Automation technology has the potential to improve productivity and safety in many industries, including manufacturing. In addition, robots typically produce a higher quality product in a shorter amount of time than humans, making them a more efficient option.
In addition, robotics help to alleviate the skills gap by filling dirty, repetitive and dangerous jobs that are difficult to find workers for. These technologies also aid in employee retention and reduce the cost of recruiting, hiring and training.
1. Advanced Sensors & Actuators
In addition to enabling more useful and productive work, new sensor technology is also helping robots achieve higher levels of safety. These advancements include new vision sensing, force torque and pressure sensors that are allowing robots to perform tasks more precisely and operate safely, and tactile sensors that provide improved touch and feel capabilities.
Despite these advances, however, it is still essential that robots have the ability to avoid collisions with humans and other objects. This requires sophisticated sensors that can sense an object’s size and shape, the presence of a human, and other key environmental factors.
For example, when a worker stands on a factory floor and hands out widgets to be pressed, it is important that the robot has the capability to detect this human action and prevent a collision without interfering with other work in progress. This can be difficult to accomplish using traditional sensor technologies that require a high degree of accuracy, large sensing ranges, and long sensing times.
This is why the combination of a new, broader array of new sensor technologies along with state-of-the-art processor technology and supporting software intelligence is playing such a critical role in delivering more useful work and advanced performance to both industrial and consumer robots. These advancements are resulting in new and innovative sensor types that have lower power consumption, smaller footprints, improved accuracy, and greater reliability than ever before.
2. Robotic Arms
Robotic arms are the most versatile and effective type of robotic machinery, capable of performing a wide range of tasks in a variety of environments. From assembling automobile parts to picking, gripping, and transporting objects, they can help businesses in a variety of industries achieve new levels of productivity and efficiency while improving workplace safety.
For example, a robotic arm in a production line can use its machine vision system to recognize a product and grasp it for inspection or packaging. This inspection can be performed in real time, which can reduce waste and improve production speed.
In addition, a robot can be equipped with pressure sensors to measure how hard it is holding an object. This helps to prevent the robot from breaking or dropping objects by holding them too tightly.
A robotic arm can also be enhanced with AI and machine vision systems to perform quality inspection, helping to prevent production defects from becoming unseen issues and potentially causing damage or loss. The technology can detect manufacturing flaws and fix them instantly, reducing downtime and improving product quality and safety.
The robot’s ability to withstand intense workloads is also important, as this will determine how frequently maintenance and lubrication is required. Some types of robot arms can operate continuously, while others require more rest periods between shift cycles to ensure they are as dependable as possible.
Today, advanced sensing technologies, AI, machine and computer vision, and edge networking are transforming how robotic arms are deployed and used. These solutions are enabling companies across all industries to rapidly enhance their robots to meet new and increasing demands for increased productivity and performance.
3. Robotic Hands
Robot hands can help machines work more efficiently, with high levels of precision and control. This is important for complex, delicate tasks, such as threading needles or assembling sophisticated electronic devices.
Today’s general-purpose robotic hands have a repeatable accuracy of 0.02 millimeters, making them highly capable of performing small, precise movements. Future generations may be able to achieve even higher precision, as a result of advances in machine learning and AI.
Moreover, the hands are also capable of dexterous manipulation, providing greater flexibility in their applications. For example, they can grasp objects in different positions and use their fingertip forces to manipulate delicate items.
The ILDA hand integrates all the components needed for actuation and sensing, including five robotic fingers with fingertip sensors, an integrated palm side with actuators, and a controller and attachment. This system can be easily attached to a developed robotic arm, enabling the user to perform a wide range of actions using the hand.
In addition to being able to grasp objects and manipulate them with strong grip, this hand is also very durable. It can be programmed to push down onto a sensor constantly for 30 minutes without slowing down or losing force.
These findings prove that this hand can withstand repeated use in industrial environments, allowing it to perform more complex tasks at lower cost than traditional robots. In addition to this, the hand’s design allows it to adapt to the shape of the object it’s grasping, ensuring it will retain its grasp throughout the whole process.
Researchers at the University of Washington have designed a hand that mimics the kinematics of a human hand, which allows it to very closely imitate a variety of grasps. This is a significant improvement over many current robotic hands, which can only do simple grasps, but can’t be used in more advanced telemanipulation.
4. Robotic Arms & Legs
There are many robotic arms that are used in industrial applications. These robots are often referred to as pick-and-place or assembly-line robots because they are designed to pick and place items that are typically moved by humans. They are usually equipped with machine vision systems to identify and grasp objects and move them to a designated location.
These arms are used in a wide variety of industries that require heavy, repetitive motions. They can also perform tasks that are difficult or dangerous for human workers, such as welding and material removal.
Robotic arms can help companies increase productivity while saving on costs and improving safety. They are particularly helpful in industries like manufacturing where they can work around the clock and in a hazardous environment.
Some of the more common types of industrial robotic arms are articulated robots, which use a number of joints to provide a degree of movement. These joints can rotate in various directions and are connected to motors that allow the arm to move forward, backward, left or right.
They can also move the end effector that they are paired with, which is the tool that is used to pick and place the item that is being picked up. These end effectors can be a simple version of a hand, or they can be more complex tools such as blowtorches and drills.
As the field of robotics & automation advances, scientists are developing new ways to improve robotic limbs. Some researchers are working on robotic legs that use data from the body instead of sensors, and others are using neural activity to control prosthetic limbs.
5. Robotic Eyes
One of the most significant advancements in robotics & automation is the development of artificial eyes, which can be used to restore vision for people suffering from visual impairment. The technology is currently in its infancy, but it has the potential to be as effective as cochlear implants for hearing loss.
Bionic eyes work by converting images from a video camera into electrical signals that stimulate the retinal cells in the back of the eye, which then transmit the signal through to the brain. These images are interpreted as real-world scenes by the brain.
Scientists around the world are working on a variety of different devices, with some designed to be placed in front of the eye (epi-retinal) while others are sub-retinal. They vary in size, capacity and hardware but all have one thing in common: restoring sight for visually impaired individuals.
In Australia, researchers from Bionic Vision Australia (BVA) have been working on a wearable device that is meant to be used by patients who suffer from retinitis pigmentosa or age-related macular degeneration. It operates similar to a cochlear implant, in that it converts images from an external camera into electrical signals that activate electrodes implanted behind the patient’s retina.
BVA is a consortium of universities and research institutes. The goal of their work is to create a system that is portable and easy to use.
As with other robotics & automation advancements, the ability to develop these types of devices has the potential to significantly improve lives and alleviate the impact that blindness has on people worldwide. With more than 40 million people around the world suffering from blindness and another 124 million affected by low vision, the need for advancements in this area is clear.