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.
A few weeks ago, Ford Motor Co. quietly announced that it was rolling out a new wrinkle to the powerful safety feature called stability control, adding even more lifesaving potential to a technology that has already been very successful.
It won't be too much longer and hardware design, as we used to know it, will be remembered alongside the slide rule and the Karnaugh map. You will need to move beyond those familiar bits and bytes into the new world of software centric design.
People who want to take advantage of solar energy in their homes no longer need to install a bolt-on solar-panel system atop their houses -- they can integrate solar-energy-harvesting shingles directing into an existing or new roof instead.
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