endeIntegrated Motion

Synapticon customer case: Roboligent (LinkDyn)

About our customer

Roboligent, formerly LinkDyn Robotics, builds novel mobile manipulator robots with human-inspired behaviors based on patent-pending force control and advanced AI technology. These robots create new opportunities in automation that cannot be achieved with traditional robotics. 

Roboligent was founded in 2016 by Bongsu Kim, Ph.D., CEO/lead engineer, with the goal of increasing productivity and public benefit through the widespread adoption of our interactive robotics technology. Roboligent was selected as a finalist in the Augmented and Virtual Reality category for the 11th annual SXSW Pitch.

About this Article

With our Customer Cases Series we show in which industrial contexts Synapticons technology is used and how we help them to develop their products. 

Take a look at their application:

Roboligent has developed a next-generation mobile picking robot (“OPTIMO DEX”) that offers a new level of AI-based automation.

“It consists of a force-controlled manipulator and a versatile gripper that sits on top of an autonomous mobile robot via a lifting column. The robot is designed to move to specific locations to pick up and transport objects. To find its way around any indoor space, the mobile base is equipped with multiple RGB depth cameras and a lidar, whose sensor fusion results are fed into a SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping) and navigation algorithm.

One of the key components of the mobile robots is the force-controlled manipulator, which exhibits unprecedented compliant and adaptive behavior that is critical for AI-based automation tasks and interactive tasks between humans and robots. The manipulator consists of proprietary, high-precision force control actuators and compliance control technologies that enable the robot to have behavioral intelligence like humans. The intelligent motor skills of humans in performing complex tasks are due in part to automatic and unconscious motor control by the central nervous system, which is enveloped by highly conscious brain activity.

Similarly, behavioral intelligence such as object recognition and environment adaptation, together with deep perception and machine learning, enables human-like dexterity and dynamic interaction.

For Optimo Dex, the manipulator is connected to a force-controlled, long-stroke gripper that can change its fingers on the fly, allowing it to handle objects with a wide range of materials, shapes and sizes. For Optimo Regen, the cuffs that connect to human limbs are connected to the manipulator via a quick-release mechanism.” 

Read the following interview and learn what they have to say about Synapticon.

How did you hear about Synapticon and what was your first contact like?

We were proactively looking for a drive solution that met all our requirements (EtherCAT, compact form factor, customizable drive with SDK and industrial grade performance). We finally found Synapticon using search tools and from there we contacted the sales team.


Which Synapticon products/solutions do you use?

We mainly use the Node 400 and Node 1000 products. We also use the supplied OBLAC tools to calibrate our motors.  


For what purpose(s) do you use Synapticon?

We integrate SOMANET nodes into our next-generation force-controlled robotic arm. The robotic arm is used for robotic rehabilitation as well as AI-integrated logistics tasks such as shelf picking.


From your point of view, what are the most important features/strongest characteristics of Synapticon?

The flexibility and adaptability of Synapticon drives is the most important factor for us. Since we have an unconventional robot drive design, we also have unconventional requirements. The ability to customize the drive while building on the existing feature set is very important to us. We don’t have to worry about current control, motor calibration, sensor readout, etc. We can simply implement our own motion control and functions on top of that, which saves us a lot of time. EtherCAT is also important for us.

“As a startup, we want to be future-proof, and using the latest technology is a smart decision.”

Industrial-grade hardware and control performance. We sell industrial-grade robots, so the drives have to match. We use a variety of sensors, and it’s good that everything is supported.

The compact form factor is also very important to us. We want to make our robots lighter, more mobile and more integrable.

Our robot “Optimo” does not require a control cabinet or complex external cabling, as all drives are housed in the robot arm itself.


How does Synapticon make your products better? 

For us, the ability to write a custom controller based on industry-standard firmware and hardware reduced our development time compared to creating our own driver from scratch. This allowed us to implement a wider range of functionality in our final product by not having to deal with the basic driver technology.


How would you compare Synapticon’s technology to other solutions on the market?

The price is similar to competing solutions. Considering the availability and lead time – that was undoubtedly.

Synapticon offers excellent support to its customers. The online documentation is fantastic and the support technicians are always very responsive and helpful.

“Synapticon’s products have more and better features than competing solutions.”

And last but not least, the business model makes the difference for us. We like the decision to allow custom firmware and provide documentation for developers like us.


What is your core competence?

We are a company that manufactures robots. One of our core competencies is robot control – in particular force-controlled robotics, which represents a paradigm shift from conventional position-controlled robotics.

AI and computer vision for difficult tasks in unstructured environments. The basis for this is high-quality force control.


What are the most important benefits of your products for your customers?

Force- and impedance-controlled manipulators are best suited for AI-integrated automation because impedance control can compensate for position errors introduced by computer vision. It is also safe in unstructured environments due to its compliance.

Force control is an interesting feature because many people do not realize its potential. For example, conventional position-controlled robots have great difficulty simply pushing against a wall or surface with a constant force. For humans, this kind of thing is quite easy because of the nature of their muscles – they are compliant and force-controlled. Our Optimo robot can do this task as easily as a human – which has implications for tasks such as grinding, polishing and buffing. Another example is the precise placement of objects. With position-controlled robots, an error of 1 mm in computer vision can cause an object to break when placed.  Some cobots can achieve this by moving slowly until they read a force – but our compliant force control robot can move many times faster and is more sensitive and safer. 

We are selling a force-controlled robot for use in robotic rehabilitation in collaboration with another company in the Asian market. Force control is of paramount importance for neurological rehabilitation outcomes, as it enables smooth interaction with the patient and allows him to initiate movements, which is the most important factor for neurological recovery. Currently, there are almost no real competitors for this product on the market.

“One of the main reasons our high-quality force control is possible is because of Synapticon’s powerful drivers – the computing power allows us to develop interesting controls that operate deterministically thousands of times per second.”

Our functions build on this basic control capability.


What are the future plans of our company in general and what are your future plans/options/opportunities regarding Synapticon’s technology/products?

We are currently in growth mode, so our main focus is to expand our current product offering and increase our sales. There are 7-8 Synapticon Node Boards in every robotic arm we sell. Simply put: We plan to buy a lot more Synapticon products in the future and upgrade to the latest firmware, which offers even more useful features that we will use.

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About the author

Marketing Manager at Synapticon