Dem-Con In Shakopee Turns To AI Robot For Labor Shortage

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Eric Roper, Star Tribune

“Dem-Con, a waste firm in Shakopee, has become a testing ground for cutting-edge robotics technology that uses artificial intelligence to sort through municipal waste.  A recycling robot recently moved into Shakopee. And it has a craving for cartons. A new robot at Dem-Con Companies’ recycling facility is being used to detect and remove milk containers and other cartons from the recycling stream, the first of its kind in Minnesota.

Backers of the project say the technology could soon become commonplace nationwide in facilities that sort recyclables.”

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Tesla Buys Brooklyn Park Factory Automation Firm Perbix

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Via Associated Press

“DETROIT (AP) — Electric car company Tesla Inc. is buying Perbix, a Minnesota-based maker of highly automated manufacturing equipment. Perbix has been a supplier to Tesla for three years. It has built custom machinery for Tesla’s Fremont, California, assembly plant as well as its battery plant in Nevada. Perbix will continue to be based north of Minneapolis. It currently employs 150 people, but Tesla says it will recruit more.”

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Pohlad Acquires Shoreview Robotic Automation Firm PaR Systems

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Via News Release

“MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 1, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — The Pohlad family has acquired Shoreview-based PaR Systems, Inc., a leading provider of integrated robotic automation and specialized material handling solutions, from MML Capital Partners, an international private equity firm. Terms were not disclosed.”

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Newly Formed STEM Nonprofit CodeKitty Gears Up To Teach The Teachers

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By Chris Luger

Within the technical community we will often hear a phrase ‘train the trainer’, which is the primary goal of recently formed Minnesota non-profit Code Kitty.

This 2017 Twin Cities Startup Weekend for Education winner was formed to train teachers and educators with the skills to comfortably bring robotics and coding into their classroom.

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Sentera Soaring To Next Level With Farm Drones

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By Neal St. Anthony, Star Tribune

“Richfield-based Sentera, one of several emerging makers of drones, sensors and software for America’s farmers, is gaining altitude. CEO, Eric Taipale, an engineer who started working on drones a generation ago for defense contractor Lockheed, said relationships with distributors such as huge farm-equipment manufacturer John Deere have been critical.”

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Loup Ventures Creates A ‘Robot Fear Index’

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By Lee Schafer, Star Tribune

“The partners of Loup Ventures in Minneapolis have come up with a Robot Fear Index even though they aren’t afraid of robots at all.

These venture capitalists envision a future with the technology of artificial intelligence, augmented reality, robotics and virtual reality used every day, by nearly everyone. So why publish an indicator of how much many of us fear that kind of future?”

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Digi-Key Electronics Is Planning a 1 Million Square Foot Expansion

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Via News Release

logo_dk“THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn., March 6, 2017 — Digi-Key Electronics, the Thief River Falls-headquartered global distributor of electronic components, announces that it is reviewing several potential options for a one million square foot fulfillment, value-added manufacturing and warehouse center with an investment value of between $200-$300 million. While multiple options are under review, Thief River Falls would be its preferred location, contingent on both local approvals and legislative changes required.”

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Land O’ Lakes Launches $150k Drones For Ag Contest

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Screen Shot 2017-02-16 at 8.35.12 AMBy Nick Williams, Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal

Land O’Lakes Inc. is challenging the tech industry to come up with new ways that drones can be used to benefit agriculture. Through Aug. 1, the company will run a crowdsourcing competition seeking innovations that will help farmers use data and images to better manage their farms.

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U of M Researchers Use Brainwaves To Control Robotic Arms

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Via News Release

“Researchers at the University of Minnesota have made a major breakthrough that allows people to control a robotic arm using only their minds. The research has the potential to help millions of people who are paralyzed or have neurodegenerative diseases. The study is published online today in Scientific Reports, a Nature research journal.”

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How Robots Are Changing Minnesota’s Workforce

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By Ibrahim Hirsi, MinnPost

“On the main floor of Minneapolis-based Atlas Manufacturing, Baxter is hard at work: She places metal pieces on a giant machine in a process that bends and punches parts before picking up the pieces and carefully arranging them on a nearby counter.

It’s a repetitive task, and at times, agonizing. But Baxter doesn’t seem to mind. In fact, she’s able to do the work around the clock throughout the year — without requiring lunch breaks. Or sick leaves. Or health insurance. Or vacation benefits.”

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