Samsung said.

LG: LG is rolling out its newest Super UHD TVs, the SJ9500, SJ8500 and SJ8000 featuring Nano Cell LCD technology, which creates “more subtle, accurate colors that can be viewed from wider

angles than other TVs.”

THE 5 BEST SMARTPHONES OF 2016

Computers:

Lenovo: The computer maker has announced its X1 Carbon, X1 Yoga, X1 Tablet. With its popular X1 Carbon, Lenovo has shrunk a 14-inch display into a 13-inch chassis, among other, more subtle improvements to all three portables.

HP: HP is bringing out a new lineup that includes the EliteBook x360 for business, a redesigned 15.6-inch Spectre x360, and a HP ENVY Curved All-in-One, the AIO 34, with a massive 34-inch display.

Dell: Dell has updated its popular XPS 13 with a 2-in-1 design, the first XPS 13 with a 360-degree hinge. Like the previous XPS 13 laptops, it sports a very-high-resolution QHD+ InfinityEdge touch display and fits a 13-inch laptop into a 12-inch chassis.

http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2017/01/04/hottest-new-ces-2017-tech-home-robots.html

ISIS “industrial” weapons production in Mosul with supply from Turkey revealed as Iraq forces advance

As Iraqi army and allied forces push ISIS militants back from Mosul, their last major stronghold in Iraq, the industrial-scale weapons manufacturing capabilities the group has enjoyed are being revealed.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s weapons production was highly organized and sophisticated, relying on a “robust and reliable” supply chain from across the border in Turkey, according to a report by the London-based Conflict Armament Research group (CAR).

“The degree of organization, quality control and inventory management indicates a complex, centrally controlled industrial production system,” the report found.

CAR executive director James Bevan told the Associated Press that ISIS’ loss of ground around Mosul, where they’ve been beaten back from surrounding towns and villages and squeezed into the city center, means the group has lost the ability to manufacture weapons on an industrial scale.

He warned, however, that the terror group has likely already moved most of its senior weapons experts out of Mosul and into their territory across the border in Syria, so the threat still exists.

Any significant supply route from Turkey, to the north, into Mosul has also likely been cut off or seriously impacted as such a route would have to traverse Kurdish territory along the border, and Kurdish militias are among the allied forces beating ISIS back into the center of Mosul from that direction.

CAR noted, however, that some materials used by ISIS to make bombs and mortars were sourced from as far away as western Europe; Sorbital and sugar used in propellants from France and Lebanon, and potassium nitrate from Latvia, for example.

CAR’s researchers went into reclaimed areas east of Mosul with Iraqi forces and found stocked, labeled and ready-to-ship munitions, reflecting the elaborate production process that enabled ISIS militants to remain on the offensive — with bomb and mortar attacks on population centers and targeting security forces — during their now two-year-old insurgency in northern Iraq and Syria.

U.S. military commanders have expressed confidence that Iraqi forces will retake Mosul in the new year, and they are now focusing efforts with European allies on how to help the Iraqis keep ISIS out of Iraq’s second largest city once the militants are evicted.

© 2016 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/isis-industrial-weapons-production-mosul-supply-turkey-iraq/

Tiny Robots Use Gecko Power To Carry Heavy Weights

A pair of Stanford University PhD students at the school’s Biomimetics and Dexterous Manipulation Lab have developed what they call MicroTugs, or mini bots that use adhesive power similar to what’s found on the feet of geckos and ants to pull off incredible feats of strength.

One robot weighing less than a third of an ounce can carry a 2.2-pound weight vertically up a glass wall.

Another robot weighs less than half an ounce, but can drag 2,000 times its own weight on a flat surface.

“This is the equivalent of a human adult dragging a blue whale around on land,” the researchers note.

What’s even more amazing is that the tests are actually bound by the limits of the actuators in the robots, not the adhesive power of the feet. That, the research team said in the video description, should allow them to pull almost twice as much — or the equivalent of a human dragging two blue whales.

