Japanese Robot Pepper Coming to United States

SoftBank_pepperJacob Newberger studied mechanical engineering at Pennsylvania State University. An automation validation engineer with Panacea Technologies, Jacob Newberger maintains a strong interest in the domestic robot industry.

The Japanese domestic robot Pepper is set to make its American debut in the near future. During the robot’s initial release in Japan, Pepper was billed as the first robot capable of communicating with and understanding the emotions of humans. The first 1,000 units sold out in Japan less than one minute after hitting the public market.

Developed by SoftBank Mobile and Aldebaran Robotics, Pepper stands just under 4 feet tall and moves on a set of rollers. The design features a set of cameras and sensors that allow Pepper to detect and interpret a variety of human facial expressions. Through a permanent link to cloud storage, Pepper can immediately draw on past experiences and can even learn new skills to aid in its verbal communications with people. Pepper is currently being used by Nescafé and SoftBank in Japan as a professional assistant. Designers plan to adjust the model’s personality to better fit American audiences before Pepper receives an official US release.


National Robotics Week 2015 – A Nationwide Event in April

Engineering professional Jacob Newberger designs and develops automated validation systems for manufacturing facilities at Panacea Technologies in Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania. An automatic validation engineer for the company, Jacob Newberger also maintains an interest in other areas of robotics. Robotics enthusiasts and engineering professionals throughout the country are gearing up for the 2015 National Robotics Week in April.

Established in 2010 to promote advancements in robotic technologies, National Robotics Week consists of a series of robotics events hosted by various individuals, professionals, and organizations affiliated with the robotics field. The Advisory Council that manages the event each year aims to create a collaborative network of groups across the country to host events in all 50 states.

Event hosts typically consist of schools, companies, and other institutions connected to the robotics industry and academia. The council welcomes events of all types for all age groups, including parties, company tours, and robot showcases and demonstrations.

National Robotics Week occurs annually during the second week in April. The 2015 event will take place April 4-12 in participating states. For more information and a full list of currently scheduled events, visit the National Robotics Week website at www.nationalroboticsweek.org.

Jake Newberger: Robotic Trends for 2013

With advances in technology occurring every month, keeping up with robotic trends for 2013 might be a daunting task. Robotic prosthetics, robot-assisted care giving, and industrial robots continue to be burgeoning fields in 2013, according to Illah Nourbakhsh, who is a professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon University.

Robotic prosthetics have the ability to do more than simply assist with walking; they can also be used to help the patient build stronger muscles. In terms of robot-assisted care giving, there are already places in Asia where couples leave their children at home while they go out to dinner, and if there is a problem, the robot alerts the parents. However, Nourbakhsh warns that it may still be too risky to leave children in the care of a robot. In addition, industrial robots may help with productivity, but they also cause unemployment because the robots often do the work cheaper and faster than humans could.

As an automation validation engineer for Panacea Technologies, Inc., Jake Newberger troubleshoots distributed control systems. Prior to working with the Pennsylvania-based company, he interned for Prototype Productions based in Virginia where he helped to design surgical simulators. Jacob Newberger graduated in 2011 from Penn State University, where he majored in mechanical engineering.