UT students, AUBO Robotics improve mass customization tech
College research projects aren't typically something to look forward to. But they don't typically involve giving a robot eyes.
Recent University of Tennessee graduate Jose Bonilla had the opportunity to do just that for AUBO Robotics located at Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus, which houses tenants who benefit from collaborations such as this. Bonilla, along with Christopher Mobley, Benjamin Terry and Jasmine Worlds, provided a visual recognition system for the arm of AUBO-i5 robot.
The AUBO-i5 robot is a mass customization robot used in various industries for assembly packaging. Adding eyes to the arm of the robot allows the machine to detect different pieces during the packaging process and assign it to a particular pallet, for example, Bonilla said.
The work the students did on the robot will soon be used in the field along with the currently used i5 model.
Approximately 2,000 i5 robots are currently in use around the world, Peter Farkas, AUBO VP of international sales and marketing, said. AUBO recently received certification to operate robots in the U.S.
The robot features two sensors in each joint that senses if it hits something it shouldn't, Farkas said, allowing it to safely operate side-by-side with humans with no barriers between them.
Where most industrial robots are made for mass production, these are made for mass customization, Farkas said.
The robot plugs directly into the wall and can be rolled from place to place making it good for small batch production - from 300-500 units. It also features a "Teach system" tablet for easy programming.
"Anyone on the shop floor can program these," Farkas said. "So you don't need a guy with a computer science degree to program them."
It can also be programmed by hand. The user physically moves the robot in the path it needs to take. The robot records that path and repeats it.
"It's really simple to use and really simple to implement," Farkas said. "That's where a lot of companies are attracted to it."
Pulling from UT's talent through Cherokee Farm
AUBO was founded as Smokie Robotics in 2014 and was part of Cherokee Farm's incubator on campus before moving to the Cherokee North building, which houses private industry tenants.
The work Badillo and his classmates did with AUBO Robotics is a perfect example of the goal Cherokee Farm set when the building opened, Cliff Hawks, Cherokee Farm Development Corporation CEO, said.
"Our partners at Cherokee Farm have to be collaborating with the university and/or ORNL," said Hawks. "All our tenants will be tenants who rely on research and development, tenants who see tremendous value in accessing some of the brightest students in the nation at UT."
Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, by Cortney Roark
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Published August 9, 2018