Al, this is a good innovation. Allowing robots and people to work more closely, without intervening machinery, will make both more efficient. The key, of course, is the software. I am sure developing and testing this software must be a tremendous task.
Naperlou, The software for programmable safety zones is a technology where a number of robot makers have already invested in the development, so the application code to use it is much more straightforward and easy to implement.
Notarboca, We've all seen those large areas in plants with fencing for the robots and sophisticated safety systems. There is certainly a strong trend to integrating robots both into machines, and also using programmable zones as a way to reduce floor space requirements in plants.
To capitalize even more on space savings, an interlocked automated barrier door could be applied using the same distance formula used for light curtains, however, a properly interlocked door can be placed closer to the process further enhancing space savings and safety.