>>> Robotic glove that 'feels' lends a 'hand' to relearn playing piano after a stroke
June 30, 2023
Florida Atlantic University
A new soft robotic glove is lending a 'hand' and providing hope to piano players who have suffered a disabling stroke or other neurotrauma. Combining flexible tactile sensors, soft actuators and AI, this robotic glove is the first to 'feel' the difference between correct and incorrect versions of the same song and to combine these features into a single hand exoskeleton. Unlike prior exoskeletons, this new technology provides precise force and guidance in recovering the fine finger movements required for piano playing and other complex tasks.
For people who have suffered neurotrauma such as a stroke, everyday tasks can be extremely challenging because of decreased coordination and strength in one or both upper limbs. These problems have spurred the development of robotic devices to help enhance their abilities. However, the rigid nature of these assistive devices can be problematic, especially for more complex tasks like playing a musical instrument.
A first-of-its-kind robotic glove is lending a "hand" and providing hope to piano players who have suffered a disabling stroke. Developed by researchers from Florida Atlantic University's College of Engineering and Computer Science, the soft robotic hand exoskeleton uses artificial intelligence to improve hand dexterity.
"Playing the piano requires complex and highly skilled movements, and relearning tasks involves the restoration and retraining of specific movements or skills," said Erik Engeberg, Ph.D., senior author, a professor in FAU's Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering within the College of Engineering and Computer Science, and a member of the FAU Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences and the FAU Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute. "Our robotic glove is composed of soft, flexible materials and sensors that provide gentle support and assistance to individuals to relearn and regain their motor abilities."
Researchers integrated special sensor arrays into each fingertip of the robotic glove. Unlike prior exoskeletons, this new technology provides precise force and guidance in recovering the fine finger movements required for piano playing. By monitoring and responding to users' movements, the robotic glove offers real-time feedback and adjustments, making it easier for them to grasp the correct movement techniques.
To demonstrate the robotic glove's capabilities, researchers programmed it to feel the difference between correct and incorrect versions of the well-known tune, "Mary Had a Little Lamb," played on the piano. To introduce variations in the performance, they created a pool of 12 different types of errors that could occur at the beginning or end of a note, or due to timing errors that were either premature or delayed, and that persisted for 0.1, 0.2 or 0.3 seconds. Ten different song variations consisted of three groups of three variations each, plus the correct song played with no errors.
To classify the song variations, Random Forest (RF), K-Nearest Neighbor (KNN) and Artificial Neural Network (ANN) algorithms were trained with data from the tactile sensors in the fingertips. Feeling the differences between correct and incorrect versions of the song was done with the robotic glove independently and while worn by a person. The accuracy of these algorithms was compared to classify the correct and incorrect song variations with and without the human subject.
Results of the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Robotics and AI, demonstrated that the ANN algorithm had the highest classification accuracy of 97.13 percent with the human subject and 94.60 percent without the human subject. The algorithm successfully determined the percentage error of a certain song as well as identified key presses that were out of time. These findings highlight the potential of the smart robotic glove to aid individuals who are disabled to relearn dexterous tasks like playing musical instruments.
Researchers designed the robotic glove using 3D printed polyvinyl acid stents and hydrogel casting to integrate five actuators into a single wearable device that conforms to the user's hand. The fabrication process is new, and the form factor could be customized to the unique anatomy of individual patients with the use of 3D scanning technology or CT scans.
"Our design is significantly simpler than most designs as all the actuators and sensors are combined into a single molding process," said Engeberg. "Importantly, although this study's application was for playing a song, the approach could be applied to myriad tasks of daily life and the device could facilitate intricate rehabilitation programs customized for each patient."
Clinicians could use the data to develop personalized action plans to pinpoint patient weaknesses, which may present themselves as sections of the song that are consistently played erroneously and can be used to determine which motor functions require improvement. As patients progress, more challenging songs could be prescribed by the rehabilitation team in a game-like progression to provide a customizable path to improvement.
