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Design News, April 2013

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Automation & Control requirements. This equates to longer run time on the batteries and overall system performance gains" Have Robot, Will Travel Mobile robots with advanced motion control systems aren't just for the flat production floor. Their environments can include travel through water and by air, where mobile robotics migrates toward autonomy, such as with Adept's Lynx AIV (autonomous indoor vehicle). "Mobile robotics leans heavily on integrated motion because of the 'mobile controller' issue," Summer said. "These robots can't be wheeling huge control cabinets behind them stacked with drives and controllers for each motor inside the robot, so the controller has to be advanced enough to deal with all of the robot tasks at hand while still being compact. By using integrated controls, each axis of motion may sustain control of its local function. For example, an autonomous mobile robot with a hinged arm may need to hold the 'wrist' level to the ground. The integrated control of the wrist axis can use the phase adjust mode in the SmartMotor to keep the wrist level no matter what the arm does. For each additional axis another dedicated motion controller has been added to the system, bringing more control and processing power up to the system-level." While some robots are programmed S12 D e s i g n n e ws A p ril 2013 for repetitive actions with routines that specify the direction, acceleration, velocity, and distance of a series of coordinated paths of motion, more mobile robots are being built with autonomous decisionmaking capabilities, requiring more advanced motion control. Whether it's considered artificial intelligence or not, it's becoming an increasingly important factor in mobile robotics. Within the discussion of robotic mobility and artificial intelligence is a technological aspect often referenced in pop culture: socially assistive robotics. Socially assistive robotics aims to use mobile robots for more than moving parts through a warehouse; it improves human interaction in situations where technology can enhance the social experience. Robert Doornick, president and founder of International Robotics Incorporated (IRI), knows social robotics — it's his business and his passion. Doornick has pioneered the field of social robotics and the research surrounding it for more than 35 years. "We started by designing the mobile robots to be surrogate communication tools for special needs children. What we observed early on was that this technology helped the children to communicate more freely with the outside world because there was no fear of judgment in body movement or facial expressions," Doornick said. "Those with autism are [www.designnews .com] Source: Wikipedia commonS/mixabeSt KUKA industrial robots hard at work.

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