The new frontiers of cobots

G2-FT gripper © OnRobot

The finalists of the 16th Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Robotics & Automation (IERA) showcased the latest skills robots have acquired to assist humans at work. OnRobot’s applicant is an intelligent gripper named RG2-FT: with the fingertips it “feels” and picks up delicate materials like thin glass or test samples and passes them on to humans. The second finalist is Photoneo’s high resolution MotionCam-3D. This 3D scanner captures quick moving objects and, as reported by IFR (International Federation of Robotics), delivers the sharpest eyes in the world for industrial robots. “The gripper RG2-FT has the same fingertip sensibility as a human hand – said Enrico Krog Iversen, CEO of the Danish collaborative application company OnRobot -. Our gripper thus handles very delicate work pieces, such as thin glass or medical testing samples – even without knowing the exact location in a box”. To do this, the RG2-FT uses advanced proximity and force-torque sensors. The way it works can be compared to humans picking up a pencil with closed eyes: proximity sensors “feel” the object until the grip is perfect – substituting the human eye. The gripper then doses its force precisely: it picks up the object, safely passes it on to humans, knowing to let go when handing over.
MotionCam-3D gives eyes to robots with the highest resolution and accuracy in the world – said Jan Zizka, CEO of Bratislava-based maker Photoneo -. “Our camera is able to inspect objects moving as fast as 140 kilometres per hour. Its qualities are useful in various fields: e.g. in e-commerce and logistics, for object sorting and autonomous delivery systems. The camera also helps in food processing and waste sorting as well as harvesting in agriculture. Thanks to accurate machine vision, robots can also analyse object with high resolution images, which is important in quality control”. IFR explains that smart cobot applications like the IERA award finalists considerably lower the hurdles for small and medium-sized companies to use robotics for automation. “A traditional industrial robot can easily be equipped with new tools to transform them into truly collaborative helpers”, said Milton Guerry, President of the IFR.

MotionCam-3D © Photoneo