"The technology developed by professor Engeberg and the research team is truly a gamechanger for individuals with neuromuscular disorders and reduced limb functionality," said Stella Batalama, Ph.D., dean of the FAU College of Engineering and Computer Science. "Although other soft robotic actuators have been used to play the piano; our robotic glove is the only one that has demonstrated the capability to 'feel' the difference between correct and incorrect versions of the same song."
Study co-authors are Maohua Lin, first author and a Ph.D. student; Rudy Paul, a graduate student; and Moaed Abd, Ph.D., a recent graduate; all from the FAU College of Engineering and Computer Science; James Jones, Boise State University; Darryl Dieujuste, a graduate research assistant, FAU College of Engineering and Computer Science; and Harvey Chim, M.D., a professor in the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Florida.
This research was supported by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Institute of Aging of the NIH and the National Science Foundation. This research was supported in part by a seed grant from the FAU College of Engineering and Computer Science and the FAU Institute for Sensing and Embedded Network Systems Engineering (I-SENSE).
>>> The real-life version of 'Terminator': This tiny shapeshifting robot "melts" to escape cages
by Camille Fine
January 29, 2023
Although magnetically controlled soft robots have been around, this oozing version may invoke new feelings of terror, with AI-dystopian characteristics that would be a hallmark of any movie involving the end of humankind.
Scientists say the Lego-shaped robot can “melt” from solid to liquid and reform itself to squeeze in and out of tight spaces, perform tasks like soldering a circuit board and even escape cages.
In a new study published January 25 in the journal Matter, scientists showed the incredible strength of this phase-shifting property, which can be controlled remotely with a magnetic field. It’s made from a mixture of magnetic materials including neodymium, iron, and boron, and the liquid metal gallium.
Researchers took inspiration from nature. A graphic in the article depicts sea cucumbers, for instance, which can rapidly and reversibly change its stiffness.
Most existing materials for these robots are able to enter delicate spaces like the human body because they are stretchy — but, because they are also solid, unable to pass through the narrowest of spaces.
Additionally, magnetic liquids are fluid but unable to carry heavy objects — unlike this robot which can make itself sturdier and stronger when under pressure or when carrying something heavier than itself, the study said. A solid robot, about 50 milligrams (or less than an ounce), is able to carry about 30 times its own weight.
>>> Robobees Are Back — This Time In The Image Of A “Fairy” That “Could Help Save The Planet”
FEBRUARY 1, 2023
By Amanda Warren
Longtime readers might remember when we first covered the Robobee concept back in 2014. Robot insect research dates back much further in military circles where they’ve been designed for search and rescue, hazardous exploration, surveillance, climate mapping, and traffic monitoring – to name a few.
Greenpeace wound up creating a fictionalized video like something from Black Mirror that postulated what the world could look like if these “superior” creations were unleashed to fulfill their singular mission as autonomous pollinators.
The real Robobee wasn’t nearly as sophisticated — nor would it ever be mistaken for the real thing — but it was hailed as a marvel of engineering nonetheless.
The main goal for the Robobee has remained lofty ever since – to solve the problem of bee-colony collapse, which legitimately would put our ability to feed ourselves at grave risk, by introducing autonomous swarms of robot pollinators. Pesticide use is well documented to negatively impact bees in a variety of ways, but the researchers oddly highlight global warming as the main issue, which remains highly debatable.
Whereas the original Robobee concept relied purely on solar power, new research is focusing on harnessing the power of both wind and light (even laser and LED) with a “fairy” robotic pollinator that was also inspired by dandelion seeds.
It’s no Tinkerbell, but it might be the closest we’ll get to seeing a real-life fairy. A team of engineers is developing a small fairy-like robot that moves with the power of wind and is controllable using light. Researchers in Finland say these dandelion-inspired smart robots could help save the environment, taking over for pollinators (like bees) who are disappearing from nature.
“Superior to its natural counterparts, this artificial seed is equipped with a soft actuator. The actuator is made of light-responsive liquid crystalline elastomer, which induces opening or closing actions of the bristles upon visible light excitation,” says Hao Zeng, an academy research fellow and the leader of the Light Robots group at Tampere University, in a media release.
