Hello, fellow Hackers! This post is not about creating a robot of your own, but more about what comes after that, the next big step, robots that are all over the market.
I wanted to share my first experience with commercial robots at an event organized by the Robotics Business Review I visited this September in Santa Clara, California. All kinds of robotic inventions were there. Robotic arms were of major interest to me, as well as service robots for hotels and retail, and robots used for manufacturing and warehouse management. Businesses of all kinds had interesting ideas present. I highly recommend visiting the show next year, it was a lot of fun and I learned a lot!
I recorded a lot of videos while at the show — you can watch the full video of robots at work on my YouTube channel!
To begin with though, I wanted to share the pain of being a teen entrepreneur. This event, and many others, has a rule that does not allow younger people to attend the event without “parental supervision.” While I can understand it sometimes, I just find it utterly strange for a country honoring millionaires under twenty to enforce such rules at almost every event or show I want to go to. So, what you’re telling me is — I am twelve years old, a coauthor of a pending patent, and cofounder of a company which will launch a Kickstarter campaign for a gaming gadget at CES 2018, but somehow, I am still not allowed to public technological events without a parent?
Sorry for the rant, going back to robots! One reason I wanted to go to this event is because me and my dad had many talks about to the future of work and what people will do. Are we going to be replaced by robots? What is the actual state of replacement? I wanted to see some of these robots available on the market with my own eyes. And I was impressed. Here’s the list of companies and their robots they presented at the show.
I Am Robotics — fulfillment robot solutions
This robot helps to sort and organize goods in large buildings and warehouses. It has an autonomous self-driving module with a vacuum manipulator for gripping. Basically, the robot goes an assigned place in a warehouse, takes a package and transports it to a cart. It can also do the opposite — load out packages from a cart and return the items back to a shelf. It makes you think — what if Amazon warehouses are equipped with similar robots? Moreover, I’ve seen videos from China warehouses, where dozens of robocarts drive different ways and constantly take the goods in and out. How many jobs would be eliminated if this became widely available? Here’s a link to the company site https://www.iamrobotics.com
Tend.ai — commercial robot that operates 3D printers, laser cutters, and workshop machines
This is the only robot I’ve seen that actually understands the environment around it and that’s why more flexible and can be used for small and medium business workshops. Everything from operating 3D printers to ordinary workshop machines. It is really impressive! The robot is equipped with a webcam mounted to its arm, the webcam sends information to Tend.ai software which analyzes the surroundings and sends instructions back to the arm. In 2016 the company raised $2 million to bring the robot to the market.
XYZrobot — service robot from Taiwan
We met this robot really early on at the show! The XYZrobot assisted with check in and the registration process at the show. It was such a cool idea! It made me think about why people are still using people for checking in at the events, when we could use something automated to reduce long lines. You just scan a QR code in an app or sent to you in the email. The big thing about this robot is that it can maneuver between the crowd, as well. Ever seen an airport kiosk do that?
XYZ is a service robot from Taiwan powered by a dual operating ROS & Android OS. Its producers state that it has a variety of applications: service facility in hospitals, telepresence unit to assist customers in a store, or even as a security unit, patrolling the area 24 /7.
SCHUNK — creates gripping robots
From Germany, SCHUNK is the most compact, powerful lightweight arm in the world the team tells me, it has three highly-integrated Powerball modules which offer 6 degrees of freedom. It’s hard for me to add more, as I’ve never been to a huge manufacturing unit that does mass-production with machine arms. Hopefully, we will travel to China one day and I will get the chance to see the whole process with my own eyes. Here’s the link to the robot http://www.schunk-modular-robotics.com/en/home/products/powerball-lightweight-arm-lwa-4p.html
Robotnik — a very human-esque arm
Another, kind of more futuresque robot, the Schunk SVH Robotic Hand, is an advanced humanoid robot hand system that acts very similarly to the 20 degrees-of-freedom and reproduces the shape, appearance and mobility of a human hand. It has 9 drives inside and is able to carry out various gripping operations smoothly.
It is also a part of a more complex system which includes visual communication between a human and service robot, this hand can be used as a remote extension of a human hand in hostile environments. Here’s the link if you want to learn more http://www.robotnik.eu/robotic-hands/svh-hand/
YuMi — a Rubik’s Cube manipulating machine
From ABBRobotics, this is an example of another industrial robot called YuMi and was one of my favorites at the show. YuMi can operate in close collaboration with humans due to its inherently safe design that the developers worked hard on. It has a lightweight, yet rigid magnesium skeleton covered with a floating plastic casing, wrapped in soft padding to absorb impacts. YuMi is also compact, with human-like dimensions and movements, making human coworkers safe and comfortable. http://new.abb.com/products/robotics/industrial-robots/yumi
IRB 1200 PickOne 3D Vision Bin Picking by ABB corporation — high speed sorting robot
At the show, the team demonstrated the robots abilities by having it sort LEGO bricks quickly. The robot arm able to accomplish this was the IRB 1200 paired with the PickOne Perception system, an innovative 3D vision system designed for high-speed sorting operations. The PickOne System provides targets from piles, trays and totes that filled with either the same or varied product of different sizes
In the video of this article you can see the robot construct the ABB company logo with LEGO blocks. Nice move!
Hope you enjoyed my article about the Robotics Business Expo! Clap and share! Thank you.
My name is Savva Osipov, me and my dad are working on a Kickstarter campaign for our project that we are planning to launched in January at CES 2018. If you are interested in learning more and being kept up-to-date, subscribe and you’ll be the first to know of news and updates! http://wowcube.com/