Rescue robots get government support


The Korean government has pledged support for the development of rescue robotic technologies by setting a goal of commercialization by 2022. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) said Monday it is reviewing the “public safety robot project” to see if it is viable. The project will focus on developing core technologies related to the rescue robots. Once the project gets the green light, it will support development of various technologies including sensors that operate even in thick smoke, as well as crawler systems.

These technologies will be used in disaster situations such as rescuing people under debris, detecting stranded people in smoke-filled buildings that are on fire, or surveillance of nuclear power plants. Related industries are expected to grow significantly. Citing a study by Homeland Security Search Corporation, the ministry said the world’s disaster rescue industry is expected to double from 372 trillion won ($338 billion) in 2013 to 612 trillion won in 2022. China alone is expected see its market expand from 57 trillion won to 140 trillion won during the same period.

For full article, see Jongang Daily.

Tech developed to make lunar rover capable of operating in extreme environments

A research team at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology showcases a prototype of a lunar rover, which will be used for moon exploration in 2020.
A research team at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology showcases a prototype of a lunar rover, which will be used for moon exploration in 2020.

On Feb. 16, a research team led by Dr. Gang Sung-cheol at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) unveiled a prototype of a lunar rover, which is planned to be on the moon roving by 2020. What is notable is that a lunar rover has been developed with local technology.

The machine is able to carry out its mission in extreme conditions. Since it is designed to control heat easily, it can operate in a huge daily temperature range from 170 degrees below zero to 130 degrees above zero. It can perform its tasks on rough terrain as well.

The most notable characteristic of the newly-developed rover is that it is composed of two bodies. The passive double tracks of ROBHAZ, a robot designed to perform dangerous work, were used. The passive double tracks with two separate bodies connected with chains help the robot operate in a smooth manner, while maintaining its contact with the ground even in rugged terrain. The rover can move steadily up 30 degree slopes and even get over a 5-cm-tall fence. It can move up to 4 cm per second.

For full article, see Business Korea.

Samsung establishes product innovation team

Samsung Electronics has established a team to work on hi-tech innovative business projects, officials said Monday. Its core mission includes projects on virtual reality, robotic telepresence, drones and robots, three-dimensional (3D) printing and unmanned vehicles.”The team will explore how technologies could help people’s daily life for a better future,” an official said.
Samsung mobile chief Shin Jong-kyun will lead the team inside the mobile division.

The team, which has no direct links with the company structure and divisions, will operate independently. “Given the significance of the team, members will have more authority and independence because the main purpose of the team isn’t to develop single devices for any imminent results, but to develop solutions to go with Samsung’s manufacturing capabilities,” the official said.

For full article, see Korea Times.

Korea chose ‘intelligent robots’ as one of 10 most promising next-generation growth industries


Song Se-Kyong, the CEO of Future Robot, introduces the " Furo-S "
Song Se-Kyong, the CEO of Future Robot, introduces the ” Furo-S “

In August 2003, the South Korean government chose ‘intelligent robots’ as one of the top 10 most promising, next-generation growth industries that were expected to help raise the national per capital income to USD 20,000. Ten years have passed since then and over the past decade, several industries on the top 10 most-promising list, such as displays, semiconductors, and next-generation batteries, have become among the world’s best. However, the intelligent robot industry is still wrestling with a tough task of creating private markets that continue to expand.

As South Korea’s slow-growing robotics market has been led by a small-sized venture firm which was created just four years ago, that firm has been thrown into the spotlight. The market leader is Future Robot, developer of newly launched advertising robot Furo-D. Future Robot has been on a roll in the domestic market, as well as such overseas markets as Japan, China, Brazil, Singapore, and Russia. Against this backdrop, Korea IT Times sat down with Song Se-Kyong, CEO of Future Robot, a company that aspires to be a “future-oriented business,” to learn about this small but strong robot maker.

FOr full article, see Korea IT Times.

Posco and Samsung open innovation centers in North Gyeongsang province

President Park Geun-hye gets a close-up look at a robot that cleans pipes at the creative economy innovation center in Pohang, North Gyeongsang. [NEWSIS]

The Park Geun-hye government’s creative economy initiative received its biggest boost thus far on Wednesday with the opening of innovation centers in Gumi and Pohang in North Gyeongsang. That brings the number of innovation centers nationwide to five, designed to assist start-ups and support regional economies.

The Pohang center in particular received a lot of attention for being independently established by Korea’s largest steelmaker, Posco. It is the first innovation center established and run by the private sector. Samsung Group, which established an innovation center in Daegu in September, opened another one in Gumi to help nearby electronics manufacturers and suppliers enhance production efficiency by implementing smart systems in their factories.

