Collaborative Robots Avoid Collisions

September 20, 2017
Collaborative Robots Avoid Collisions

What if collaborative robots didn’t just stop at collision but avoided collisions altogether? And while doing that kept performing the task they set out to do? That’s the premise for Universal Robots’ new trade show demo where a UR5 robot arm will pick "widgets" out of a feeder that moves around and is dynamically tracked by the vision-guided cobot. Using a wand, attendees interact with the collaborative robot prompting it to avoid the wand while attempting to reach the widget.

“The ability for the robot to 'dodge' the wand is an example of what we believe will be the next generation of collaborative robots,” says area sales manager at Universal Robots, Craig Tomita. “We believe that there is a large market for robots that can perform tasks in a semi-structured environment, where the requirement for precise positioning of fixtures and parts is relaxed, making setup and programming of the UR cobots even easier.”

The Actin Simulation software from Energid used in the demo is part of the rapidly expanding Universal Robots+ platform featuring plug and play products for the UR robot arms.

With the ability to coordinate the motion of up to hundreds of axes in real-time, Energid’s Actin toolkit facilitates the creation of many types of robots with fluid, human-like movement and skills. Actin enables robots to do complex tasks requiring dexterous manipulation that are not easily supported by traditional control software. Actin’s control software, coupled with machine vision, enables robots to dynamically avoid collisions with humans and other objects. It supports visual servoing, enabling accurate vision-based manipulation of objects in changing environments.

"While the robotics industry continues to explode, especially in Asia, many companies still avoid the risk of creating robotic systems because they don't know how to create software that enables the type of precise, coordinated control many industries require," said Neil Tardella, CEO of Energid. "Turnkey commercial software to facilitate creating, controlling and intuitively programming robots is rare, creating a huge global market. With Actin, the development risk is greatly reduced. The use of Actin results in easy robotic programming and control, even for complex tasks, to meet the needs of multiple industries.”

Related Glossary Terms

  • robotics


    Discipline involving self-actuating and self-operating devices. Robots frequently imitate human capabilities, including the ability to manipulate physical objects while evaluating and reacting appropriately to various stimuli. See industrial robot; robot.