Making collaborative robots the easy option

Has the introduction of robotics led to household chores becoming a thing of the past? Sadly, not yet.

While robot vacuum cleaners are becoming increasingly common, we still lack a fully automated housekeeper. Meaning, there is not one robotic solution to complete all our tedious household tasks. For a robot to fulfil this role, it must be able to work reliably in unpredictable environments. Moreover, it should be simple for the home owner to programme.

As well as robot vacuum cleaners, engineers have also developed laundry folding robots. One example is the Laundroid, which takes four minutes to fold an item. As well as, the Rethink Robotics assistant, which takes 15 minutes.

While folding laundry is a menial task for a human, it’s incredibly difficult to programme a robot to do it. Hence, it taking a machine much longer to complete. A human could probably execute the work multiple times faster than a robot. Thus, it does not appear practicable for a robot to perform these tasks.

What are the disadvantages of the robots?

Several of the barriers to implementing personal robots in the home also apply to industrial robots in factories. Collaborative robots and mobile platforms offer stark benefits in speed, accuracy and repeatability. However, if their implementation and programming are difficult, many small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) will be discouraged.

Small businesses may not have the skills in-house to incorporate robots effectively. Also, they may lack the resources to constantly input instructions into a device. Imagine a robot that has the ability to move in six different directions at once. The operator would have to position the robot with six degrees of freedom.

It would be impossible to programme the robot thoroughly for each application if the environment changed. As well as, if the robot was expected to perform several jobs. It would simply not be flexible enough.

Make programming robots easy

Many robot manufacturers are focusing on making their technology as easy to use as possible. This is to increase the availability of robots in more applications. Even beyond their conventional uses in automotive and electronic manufacturing.

Robotiq

Universal Robots (UR) has been working with Robotiq to help bring collaborative robots to SMEs. Making both the robot and its programming easy to use. Universal robotics is offering integrated programs to help set up the basics. Such as, the pallet wizard to talk users through pick-and-place programming in just 30 minutes.

Southie Autonomy

Start-up company, Southie Autonomy, is also helping make robot programming easier. They are doing this by developing a pointer-based interface to programme a robot in seconds.

The pointer is commonly referred to as "The Wand,". This pointer can show robots the desired action in less than a couple of seconds. However, it doesn't provide instructions on how to do it.

This technology improves flexibility. Which, makes it easier to justify a robot as an investment, particularly for a smaller business.

Energid

Energid also offers tools that mean the user can easily program a robot to perform a specific action. For instance, tools like the Actin 5 software development kit makes developing simpler for programmers. It aids in the design, model, and control of robotic systems to build advanced applications.

The company aims to make it so that anyone can use the kit. Even without any advanced programming knowledge. It will also help users to communicate with robots in real-time. Thus, they can adapt mid-task if needed, adding that much needed flexibility bonus.

Making robots easy to use will be the secret to unlocking their full potential. Perhaps one day, if you can teach it, a robot will execute your household chores.

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