(520) 399-6550  dennis@flexwest.com

This page contains links, references and information related to my presentation "Robots, Automation, And Our Changing Society".

If you attended this seminar/lecture, thank you. Whether you have attended or not, I hope this information will help you explore this topic more fully; - Dennis Mangrobang


  • Manna, by Marshall Brain
  • This is a short fiction story, which you can read for free. It presents two possible societal outcomes that may arise as a result of automation. I think this book is thought provoking and I highly recommend it.

  • Video: Humans Need Not Apply
  • Well made video that explains why modern automation (e.g. using software programs, AI, etc.) is fundamentally different than past technological advances, and will result in most jobs (of all types) being automated, and few new jobs that won't also be automated.

  • Rise of the Robots, by Martin Ford
  • This book discusses how automation is impacting educated workers, and the possible impact on society when white-collar workers can no longer find jobs. The above link is an interview with the author, about his book. (Click the "play" button on the web page to listen to the interview; you can also use a provided link to read the transcript).

  • The Citizen's Share
  • "The Citizen's Share" is a book about broad based-based employee ownership and profit sharing, exemplified by the economic vision of America's founders. It was written by Joseph R. Blasi, Richard B. Freeman and Douglass L. Kruse. The above link is a video of Google Talk given by Joseph R. Blasi about this book. Job loss caused by automation further shifts the distribution of income and wealth to the owners of capital, and is likely to make a bad situation much worse. Using employee ownership to spread the capital ownership of automation across our society may be the best available tool to address this problem.


  • Robohub - Robotics News, Views and Podcasts
  • Excellent podcasts about robotics.

  • Robots in Depth
  • Excellent video interviews with robotics experts.

  • QUT Robot Academy
  • Excellent and free online college level course on robotics.


    Note: these are full videos; in the seminar I often show segments from these videos.

  • Video: Robots that fly ... and cooperate | Vijay Kumar
  • Excellent and entertaining 2012 video about cooperative flying robots.

  • Video: Robotic Liquid Handling facility
  • Dr Stuart Warriner explains the benefits of the Robotic Liquid Handling facility at University of Leeds in the UK.

  • Video: Surface Mount Printed Circuit Board Pick and Place, slow motion
  • Slow motion of component pick and place, so you can actually see the components being taken from reels and placed onto the solder paste on the board.

  • Video: Surface Mount Printed Circuit Board Pick and Place
  • This is a very good product video showing automation features that are available on a sophisticated pick and place machine.

  • This shows a machine that combines Additive Manufacturing (3D metal deposition) with Computer Numeric Control (CNC) machining.

  • Video: Cognex Vision Guided Robotics
  • This shows machine vision used to enable an ABB Yumi collaborative robot to detect randomly oriented building blocks, so that it can grasp them and assembled them in the desired configuration.

  • Video: Cognex high-speed inspection
  • Cognex In-Sight 2000 vision sensor: demonstration of high-speed inspection.

  • Video: Cognex Mr Potato Head checker
  • Cognex Checker Vision Sensor Checks Mr Potato Head for Eyes. An example of how machine vision can be integrated into a simple system.

  • Video: Amazon Kiva Robots
  • Video from 2014 shows how Kiva robots (now owned by Amazon Robotics) help make Amazon warehouses more efficient.

  • Video: Wet Wipes packaging line
  • Video of a machine made by ilapack, a company that makes a variety of machines for packaging. These machines often use Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) which are a specialized form of industrial computer used for machine control in many factory applications. This particular machine also incorporates a Delta style robot to perform a pick and place operation to provide a product sample on the outside of the package.

  • Video: KUKA LWR Collaborative Robot
  • Video showing two Kuka LWR robot arms used in a manufacturing cell used for assembly of joint components for another model of Kuka robot. Force/torque sensing and compliance, a distinguishing feature of collaborative robots are demonstrated.

  • Video: Boeing Fuselage Automated Upright Build
  • Video showing how two Kuka industrial robot arms work in unison (one inside the aircraft fuselage, the other outside) to install rivets. Also shows a large Kuka Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV), which is a large wheeled robotic vehicle that can be used to move parts and tools (sometimes robot arms are mounted to an AGV to make it mobile).

  • Video: Zenbo Robotic Personal Assistant
  • Video showing the ASUS Zenbo Robotic Personal Assistant (not yet released in the USA). This is an example of a "social robot", designed to interact with humans.

  • Video: Rubik's Cube Solving Robot
  • Entertaining video showing a home built, world record holding, Rubik's Cube Solving Robot that solves in less than 1 second. It shows what can be done using easily available components (stepper motors, Arduino (AVR) microcontroller, stepper drivers, USB web cameras, PC running Linux, 3D printed parts).


  • Video: Introducing SpotMini
  • Entertaining video showing the Boston Dynamics SpotMini robot. This is an interesting "robot arm on a robot" type of design, in this case using a four legged robot. I think there will likely be many applications for various forms of robotic arms mounted onto mobile robotic platforms.

  • Video: Introducing Handle
  • Entertaining video showing the Boston Dynamics Handle robot. This is a two wheeled balancing robot with arms.

  • Video: Team KAIST, winner of the 2015 DARPA Robotics Challenge
  • Video showing the winning robot in the 2015 DARPA Robotics Challenge. Skip to 6:22 to see the final winning performance.

  • Video: Komatsu Autonomous Mining Truck
  • Video from Komatsu about their Autonomous Haulage System. This is one example of an autonomous truck; there are several other competitors including Caterpillar, Volvo and Hitachi. Trucks like this have been in operation since at least 2015.