February 29, 2024

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Robot Unearths Buried Items in the U.S.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) demonstrated a robotic arm that searches for things hidden by radio frequency (RF) marks, which reflect signals from an antenna, using both optical information and RF waves.

They have now developed a new system that can efficiently retrieve any object buried in a pile based on their previous work. If some of the items in the pile have RFID tags, the system does not need to tag the target item to recover it.

The system’s algorithms, known as FuseBot, reason about the likely location and orientation of objects beneath the pile. FuseBot then determines the most efficient method for removing obstructing objects and extracting the target item. FuseBot was able to find more hidden items than a cutting-edge robotics system in half the time.

This speed could be particularly beneficial in an e-commerce warehouse. According to senior author Fadel Adib, associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and director of the Signal Kinetics group in the Media Lab, a robot tasked with processing returns could find items in an unsorted pile more efficiently using the FuseBot system.

More than 90% of U.S. stores already utilise RFID tags, according to recent market analysis, but since the technology is not widespread, only some items inside piles may be tagged. This issue served as the group’s research’s impetus.

With FuseBot, a robotic arm retrieves an untagged target object from a jumbled pile using an attached video camera and RF antenna. To produce a 3D model of the surroundings, the system scans the pile with its camera.

It simultaneously transmits signals to find RFID tags from its antenna. Since most solid objects can be penetrated by these radio waves, the robot can “see” deep inside the pile. FuseBot is aware that the target object cannot be found in the exact same location as an RFID tag because it is not marked.

Since the robot is aware of the target item’s size and shape, algorithms combine this data to update the 3D model of the surroundings and suggest suitable spots for it. The system then uses the pile of things and the positions of the RFID tags to decide which item should be removed to locate the target item quickly.

The robot doesn’t know how the components are arranged underneath the pile or how a flimsy object can be distorted by rubbing against bigger others. By leveraging its knowledge of an object’s size, shape, and the location of its RFID tag to create a model of the 3D space that object is most likely to occupy, it overcomes this difficulty via probabilistic reasoning.

It utilises logic to determine which thing would be “better” to eliminate next as it removes objects. After removing one item, the robot scans the pile once more and adjusts its plan considering the new knowledge.

Compared to the other robotic system’s 84 per cent success rate, FuseBot removed the target object successfully 95 per cent of the time. It was able to identify and collect the targeted goods more than twice as quickly and did it with 40% fewer moves.

The software that does the complicated reasoning for FuseBot may be built on any computer; it only needs to interact with a robotic arm that has a camera and an antenna.

FuseBot will soon feature more intricate models that the researchers hope will improve its performance with deformable things.

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Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

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SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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