Past work using stimuli-responsive polymers has created soft-bodied robots that can walk, swim, and jump. Until now, however, no one has been successful in making these types of robots fly. The fairy-like robot contains several features that make it capable of flying. It has a large number of empty spaces that supports a lightweight structure. It also easily floats through the air when the wind hits it. Additionally, the robot has a stable separated vortex ring that allows for long-distance wind-assisted traveling.
“The fairy can be powered and controlled by a light source, such as a laser beam or LED,” Zeng says.
Shining light on the robot can help modify the shape of its dandelion seed-like structure. The robot manually adapts to wind direction and force changes by altering its shape. A light beam also helps to control when it is ready to launch and land.
Could this robot do the job of bees?
The fairy isn’t just for show and tell; they could help pollinate our environment. With some more tweaking, the engineering team has hopes that the dandelion-shaped robot could use sunlight rather than a single light beam to operate. If so, it could potentially carry micro-electronic devices like GPS and sensors on its journey.
“It sounds like science fiction, but the proof-of-concept experiments included in our research show that the robot we have developed provides an important step towards realistic applications suitable for artificial pollination,” adds Zeng.
With more fairy robots floating on the wind, scientists could use millions of artificial dandelion seeds to carry pollen. The sunlight could help steer the fairies toward specific areas with trees and flowers waiting for pollination.
“This would have a huge impact on agriculture globally since the loss of pollinators due to global warming has become a serious threat to biodiversity and food production,” Zeng concludes.
Another improvement Zeng and the team are trying to make is controlling the precision of how fairies land on plants and trees. Additionally, to make the robot eco-friendly, they hope to make them biodegradable and recyclable.
The study is published in the journal Advanced Science.
>>> MIT engineers design self-replicating robots capable of assembling giant structures
Researchers advance efforts to create groups of robots that could construct almost anything.
Nov 29, 2022
When it comes to the manufacturing of commercial aircraft, different parts are manufactured at various locations.
Before finally bringing them all together in a central plant and putting the finished aeroplane together, the tail components, the fuselage, and the wings are made at different plants.
Many other large structures, besides aircraft, are also built in sections. But what if instead of sections, the entire assembly could take place in one go using a team of small robots?
A doctorate student, Amira Abdel-Rahman, and Neil Gershenfeld, professor and director of MIT Center of Bits and Atoms (CBA), are envisioning precisely this in their doctoral thesis work which was recently published in Nature.
Self-building robots formed of superior voxels
The new research provides a step forward towards building robots that can basically make anything. It builds on years of research that employed small, identical lightweight components, including the assembly of a functioning race car and a malleable aeroplane wing.
The MIT team have successfully produced prototype robots capable of assembling small structures which connect to build whole vehicles and buildings- and even bigger robots.
They can transport data and power from one unit to another
Like earlier experiments, the team's approach uses voxels (the volumetric equivalent of a 2-D pixel), which are a collection of tiny identical subunits that create big, useable structures.
However, in this case, the voxels employed are more complex than earlier ones in that each of them can transport data and power from one unit to another. Previously, voxels were only mechanical structural components.
“When we’re building these structures, you have to build in intelligence,” Gershenfeld said in an MIT article.
Additionally, older versions involved bots that were connected through wire bundles and control systems. The new system is more efficient as voxels ensure there is a single structure — no bundles of wires or power sources.
The voxels join end-to-end to constitute the robots, and they can use their attachment points to grab another voxel and move it into its desired position. When the voxel is attached to the structure, it is released in that position.
When the structure size becomes large enough, the robots can make bigger robots in order to be efficient and reduce travel time across distances.
Algorithms handle the robots’ decision-making
One of the main focuses among researchers is to create algorithms that handle the robots’ decision-making as to when to build the structure, when to build more robots, and when to build larger ones.
