Robots that Can See?

Robots that can see have been a long time coming and they’re steadily becoming a regular sight in automation and manufacturing operations. With all of the technological advancements that have been made over the years, it was only a matter of time before vision equipped robots were commonplace.

In robotics prices have gotten cheaper, hardware has gotten better, and the software has gotten more advanced. This has lead to the increased use of vision-enabled robots which can increase production as well as quality control on automated lines.

The speed with which robotics is increasing is pretty remarkable. They are smaller, more affordable, and better in nearly every regard. You could compare the advancements in robotics to the advancements in computer technology. The first computers were the size of a room and cost millions of dollars. Today we walk around with affordable computers that fit in our pockets.

Robot vision was developed around 1980. It was pretty crude, but it was there. The first demonstration of robotic vision involved a robot picking up an object out of a bin. It was a feat that the robot could even identify an object.

Today robots can see things in in megapixels, full-color, and 3-D.  There are robotic arms capable of catching thrown items. They can process images and calculate trajectory. That’s quite an improvement from picking up a lone stationary object out of a bin.

The improvements in robotics and robotic vision are only going to get better with time, and with these improvements automation and assembly will improve as well. With more available technologies there are more applications for manufacturing.

Efficiency and productivity are key on assembly lines, and those are both areas that can benefit from robots that can see. Imagine having robots on your line that can spot, process, and respond to what they see coming down the line before you’ve even seen it. Robots that can see will not only increase productivity and efficiency, but they will also be huge in quality assurance.

Will there be vision-enabled robots in your future? Watch for them!