The field of robotics involves the design, construction, and operation of programmable machines. Augmented reality in robotics can substantially improve productivity and worker safety in factory floors by improving digital simulation and optimizing human-robot interaction.
AR enhances our perception of real-world environments with the addition of computer-generated visual elements, sound, and other stimuli. In robotics, AR enables better visualization of potential robotic solutions. It enables manufacturers to bring their clients’ ideas to life and ensure optimal human-robot interaction. However, that’s not all there is to augmented reality in robotics.
Let’s take a look at how AR is being used in the field.
What Is the Role of Augmented Reality in Robotics?
ABB Robotics, for example, uses AR to overlay modeled solutions into real-life environments. This enables its users to create simulations through RobotStudio, optimizing its robot systems before users begin building them. No matter where they are, users can access the simulations through their smartphones or tablets. They can better visualize and agree on robot solutions.
Augmented reality in robotics allows them to design, optimize, and validate robotics systems before building physical prototypes. This enables them to cut costs and save time.
Similarly, Professor Karthik Ramani of Purdue University is working with manufacturers to create virtual factories. Using AR, they can explore labor-saving technologies before implementing them in a factory setting. They can simulate how factory workers interact with the robot. In turn, they can determine if the robot can help improve productivity. They can also virtually experiment with floor arrangements to maximize productivity in the factory.
Furthermore, AR can aid with training. Manufacturers can use AR to equip their workforce with essential skills before they enter the factory floor.
PTC Reality Lab, meanwhile, is using AR for robotic motion planning and programming. Their ongoing research, Kinetic AR, aims to provide a low barrier of entry for complex system programming. Led by Principal Innovation Engineer Anna Fusté Lleixà, the project uses a prototype system that allows AR to remotely operate the robot in real time. They use the prototype to explore the controls of the robot’s motions and actions in a physical space.
Ultimately, the goal is to build a system that enables robots to navigate dynamic factory floors and accomplish a variety of tasks.
Is Augmented Reality the Future of Robotics?
Designing and developing robotic systems is complex and costly. Augmented reality in robotics can change that by enabling manufacturers to optimize and validate their robotic systems before building physical prototypes. With virtual simulations, manufacturers can significantly cut costs and save time.
While AR has immense potential to improve robotics, there is no way of knowing how it will affect the field in the years to come. However, further advancements in immersive tech will most likely increase the number of initiatives dedicated to the study of augmented reality in robotics.