Skip to main content
April 4, 2018

Meet the Robots—New Approaches and New Skills for Automation

Robots have been in use in industry for decades, but they’ve gotten radically more intelligent and useful over the past 10 years, mostly due to rapid advances in software and computing power. And the real progress is just getting rolling.

Unless John Connor comes back from the future to stop them, robots are expected to play an ever-increasing role in the Augmented Age we live in, handling common tasks and expanding human capabilities at work, at home, and on the roads in between.

These short presentations from AU 2017 give us a glimpse of what’s ahead in robotics and how the breakthroughs are happening.

Intuitive Robotics You shouldn’t have to know how to write code to train a robot. Nick Cote of Autodesk explains how he and his team at Pier 9 are making the process of interacting with robots easy and intuitive—even instinctual. (video: 11:25 min.)


Automation for Infrastructure Construction has been behind the curve when it comes to adopting automation, but buckle up. Transformation Director of UK-based Kier Utilities Michael Cook shares how autonomous robots will soon be able to repair underground infrastructure before it breaks, reducing lost productivity and GDP in a major way. (video: 12:39 min.)

“To talk about robots, you must remember that we are human beings.”
Michael Cook, Transformation Director, Kier Utilities


Visual Programming for Robots Discover what’s possible once programming robots becomes a matter of drag and click. From patterned masonry to shelters for the surface of Mars to 3D-printed cocktails, get the inside scoop on the state and future state of automation from Johannes Braumann, co-founder of Robots in Architecture. (video: 17:55 min.)


Robotics Learning at AU online Tune your automation skills with these AU 2017 classes:

Talking with Robots About Architecture - Jeffery McGrewLearn how architects, engineers, and builders are using automation today—and learn what’s possible in the near future. Jeffery McGrew, co-founder of design-build studio Because We Can, combines robotics and architecture in innovative ways. He shares his experience and the skills you need to apply robotics to your own work. (video: 1:03 hr.) Don't have time for the full video? Read McGrew's strategies for survivingand thrivingwith automation.

Robots as Design Interfaces—Toward New Processes Beyond Mass Production - Johannes BraumannExpanding on his Theater presentation (above), Johannes Braumann showcases how parametric design tools enable you to use robotics for mass customization and small manufacturing runs. (video: 57:26 min.)

CNC Machine Automation with Robots - Laurens WijnschenkEven after you automate your CNC machine and optimize your process, there’s more to learn and deeper benefits to gain. Identify your needs, design a modular system, and learn from the mistakes of seasoned CAM developer Laurens Wijnschenk. (video: 47:18 min.)