I noticed several common trends in new product offerings from many different companies. The underlying technologies behind these products were proposed many years ago, but for a while these were serving niche markets. However, it appears that suddenly these technologies have become mainstream, and several different large established companies are featuring new products based on these ideas. So finally after many years of wait, these ideas have moved from labs to the mainstream robotics industry.
Here is my pick of four noteworthy trends based on products offered by established companies in robotics space:
Dual Arm Robots: Humans (and many other primates) have two arms, but industrial robots for the longest time have featured only single arms. The argument was that if a task needed two arms, you can buy two arms and mount them next to each other. The mainstream robotics companies resisted the idea of connecting two arms to a body and selling it as an integrated package. However, it appears that thinking in the industrial robots community has changed over the last couple of years. Many companies at iREX were displaying new robots with two arms. In my opinion, the dual arm robot configuration will provide new advances in the dexterous manipulation area where two arms can be moved in a coordinated way to work with complex tools. Humans have a naturally tendency to utilize both of their hands when doing a task. Imagine cooking dinner with one hand tied behind your back! So dual arm configuration should it make it much easier for humans and robots to collaborate on complex tasks.
|ABB Dual Arm Robot|
|Nachi Dual Arm Robot|
|Motoman Robot with Camera on Hand|
|Honda Walking Assist Device|
|ABB Flex Picker|
|Kawasaki Delta Robot|