June 2, 2014
AND THEY NEVER HAVE TO GO TO OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY:
How Robots Are Getting Smarter : New Models Bring Greater Skills to the Factory Floor, From Navigating on Their Own to Learning by Doing (Georgia Wells, June 1, 2014, WSJ)
Posted by Orrin Judd at June 2, 2014 8:09 PMDrop a box in front of Lynx, from Adept Technology Inc. ADEP -3.23% in Pleasanton, Calif. The small, squarish robot on wheels can sense the object in its path and plot a new course around it--and then communicate the change in landscape to the other units in its fleet.Robots have been mobile for many years, but unlike previous generations, Lynx doesn't need to follow tape on the floor and isn't restricted to a grid. That's because Adept, the largest U.S.-based manufacturer of industrial robots, designed Lynx to be able to work autonomously while moving objects around a chaotic factory floor, where the ability to navigate around unpredictable obstacles such as humans and pallets is essential.To do this, Lynx stores its own internal map of the layout of the location where it's working. To sense the terrain, Lynx has ultrasonic detectors that scan to see if anything is on the floor in its vicinity, and a laser in front to measure the distance to objects such as walls and moving people. As Lynx cruises the factory floor, it compares the actual terrain with its stored map and chooses the best path, taking into account any new obstacles.