Collaborative robots are challenged by unknown objects, which results in damage and thus underutilization in settings that require handling of new parts or goods.
Dr. Nikolaus Correll developed a software and infrared proximity sensor system that can sense contact and force and replace the force sensors, 2D vision and 3D perception systems. The sensor is simpler to program and can be added onto existing robots.
Target market for the system is currently 50K robots projected to grow to 1 million by 2020. Solutions include a $20K external vision-based camera system and up to $10K grippers for a $40K collaborative robot. Replacing the camera and grippers with less expensive tactile sensors would increase collaborative robot safety and efficiency.