You know exactly what you’re going to get with your industrial machines. They go through the sequence of programmed commands, and start back over again; just like they’ve done for the past 20 years. If they don’t do this, that means something is broken. When it comes to carrying out repetitive tasks with utmost precision industrial robots can’t be beat. They do what they’ve been programmed to do, and they do it without complaint, without getting tired, and without getting bored. Well, most robots do, anyway.
What is Mimus?
Mimus is an ABB IRB 6700 industrial robot. “She” can move 7 meters per second and can lift 441 pounds. There’s nothing unusual about this. There is something that makes Mimus unusal, however. Unlike other industrial robots, Mimus can get “bored”. Mimus’ creator Madeline Gannon programmed the robot to roam, explore, and get bored in its enclosure.
Sensors placed on the ceiling allow Mimus to see the environment around her. People can also communicate with Mimus through gestures. She responds differently depending on your gestures and actions. If you beckon Mimus she moves closer. If you move to a different location she follows. Or, she doesn’t follow because she got bored.
How could Mimus help manufacturers?
Imagine if your industrial robots lost interest in making cars, or decided they no longer wanted to package items or apply labels. What if your industrial machinery decided to just follow you around for a bit? Bored and ornery robots could be an actual nightmare of yours if you’re a manufacturer.
A factory full of Mimus-like robots would be counterproductive. It doesn’t take much imagination, however, to see how this technology could be applied to an industrial setting.
Gannon wants industrial robots to improve or “augment” human labor rather than replace the need for human labor. Her idea is that by incorporating the strengths of both humans and robots we can create a system that is better than either human or robot alone.
A speedy robot helper that could lift heavy items would certainly be useful in many manufacturing jobs.