The tiny bots contain a battery, a winch, a processor, a motor, wheels and an adhesive layer on the belly. The adhesive layer contains small rubber spikes similar to the “setae” that cover the toes of geckos, NBC News reports.

As the video above explains, the adhesive layer doesn’t stick unless the bot is pulling a load with its winch. When it does, the wheels lift and the belly lowers to stick to the surface. Once an object has been pulled, the adhesive belly lifts and the wheels come back down, allowing the robot to move freely again.

Eventually, the technology could be used on larger robots to carry heavy items around a construction site or in emergencies, such as bringing a rope ladder to someone trapped in a tall burning building, according to New Scientist.

The MicroTugs will be the subject of a presentation at next month’s International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Seattle. The authors have also published two papers on their developments, which can be found here and here.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/27/gecko-power-robots_n_7157692.html

Carrier to ultimately cut some of jobs Trump saved

Carrier to ultimately cut some of jobs Trump saved – Dec. 8, 2016 by Chris Isidore   @CNNMoney December 9, 2016: 8:16 AM ET ‘;

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But that has a big down side for some of the workers in Indianapolis.

Most of that money will be invested in automation said to Greg Hayes, CEO of United Technologies, Carrier’s corporate parent. And that automation will replace some of the jobs that were just saved.

“We’re going to…automate to drive the cost down so that we can continue to be competitive,” he said on an interview on CNBC earlier this week. “Is it as cheap as moving to Mexico with lower cost labor? No. But we will make that plant competitive just because we’ll make the capital investments there. But what that ultimately means is there will be fewer jobs.”

The decision to keep Carrier’s furnace manufacturing operations in the U.S. instead of moving them to Mexico will save about 800 jobs out of the 1,400 at the plant, at least in the near term. The company declined to say how many of the plants 800 remaining jobs could be lost to automation, or when.

Related: Robots threaten these 8 jobs

The threat that automation poses to jobs a big concern for Chuck Jones, president of United Steelworkers union Local 1999, which represents the Carrier workers.

“Automation means less people,” he told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day” on Thursday. “I think we’ll have a reduction of workforce at some point in time once they get all the automation in and up and running.”

Still, automation is the only way that a plant in Indiana that pays about $20 an hour can compete with Mexican plants where workers earn $3 an hour.

Related: Carrier to raise prices on furnaces and air conditioners

The number of U.S. manufacturing jobs in the U.S. has declined sharply thanks in large part to more efficient factories.

“You can’t just blame cheap labor [outside the U.S.],” said Dan Miklovic, principal analyst with LNS research. “Certainly many of the jobs that we’ve lost, especially in more sophisticated industries, it’s not so much that they’ve been offshored, but it has been automation that replaced them. We use a lot more robots to build cars.”

Related: The manufacturing boom Donald Trump ignores

All together, U.S. factories are actually producing more products today than they did in the post-World War II era, according to the Federal Reserve’s reading on manufacturing output. Output at U.S. factories is up 150% in last 40 years. But U.S. manufacturing jobs have plunged by more than 30% in that same period. And automation is a big reason why.

And it’s not a trend that’s going to end with Carrier or even with manufacturers.

A recent study by McKinsey & Co. said that 45% of the tasks that U.S. workers are currently paid to perform can be automated by existing technology. That represents about $2 trillion in annual wages.

CNNMoney (New York) First published December 8, 2016: 4:14 PM ET

Terms & Conditions apply

NMLS #1136

http://money.cnn.com/2016/12/08/news/companies/carrier-jobs-automation/index.html

Automation for the People: The Public, Technology and Jobs

A 2012 research brief by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee at MIT renewed an old debate over the effect of new technologies on employment levels. They argued that, counter to the prevailing belief that new technologies and automation simply shift jobs into new sectors after a period of disruption, instead rapid improvements in technology over the past decades have left some workers completely behind, a trend that will continue to accelerate as computers capabilities expand. But what does the public think? Do Americans see technological threats to employment, and have their views changed since the days when robots first began replacing line workers in factories? From the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research archive:

More machinery, fewer jobs?