According to Gershenfeld, an automatic robot assembly system that is capable of assembling massive structures and self-replicating will still take years to set up. However, this new work is a huge step towards achieving that goal.
Ultimately, this technology can be used to make large airplanes, factories, automobiles, etc., in a single go. Robotic workforces can quickly scale the materials and personnel needed to assemble the desired structures making the entire process that much more time and labor efficient.
You can compare this robotic system that assembles big structures like that to a kid making a large castle using LEGO blocks. The work has attracted significant interest from potential users like NASA, who the researchers are now collaborated with. Additionally, Airbus SE, a Europe-based aerospace firm, is sponsoring the study.
Cognex - >>> This High-Growth Stock Just Told Us Its Future Is Even Brighter
By Lee Samaha
Sep 29, 2022
All of its key end markets are suffering this year.
The growth company is establishing relationships with the leading companies in its end markets.
Management recently upgraded its served market estimate.
This machine vision company just upgraded its near-term revenue expectations.
It's been a brutal year for shareholders in machine vision company Cognex (CGNX -2.39%). The stock is down nearly 45% this year as the company's main end markets (automotive, consumer electronics, and logistics) have suffered in line with ongoing supply chain challenges and slowing consumer spending. If that wasn't enough, a fire at a primary contractor damaged Cognex's inventory of components; the last thing needed in the current environment of component shortages. That said, some recent developments help point to many of the reasons why the stock remains attractive for long-term growth-oriented investors.
Cognex upgrades expectations
Cognex's machine vision solutions replace the human eye in automating manufacturing and distribution processes. Examples include fitting screens on mobile phones or logistics in e-commerce warehousing. There are two reasons to feel more positive about Cognex stock, and they both speak to the long-term case for the stock. The first is management's recent upgrade to revenue expectations for its third quarter. Back in the second-quarter earnings report management gave disappointing guidance of revenue of $160 million to $180 million for the third quarter. Management put that down to "the June fire at the company's primary contract manufacturing site and lower expected revenue from e-commerce logistics."
Fast forward to the recent update, and management upgraded guidance to revenue of $195 million to $205 million. Management put the guidance increase down to its ability to deliver on customer orders "sooner than anticipated due to strong progress in replenishing component inventory destroyed in the previously disclosed fire."
Why it's good news
It highlights that the company's component shortage problems are likely to ease and speaks to its commitment to its customers. The latter is a crucial factor in a growth company's development. As a growth company trying to encourage the adoption of its machine vision technology in new markets (more on that in a moment), it makes sense to establish relationships with industry leaders, and it also makes sense to service those customers well.
There's evidence Cognex is doing both of those things. For example, its most significant consumer electronics customer is Apple, while its largest logistics customer (although undisclosed) is possibly Amazon. Establishing relationships with such companies will surely encourage the adoption of its technology among second- and third-tier players.
Furthermore, Cognex has long been proactive in servicing key customers. In 2014, management significantly increased expenses to service its large orders with Apple. That business approach was echoed in 2021. When component shortages started to bite, management prioritized delivery of chips. According to CEO Rob Willet on the fourth quarter conference call, prioritizing delivery to customers "added incremental costs in 2021, due to the significant premiums we've paid to procure components through brokers, and for expedited freight".
Upgrade to served market estimate
Second, Cognex recently upgraded its estimate for its served market to $6.2 billion from a previous estimate (given in 2019) of $4.2 billion. The new estimate breaks out its market in terms of its three key end markets, with logistics (essentially machine vision for use in e-commerce warehousing) now being its largest end market at $2 billion, automotive (Cognex's traditional end market) representing $1.5 billion, and consumer electronics adding $1.35 billion. The medical-related end market is $650 million, and "others" makes up $1 billion.
Interestingly, logistics is now, by far, Cognex's largest served market -- a significant improvement from being a distant third a few years ago. Similarly, the "others" end market is almost as large as Cognex's consumer electronics market -- suggesting there's plenty of growth potential from the adoption of machine vision in new markets.
