Workshop shares how humans and robots can work together

Global Business

Many experts believe the field of robotics has advanced at a pace faster than any time in history, thanks to the coming together of industry and academia. The next big thing is now being called “collaborative robotics”, or how humans and robots can work together.

CCTV Amreica’s Mark Niu has this report from San Jose.

Working alongside a robot efficiently and safely. That’s the focus of the International Collaborative Robots Workshop in San Jose, which brings together some of the world’s foremost experts on robotics.

Robotics company, Yaskawa Motoman shows how it uses a people meter to let the robot know to slow down when a person has entered the room.

“How do we gain the benefits of robot technology and their human collaborators? Robots can inherently be dangerous machines. You’ve brought them in because they are able to pick up heavy weights, move them very quickly and yet we still want the operator to be able to make some important decisions in the process. That’s what collaboration is,” said Erik Nieves, Technology Director of Yaskawa Motoman.

Robots are inherently designed to be able to work with humans safely. Everything from the materials, to the operation speed to the sensors all allow people to bump into it and remain safe from injury.

Baxter is a humanoid robot, has two arms and a face, is to make him more inviting in the workplace environment so employees feel comfortable around Baxter. When Baxter’s running he’s concentrating and he’ll have that look. When there’s an error, he’ll actually get a look of concern on his face,” said Zach Gomez, Field Sales Engineer of Rethink Robotics.

LBR from Kuka Robotics, is designed to intelligently help humans in everything from production assembly to food service to even surgery.

“That’s really the future where you have a surgeon in a remote location actually doing a surgical procedure with telerobotics,” said Michael Beaupr who works for KUKA Robotics.

Rich Mahoney is the director of robotics from SRI International, a non-profit innovation center whose research has led to numerous products such as the computer mouse and the mobile assistant Siri. One of SRI’s latest projects is the robot Taurus, which could someday help humans defuse bombs.

“All of this robots evolution is gonna take jobs away and robots are gonna take over the world. There’s more opportunities for robots to do good things and to improve the overall quality of life for everybody in the world than there are for those scenarios to play out,” said Mahoney.

Although cost remains an obstacle, experts here believe more humans and robots working side by side is inevitable, which is why they continue to search for the best formula for minimum separation and maximum collaboration.