The U.S. public has been asked about the effect of new technologies and automation on jobs since the early fifties, with pollsters showing particular interest in the issue during the high unemployment in the 1980s. Trends through 1999 show that the country is often evenly split on whether greater use of workplace technology increases or decreases employment, with variation in responses both over time and by question wording. One of the most negative responses was a 1983 poll that found 56% disagreed that computers and factory automation will create more jobs than they will eliminate, while only 39% agreed. In contrast, 34% in 1989 believed that scientific and technological changes cause unemployment because people’s jobs are replaced by machines, while 45% said scientific and technological changes increase the total number of jobs over the long run.

2015-06-09-1433854827-3168268-Perceptionsofeffectsoftechnologyonjobs.gif

Current public opinion leans slightly towards a positive assessment of the effect of technology. A majority in a 2015 CNBC poll said that technology has more benefits than drawbacks to the economy, because it provides services and products to consumers at lower prices, though a substantial minority say that the drawbacks of replacing workers outweigh the benefits. A 2012 Pew poll found that 40% of Americans believe new technologies have increased the number of jobs in the U.S., while 32% think they have decreased the number, and 21% say they’ve made no difference.

The most recent poll on this issue points to potential shifts in public opinion with future technologies. A 2015 Monmouth poll about artificial intelligence found 72% of the public believe having machines with the ability to think for themselves would hurt jobs and the economy, among the most negative responses in the history of polling on the effect of technology on employment.

Specifically, is tech to blame for today’s unemployment

Questions that ask specifically about whether technology is to blame for current unemployment or underemployment have also found the public divided, though in recent years perhaps more inclined to lay substantial responsibility at the feet of automation. In 2013, a question with four-way response categories found 69% of the public put a lot or some of the blame for good paying jobs being hard to find on technology replacing workers.

2015-06-09-1433855076-4078116-automationslide2updated.gif

Overall importance of technology in the economy

However, despite ongoing concern about the effect of technology on employment in particular, Americans have consistently been positive about the effect of technology on the economy overall, and in fact have seen technological innovation and development as vital to the country’s economic interests. For example, a 1983 Cambridge Reports/Research International poll found that 48% strongly agreed and 40% somewhat agreed that the future prosperity of the United States depended on more and better technology. In a 1996 Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard Economy poll, 70% of Americans said the increased use of technology in the workplace was good for the economy. In a 2010 Allstate/National Journal poll, 79% said that information technology was extremely or very important to creating economic growth in the U.S.

So do the unemployed just lack skills?

The public’s generally positive views about the effects of technology on the economy do not necessarily conflict with their willingness to blame for current unemployment on workplace automation. The public may share the views of economists who argue that technology is disruptive in the short-term, but creates jobs in the long run. In this view, unemployment is caused by displaced workers lacking the skills for the newly available jobs, a situation that rights itself with time, training, and education. However, the public does not appear to see this disconnect between skills and jobs as the underlying cause of unemployment.

In a 1982 poll, 51% believed lack of jobs was the main cause of unemployment, only 21% believed it was lack of skills, and 26% that people just didn’t want to work. In 2010, an even greater proportion of the public believed there were no jobs available for the unemployed. Seventy-nine percent of the public said the main cause of unemployment was a lack of jobs, only 12% thought it was people lacking skills, and just 7% that people just don’t want to work.

2015-06-09-1433855188-9298056-Slide3.GIF

Despite concerns about the effects of technology on jobs overall, very few people today are concerned about losing their own jobs to technology. In the 1980s, concerns were higher. In a 1984 Hearst Corporation poll, 29% said they were very concerned about computers or robotics threatening their job in the future, and 17% said they were somewhat concerned. A 1993 Gallup/CNN/USA Today poll, however, found only 5% thought technology could eliminate their jobs completely in 5 or 10 years. Over half (56%) believed technology could change the nature of their job, and 38% expected no effect.

