The new machines are equipped with light-duty arms that can more easily be integrated into existing production systems.

"These robots are a few kilos lighter than previous models. They're safer to work with and shut down gently if they come into contact with a foreign object," said Marianne Bakken, researcher at The Foundation for Scientific and Industrial Research (SINTEF) at the Norwegian Institute of Technology (NTH).

"By installing a sensor on the robot, we create a safe machine that can 'see'. Perhaps this will enable them to work alongside people, instead of being shut away in cages," said Bakken.

"Our starting point was to try to help the robot 'see' the objects around it," she added.

This evolved into a four-year project called SEAMLESS. The researchers studied the potential of installing a 3D sensor on a robot.

"The sensor detects objects in the space around it, and senses where any given object is located in relation to the robot arm," said Bakken.

A robot relies on being continuously fed with data so that it can decide in which directions it should be moving.

In this case, the sensor generates data that are sent to a personal computer (PC), where the data are processed and
information relayed to the robot arm.


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