Management estimates its current market share is only around 15%, giving it ample room to grow by taking market share and participating in end market growth of 13% over the long term. Overall, management expects to grow at a 15% rate over the long term.
CGNX EV to EBITDA Chart
DATA BY YCHARTS
What it all means to investors
While there's no guarantee that Cognex will grow at 15% over the long term -- a figure in line with the mid-teens annual revenue growth achieved over the last decade -- , the upgrade to third-quarter estimates demonstrates how lumpy the company's earnings growth can be. All it will take is automotive companies expanding electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing lines, e-commerce warehousing companies developing facilities, or consumer electronics companies introducing new product lines, and Cognex could see a few large orders. These are some factors in the thinking behind the estimate of long-term growth of 15%. Cognex now trades on a multi-year valuation low (see chart above), and despite the bad news this year, it remains an attractive growth stock option.
>>> Amazon is buying robot vacuum company iRobot for $1.7 billion
by Sabrina Ortiz
Aug. 5, 2022
Amazon is buying robot vacuum cleaner company iRobot in a deal valued at approximately $1.7 billion.
iRobot is best known for the Roomba, the autonomous vacuum cleaner that finds its way around household obstacles to vacuum floors completely on its own. It also makes robot mop devices, too.
Colin Angle, CEO of iRobot, says Amazon was the perfect fit for the company. "Amazon shares our passion for building thoughtful innovations that empower people to do more at home, and I cannot think of a better place for our team to continue our mission. I'm hugely excited to be a part of Amazon and to see what we can build together for customers in the years ahead," he said. He will remain as CEO once the transaction is completed.
Dave Limp, SVP of Amazon Devices, said that Amazon recognizes how much iRobot has done to make people's lives easier.
"Over many years, the iRobot team has proven its ability to reinvent how people clean with products that are incredibly practical and inventive—from cleaning when and where customers want while avoiding common obstacles in the home, to automatically emptying the collection bin," said Limp in the release. "Customers love iRobot products—and I'm excited to work with the iRobot team to invent in ways that make customers' lives easier and more enjoyable."
iRobot far from the first company Amazon has acquired to expand its smart home portfolio. In the last five years, Amazon acquired Blink Home, the security camera company, for an undisclosed amount and Ring, the camera doorbell company, for approximately one billion dollars. These acquisitions allowed the company to add security devices to its smart home ecosystem.
Amazon has been a leader in the smart home space with their Alexa Smart home technology, which allows you to control everything from lighting to security to televisions and thermostats with the sound of your voice.
iRobot and Amazon already had established a relationship when they partnered to make the Roomba and Braava jet robots compatible with Alexa in 2021. This partnership allowed customers to use voice commands to tell the robots to start or stop cleaning and to go back to its home base.
Meanwhile iRobot reported revenues of $455.4 million and a net loss of $31.5 million due to supply chain constraints in the fourth quarter of FY 2021. The company also said that it sold its 40 millionth robot during the final quarter of 2021.
Optimus robot - >>> Tesla CEO Elon Musk: 'People do not realize the magnitude of the Optimus robot program'
by Brian Sozzi
April 21, 2022
Elon Musk is clearly bullish on Tesla (TSLA), the potential of Twitter (TWTR), and the Optimus robot.
"I was surprised that people do not realize the magnitude of the Optimus robot program," the Tesla CEO said on the company's earnings call late Wednesday. "The importance of Optimus will become apparent in the coming years. Those who are insightful or who listen carefully will understand that Optimus ultimately will be worth more than the car business and worth more than full self-driving, that’s my firm belief."
Tesla first revealed the Optimus robot — also known as Tesla Bot — at an artificial intelligence-focused event in August 2021. The robot, 5-foot 8 inches and 125 pounds, is designed to perform repetitive or mundane tasks that humans hate (or can't be hired to do in a tight labor market).
Wall Street analysts generally don't believe Optimus will be a financial needle mover in the medium-term given they aren't being produced at scale.
