Yaskawa Electric, who hold the largest share of the world’s industrial robot market, are developing the next-generation SmartPal VII. This robot can be operated remotely using a Kinect motion capture system.
“Here, we’re demonstrating how someone in Tokyo can operate a robot at their mother’s house in Fukuoka, so they can talk to their mother and help tidy up her house.”
In this demonstration, the robot’s hand is being controlled using Kinect, as it picks up toys from the floor and puts them in a box.
“This robot resembles a person, so it has many degrees of freedom. We’ve given it technology that lets people utilize that freedom easily, just by moving their hands, while the robot itself considers how to move its hand, back, and trolley in optimal ways.”
This model features upgrades to all the components of SmartPal V, which was announced in 2007, to make it much more compact. Its head now has a stereo camera which can pan and tilt as well as an infrared sensor, while the moving parts have gyro sensors. These features enable SmartPal VII to recognize its environment more effectively, and to move autonomously with higher precision.
“Through these upgrades, we’ve made the robot arm slimmer and lighter. We’ve also given it a flexible covering with touch sensors beneath, to make it safer.”
“We haven’t yet decided exactly what the target market will be. But our aim is for this robot to assist people with everyday tasks, or work or by their side to help them. Anyway, because this is an industrial robot, we think our technology for operating robots easily and safely will be effective in opening up a market for such service applications.”
“We haven’t yet decided exactly what the target market will be. But our aim is for this robot to assist people with everyday tasks, or work or by their side to help them. As a developer of industrial robots, we think this sort of technology for operating robots easily and safely will be effective in opening up a market for such service applications.”