Robotics: Safety without Protective Barriers

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New system prevents collisions between robots and humans

Robotics: Safety without Protective Barriers
Robotics: Safety without Protective Barriers

The modern working world is no longer conceivable without robots. They assist humans in manufacturing, laboratories or medicine. In the future, a new projection and camera-based system will prevent collisions between robots and humans working together. This safety system employs conventional projectors and cameras, which are normally mounted on the ceiling. One distinctive feature of the system is its projection of monitored safe zones directly onto a floor or wall. Projected beams produce visible lines in the work area. Thus, humans recognize the safe zone right away and know how close they may get to a robot. The camera immediately detects any intrusion in the safe zone by an individual - the projected lines are disrupted. The robot decelerates at once. Optical and acoustic warning signals can additionally be generated. Another distinctive feature is the variability of marked areas' position and size and the capability to give them any shape - for instance, a circle, a rectangle or any freeform. "Since we employ common standard components, our system can be installed cost effectively. The projector and camera are calibrated and synchronized to one another," says Dr. Norbert Elkmann, Robotic Systems Business Unit Manager at the Fraunhofer IFF. When a larger area needs to be monitored, the system can be extended as desired by additional projectors and cameras.

Posted on July 5, 2011 - (427 views)
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