"I would say no, but time will tell," Wells Fargo auto analyst Colin Langan told Yahoo Finance when asked about the robot impact. "He has proven the markets wrong before."
In theory, the Optimus program has potential to help Tesla lower operating costs in its facilities —it's just a matter if Musk can make enough robots.
In the meantime, what the Street is believing on Tesla is that could be on its way to another strong year of making electric vehicles profitably.
Shares of Tesla rose 7% in pre-market trading as Tesla pummeled Wall Street estimates for sales, margins, and earnings. The stock was the number one trending ticker on the Yahoo Finance platform.
Here's how Tesla performed versus Street estimates:
Revenue: $18.8 billion versus $17.9 billion expected
Adjusted earnings per share: $3.22 versus $2.27 expected
Musk noted that despite COVID-19 related shutdowns at its key Shanghai manufacturing plant recently, Tesla production has come back with a "vengeance." He added that will aid in Tesla potentially delivering 60% more cars this year compared to 2021, ahead of many analyst estimates.
"Taking a step back, with the supply chain issues still a lingering overhang on the auto space and logistical issues globally, we believe these 'Cinderella-like' delivery numbers in a brutal supply chain backdrop speaks to an EV demand trajectory that looks quite robust for Tesla heading into the rest of 2022," Wedbush Managing Director Dan Ives said.
Ives has a $1,400 price target on the stock. At current levels, Ives' price target assumes 33% upside over the next 12-months.
>>> Knightscope IPO taking security robots public
The Robot Report
By Brianna Wessling |
December 6, 2021
Knightscope’s security robots can be used in a variety of facilities.
Knightscope, a Mountain View, Calif.-based developer of autonomous security robots, is going public on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol “KSCP.” Knightscope will be offering $40 million of Class A common stock at $10 per share.
Knightscope plans to use the proceeds from the initial public offering (IPO) to continue to scale its fleet of security robots and to invest in new technologies. The company has a line of four security robots, ranging from a stationary robot to an all-terrain one.
“On this important day, I wish to take a moment to thank the absolutely relentless team at Knightscope and our 28,000+ investors for their unwavering support,” said Knightscope chairman and CEO William Santana Li. “We are committed more than ever to our mission of making the United States of America the safest country in the world. We need to provide the brave women and men in uniform, on our own soil, cutting edge technology to help them make smarter, faster and safer decisions. They deserve only the best and so does every community in our great nation, as we work to reimagine public safety, together.”
Knightscope was founded in 2013 and has raised more than $75 million in funding. In 2020, the company gained its first federal purchase order through a General Services Administration (GSA) contract.
The company offers its robots for sale using a robots-as-a-service (RaaS) business model. RaaS is a capital expense heavy business model as the RaaS-provider (KnightScope) doesn’t sell the physical equipment to its customers, it only offers the robots in a subscription model. Thus the robots remain on the books for Knightscope throughout their useful lifetime.
Knightscope first announced its plans to go public at its shareholders meeting in September 2021. There, the company also announced it would be prioritizing its 28,000-plus investors first, allowing them to purchase stock before the rest of the public. You can watch a video of that meeting below.
According to an SEC filing, Knightscope’s revenue for the six months ended June 30, 2021 increased by $141,000 (9%) to $1.8 million. Revenue for the six months ended June 30, 2020 was $1.6 million.
Knightscope’s shares were listed for sale immediately following the closing of the NASDAQ on December 1, 2021.
In April 2020, Knightscope announced new software features that would help to encourage social distancing at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The software enables Knightscope robots to identify tight groupings of people and then play warning messages.
>>> Best AI ETFs for Q1 2022
ROBO, ROBT, and KOMP are the best AI ETFs for Q1 2022
By NATHAN REIFF
December 21, 2021
Artificial intelligence (AI) exchange-traded funds (ETFs) seek to provide exposure to a fast-growing segment of the technology industry. AI aims to simulate human intelligence, leveraging powerful algorithms to make machines think and act like human beings. Though the automation of repetitive tasks and substitution of human labor by machines is nothing new, AI is accelerating this trend, resulting in giant leaps in productivity.