Only 13% in a 2015 poll were concerned that their own job could be replaced with technology, at least in the near future. But a 2014 poll of the unemployed found that 30% said technology replacing jobs was at least a minor cause of their unemployment.

2015-06-09-1433855263-4329543-Slide2.GIF

As computers take on more and more complex tasks, public opinion on this issue will no doubt continue to be monitored – but by whom? Pollsters, take heed: this NPR job automation assessment tool gives survey researchers a 23% chance of being replaced by machines in the next 20 years.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathleen-weldon/automation-for-the-people_b_7543204.html

Premarket Stock Trading – CNNMoney

Premarket Stock Trading – CNNMoney

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http://money.cnn.com/data/premarket/

Automation can revitalize the U.S. workforce

In the face of growing workplace automation, a number of commentators have painted a grim future for American workers. But most human capital leaders see a much brighter future– one where automation helps revitalize U.S. manufacturing and increases the demand for skilled workers.

According to global talent management firm Randstad Sourceright’s survey of over 400 corporate HR leaders, automation and robotics are likely to have a positive impact on U.S. business growth in 2017, and will be one of the driving forces behind new hiring trends over the next several years. 

Regardless of how you feel about robots, the move toward automation and artificial intelligence cannot be stopped.  About 15 percent of global HR leaders say that robotics completely transformed their businesses in 2016, and more than double (31%) expect automation to have an even greater influence in 2017.     

Rather than feeling threatened by this new technology, nearly two-thirds (65%) of the HR leaders we spoke with said they see artificial intelligence and robotics having a positive impact on their businesses over the next three to five years.  Across all the major industry sectors surveyed, respondents were optimistic about technology’s ability to reduce costs, improve quality and increase output.

It is easy to assume that these productivity gains are made at the expense of workers.  In reality, this technology actually has increased demand for flexible, mobile workers with skills and agility that machines are not even close to matching.  While 26 percent of those surveyed said their businesses increased the use of automation and robotics in 2016, over 34 percent said they hired extensively over the same period just to keep up with company growth.

In fact, the HR leaders we surveyed indicated that a scarcity of skilled workers was driving employment demands in certain areas–like marketing, sales and IT/technical–where robotics will likely never displace the advantage of human intelligence.  Indeed, well over one-third of respondents anticipate hiring more workers in these areas over the next year.

But workers with the right combination of skills and experience are hard to come by.  Many workers are structuring their work hours in ways that allow them to work many different jobs, across several geographical locations.  As a result, more companies are rethinking their talent management to account for more short-term, offsite workers.  Of the HR leaders we surveyed, more than two-thirds (66%) said they are considering moving toward a talent management model that would more easily integrate contingent workers.  They see the shift toward flexible talent as a sound strategy that can help companies access a larger pool of talent, such as parents with young children and retirees who may not want a traditional 9-to-5 job. 

For some commentators, the investment in automation and contingent employees signals an upheaval in the economy that will not benefit American workers.  But that perspective may be short-sited. In fact, automation and robotics can make U.S. manufacturing more cost-competitive, while increasing the number of high-paying, skilled jobs available for humans.  Instead of 50 foreign workers being paid rock bottom wages to complete a job by hand, the same job will be accomplished by one skilled U.S. worker running a robot and earning a middle-class salary.  This combination of increased automation and a more mobile, contingent workforce can reduce manufacturing costs and make it easier for companies to build their factories in the U.S.  The end result is a better educated, higher paid American workforce.

Change can be difficult. We are witnessing a major shift in the way business does business.  But most HR leaders see technology as providing workers with new opportunities (and also with new priorities). These recent changes in workforce management need not be seen as the catastrophe some suggest.  If Randstad Sourceright’s 2017 Talent Trends Report is any indication, robots are far more likely to benefit American workers than replace them.  

Rebecca Henderson is the CEO of Randstad Sourceright, one of the world’s leading human resources providers.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/02/11/automation-can-revitalize-u-s-workforce.html

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