Park and Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy Choi Kyung-hwan attended the opening ceremonies for both centers on Wednesday. “Regional economies have prospered mainly around industrial complexes for the past 40 years, but those areas nowadays have struggled with deteriorating production facilities and low technological competitiveness,” Park said at the ceremony. “The two new innovation centers will certainly revitalize these places by helping traditional manufacturers roll out new products inspired by technologies like the Internet of Things, big data and 3-D printing.”

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

Robot scientist pushes limits of virtual reality

2014_01_mahruEight years ago, You developed the world’s first network-based humanoid called Mahru, whose latest version, unveiled in 2010, can recognize items and tasks such as house cleaning, operating a microwave and performing other household chores. You, 50, has been leading the research to push the boundaries of virtual reality, focusing on technologies that enable people to interact without space or time constraints.

More than 200 researchers from KIST, the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, KAIST, GIST, Hanyang University and Sangmyung University are taking part in the nine-year project. “The purpose of our research is to enable people to experience virtual and remote worlds as if they were the real world,” the director of the Center of Human-Centered Interaction for Coexistence told The Korea Herald in a recent interview.

You and his colleagues are now working on a three-dimensional teleconferencing system. Part of the research is to create a “coexistence space” where people can not only see and talk to each other, but also touch and feel, he explained.

For full article, see Korea Herald.

KIOST successfully conducts running tests of ‘MineRo’, deep seafloor mineral mining robot

2013_08_robotThe Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said that it successfully conducted the pre-planned route tracing test of the manganese nodule mining robot, ‘MineRo’ (weight: 28 tons), on the seafloor as deep as 1,370 meters in the seas 130km east-southeastward away from Pohang. The tracing test was conducted for 8 days from July 19 to 26.

Since it received in 2002 a right to exclusively explore a mine lot (in area of 75,000km²) in the Clarion-Clipperton waters 2,000km southeastward from Hawaii from the International Seabed Authority (ISA), the government has been developing technologies for exploring and commercially developing manganese nodules on the 5,000 meter-deep seafloor.

The running tests of the mining robot, MineRo, on the deep seafloor was conducted in two ways; seafloor running test to see whether it can move along desired circulation and the test of deep sea navigation and route tracing to verify whether the robot can be remotely controlled on board a ship.

In seafloor running tests, the MineRo robot successfully completed verification test by moving along desired circulation under adverse conditions of the deep seafloor with indented and flimsy ground, while keeping running performances, such as direction control, straight driving and turning around.

For full article, see Korea Energy.

Korean Government to Invest KRW 180 Billion in Robot Industry

The South Korean government will this year invest KRW 180 billion in the development of intelligent robots and robot promotion projects aimed for new market creation.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) held the first Robot Industry Policy Council meeting in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi-do Province, and decided to invest in the development of intelligent robots and robot promotion projects.

The Korean government plans to invest KRW 108.5 billion in developing fundamental technologies and convergence-based products, KRW 19.5 billion in efforts to expand the robot market, KRW 35.2 billion in building up industrial infrastructures, KRW 19 billion in robot promotion projects aimed to create new markets, and KRW 120 million in setting up a nationwide cooperation structure this year.

A variety of inter-ministerial pilot projects will be conducted to expand robot projects that can create new markets – for example, robots that automatically detect fine cracks in egg shells, rescue robots that can be used to save drowning people, firefighting robots and autonomous flying robots.

Source: Korea IT Times.

Daewoo Shipbuilding develops wearable robot

2013_04_robotKo Jae-ho, president of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, the world’s second largest shipbuilder, showed up on April 1 with an Iron Man suit in a demonstration session for its wearable robot at the headquarters building in Seoul’s downtown. On the day, DSME’s central R&D center made a debut of two types of robots, one electrical and the other hydraulic. The robots can be worn like clothes and help with moves such as arm stretching and walking by detecting human intentions with the sensors.

A DSME official said, “Even when a worker wearing the robot lifts an object weighing 30 kilograms, he will feel only 5 kg of the weight. The robots will be deployed in building offshore plants to move heavy pipes or tightening bolts with a 12-kg wrench.”

The company expects that the use of the wearable robots could enhance labor productivity substantially as there are many tasks in shipbuilding that involve heavy lifting and repetitive muscle work. The robots were developed jointly by Hanyang University, the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology, and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.

For full article, see Korea Economic Daily.

Korean government to invest US$316mn in robot industry

The South Korean government plans to invest 350 billion won ($316 million) over the next decade to expand the country’s robot industry by more than 10 times, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE) said Wednesday.

With the investment, the government will develop various technologies and new industrial, as well as commercial robots, such as disaster relief robots and home assistance robots.

The government expects there will be a big bang in the robot market, as robots will be integrated into all kinds of industries, raising the demand for robots to address issues of aging, safety, labor shortage and resource shortages, the ministry said.

For full article see Maeil Business.