For investors who are optimistic about AI’s growth potential but unsure about which companies will perform best, an AI ETF is an option. AI ETFs hold a basket of stocks in companies that are engaged in some aspect of AI, enabling investors to share in the growth of AI companies’ profits without the challenge of trying to separate the winners from the losers.
The artificial intelligence (AI) sector, as represented by the technology sector, outperformed the broader market over the past year.
The AI exchange-traded funds (ETFs) with the best one-year trailing total returns are ROBO, ROBT, and KOMP.
The top holdings of these ETFs are iRhythm Technologies Inc., Ambarella Inc., and Bruker Corp., respectively.
A special note: Some ETFs that use AI as a tool for picking stocks are also sometimes referred to as AI ETFs. But this story focuses on ETFs targeting companies that use AI for other industries, such as robotics, automation, healthcare, and automobiles.
There are six distinct AI ETFs that trade in the United States, excluding inverse and leveraged funds as well as those with less than $50 million in assets under management (AUM). The AI sector does not have its own benchmark, but its performance is best reflected in the index for the technology sector: the S&P 500 Information Technology sector index.
The information technology (IT) index has outperformed the broader market with a total return of 38.8% over the past 12 months, above the S&P 500’s total return of 28.9%, as of Dec. 9, 2021.1 The best-performing AI ETF, based on performance over the past year, is the ROBO Global Robotics and Automation Index ETF (ROBO).
We examine the three best AI ETFs below. All data in the lists below is as of Dec. 9, 2021.2
ROBO Global Robotics & Automation Index ETF (ROBO)
Performance Over One-Year: 19.4%
Expense Ratio: 0.95%
Annual Dividend Yield: 0.17%
Three-Month Average Daily Volume: 89,414
Assets Under Management: $2.0 billion
Inception Date: Oct. 22, 2013
Issuer: Exchange Traded Concepts
ROBO seeks to track the ROBO Global Robotics & Automation Index, which gauges the performance of companies engaged in robotics, automation, and AI.3 The ETF provides exposure to companies developing intelligent systems technology capable of sensing, processing, and acting, as well as to companies that apply that technology.4
The ETF follows a blended strategy of investing in a mix of value and growth stocks. It is diversified across a range of market capitalizations and developed markets.
The fund's top three holdings are iRhythm Technologies Inc. (IRTC), a digital healthcare company; Azenta Inc. (AZTA), a provider of automation, vacuum, and instrumentation equipment; and Teradyne Inc. (TER), an automatic test equipment designer and manufacturer.5
First Trust Nasdaq Artificial Intelligence and Robotics ETF (ROBT)
Performance Over One-Year: 14.8%
Expense Ratio: 0.65%
Annual Dividend Yield: 0.15%
Three-Month Average Daily Volume: 20,446
Assets Under Management: $294.6 million
Inception Date: Feb. 21, 2018
Issuer: First Trust
ROBT tracks the Nasdaq CTA Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Index, an index composed of companies engaged in the AI and robotics segments of the technology, industrial and other economic sectors. Companies must be classified as AI or robotics engagers, enablers, or enhancers by the Consumer Technology Association to be included, and must meet market capitalization, free float, and trading volume minimums.
The fund’s portfolio is broadly diversified geographically, with U.S. stocks accounting for the largest portion at just under 50%. Japan has the next largest portion of invested assets, followed by the United Kingdom, France, and several other countries.6
The top holdings of ROBT include Ambarella Inc. (AMBA), a fabless semiconductor design company; PKSHA Technology Inc. (3993:TKS), a Japan-based algorithmic license business; and Ciena Corp. (CIEN), a telecommunications networking equipment and software services supplier.7
SPDR S&P Kensho New Economies Composite ETF (KOMP)
Performance Over One-Year: 14.0%
Expense Ratio: 0.20%
Annual Dividend Yield: 1.03%
Three-Month Average Daily Volume: 115,588
Assets Under Management: $2.1 billion
Inception Date: Oct. 22, 2018
Issuer: State Street
KOMP is a multi-cap, blended fund tracking the S&P Kensho New Economies Composite Index. The index is composed of companies that leverage advancements in exponential processing power, AI, robotics, and automation.
The fund holds stocks domiciled in both developed and emerging markets. Semiconductor, application software, and aerospace and defense stocks make up the three largest portions of the portfolio.8
The top holdings of KOMP include Bruker Corp. (BRKR), a maker of scientific instruments for molecular and materials research; Teledyne Technologies Inc. (TDY), a maker of aerospace and defense electronics, digital imaging, and related solutions; and Avis Budget Group Inc. (CAR), a parent company of rental car businesses.9
UiPath (PATH) - >>> 3 Artificial Intelligence Stocks Leading the New Wave
December 6, 2021
Let’s start off with UiPath, an AI company specializing in robotic process automation, or RPA. This is a clever hill in the larger AI field, using machine learning and AI to create bots – the automated software units that can handle the ordinary, boring, and repetitive tasks of the digital world. Or, as the company puts it, they’re robots so that people don’t have to be robots.
UiPath’s software robots offer customers a wide range of advantages, from accuracy to cost savings, to regulatory compliance to happier customers – and happier personnel, with improved productivity. While bots get a lot of negative press, especially for their abusive use in social media, when used constructively, they fill an important role.
The company has been in operation since 2005, but went public earlier this year, riding the tide of rising stock prices when it held its IPO. The stock opened on the NYSE on April 21, in an upsized IPO. The company put 13 million shares up, and existing shareholders sold another 14.474 million shares. The initial price was set at $56, above the $43 to $50 range expected. UiPath realized $728 million of the total $1.34 billion raised; the company did not profit from the sale by existing stockholders. Since the event, PATH shares have slipped 36%. Even so, the company has a market cap above $22.76 billion.
UiPath will report its third quarterly results as a public entity on December 8, but we can check back to the last quarter, the company’s fiscal 2Q22 report from September 7, to get an idea of where it stands. The company reported total revenue of $195.5 million, up 4.8% sequentially and 40% yoy. Annual recurring revenue, a measure of forward business potential, rose to $726.5 million, a gain of 60%, and the company finished its fiscal Q2 with $1.9 billion in liquid assets.
This company’s strong product and clear revenue potential attracted the attention of Credit Suisse analyst Phil Winslow, who wrote, “We believe that UiPath’s differentiated, end-to-end hyperautomation platform that can scale from individual workers to company-wide initiatives will enable the company to continue driving strong new customer acquisition, robust customer expansion, and attractive unit economics longer than Wall Street appreciates.”
Winslow, a 5-star analyst, gave the stock an Outperform (Buy) rating, and a $75 price target suggesting a one-year upside of 69%. (To watch Winslow’s track record, click here.)
With UiPath, we move to a stock with a Buy rating from the analysts. The 16 most recent reviews include 7 Buys, 8 Holds, and 1 Sell, for a Moderate Buy overall consensus. The average price target is $70.43, indicating a potential for 59% growth from the share price of $44.32. (See UiPath’s stock analysis at TipRanks.)
>>> UiPath Inc. (PATH) provides an end-to-end automation platform that offers a range of robotic process automation (RPA) solutions primarily in the United States, Romania, and Japan. It develops UiPath Studio, a platform designed for RPA developers looking to build complex process automations with built-in governance capabilities, such as robust debugging tools, application programming interface automation, wizards to automate desktop or web applications, leverage custom code, and to integrate machine learning models into production workflows. The company also offers UiPath Robots, which emulates human behavior to execute the processes built in UiPath Studio; and UiPath Orchestrator that tracks and logs robot activity, along with what people do in tandem to maintain strict compliance and governance through dashboards and visualization tools. In addition, it provides maintenance and support for its software, as well as professional services, such as training and implementation services to facilitate the adoption of its platform. UiPath Inc. was founded in 2005 and is headquartered in New York, New York.