With our Customer Cases Series we show in which industrial contexts Synapticons technology is used and how we help them to develop their products.
Roboligent built a next-gen mobile picking Robot (“OPTIMO DEX”) that provides a new level of AI-based automation.
“This robot is built mainly for pick-and-deliver automation and consists of a force-control manipulator and a versatile gripper sitting on an autonomous mobile robot via a lifting column. The robot is intended to move to designated locations to pick and transport objects. To navigate arbitrary indoor environments, the mobile base is equipped with multiple RGB-depth cameras and a Lidar whose sensor-fusion outputs are fed into a SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping) and navigation algorithms.
One of the key components of the mobile robots is the force-control manipulator that performs unprecedented compliant and adaptive behaviors critical for AI-based automation tasks and human-robot interactive tasks. The manipulator consists of proprietary high-precision force control actuators and compliance-control technologies that allow the robot to possess behavioral intelligence like humans. The human’s intelligent motor skills in conducting complex tasks partly stem from the automatic and unconscious motor control governed by the central nervous system, wrapped by the high-level conscious brain activities.
Similarly, along with a high-level deep perception and machine learning, the behavioral-level intelligence such as sensing objects and compliantly adapting to surroundings make it possible human-like dexterous manipulation and dynamic interaction.
For Optimo Dex, the manipulator is connected with a force-controllable and wide stroke gripper that can change its fingers on the go, meaning it can handle objects with a wide scope of materials, shapes, and sizes. For Optimo Regen, cuffs that make a connection with the human limbs are attached to the manipulator via a quick-release mechanism.”
Read the following interview and find out what they say about Synapticon.
We were proactively looking for a drive solution that met all our needs (EtherCAT, compact form factor, customizable drive with SDK, and industrial-grade performance). We eventually found Synapticon using search tools and initiated contact with the sales team from there.
We are integrating SOMANET Nodes into our next-generation force-controlled robot arm. The robot arm is used for robotic rehabilitation, as well as AI-integrated logistics tasks such as shelf picking.
The flexibility and adaptivity of Synapticon drives is the most important factor for us. Since we have an unconventional robot actuator design, we have unconventional requirements. The ability for us to customize the drive while building on top of the existing feature set is huge for us. We don’t have to worry about current control, motor calibration, sensor reading, etc. We can just implement our own motion control and features on top to save us a lot of time. EtherCAT is important for us too.
“As a startup, we want to be future proof, and using the most cutting-edge technology is the smart decision.”
Industrial-grade hardware and control performance. We are selling industrial grade robots, thus the drives need to match. We have a wide variety of sensors we use, and it’s nice that everything is supported.
Compact form factor is also very important for us. We want to make our robots more light, mobile, and integrateable.
Our Robot “Optimo” requires no cabinet or crazy external cabling since all the drives are housed in the robot arm itself.
For us, the ability to write a custom controller on top of industrial grade firmware and hardware reduced our development time greatly compared to building our own driver from scratch. This allowed us to implement a more rich featureset in our end product because we are not busy with the basic driver technology.
The price is similar to competing solutions. Considering availability and lead time – that has been doubtless.
Synapticon provides great support to their customers. The online documentation is fantastic, and the support engineers 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.
We are a robot manufacturing company. One of our core competencies is robot control – especially force-controlled robotics which is a paradigm shift from conventional position-controlled robotics.
AI and computer vision for difficult tasks in unstructured environments. This is built on the foundation of high-quality force control.
Force and impedance controlled manipulators give the best match for AI-integrated automation, because impedance control can absorb positional errors introduced by computer vision. It’s also safe in unstructured environments due to its compliant nature.
Force control is an interesting feature because many people are missing its potential. For example, conventional position-controlled robots have a very difficult time simply pressing against a wall or surface with a constant force. Something like this is straightforward for humans due to the nature of our muscles – they are compliant and force-controlled. Our Optimo robot can perform this task as easily as humans can – which has implications for tasks such as sanding, polishing, and buffing. Another example is placing objects delicately. In position controlled robots, an error of 1mm from computer vision can result in a broken item when placing. Some cobots can accomplish this by moving slowly until they read a force – but our compliant force control robot can move several times faster while being more sensitive and safe.
We are selling a force-controlled robot in collaboration with another company in the Asian market for use in robotic rehabilitation. Force control is paramount in neurological rehabilitation outcomes as it softly interacts with patients and allows for patients to initiate motion, which is the most important factor for neurological recovery. Almost no true competitors to this product exist in the market right now.
“One of the main reasons our high quality force control is possible is because of Synapticon’s high performing drivers – the computing power allows us to design interesting controllers that operate thousands of times per second deterministically.”
Our features are built on top of this fundamental control capability.
We are in growth mode right now, so our main focus is to scale our current product offerings and grow our sales. For every robot arm we sell, there are 7-8 Synapticon Node boards inside. Simply put, our future plan is to buy a lot more Synapticon products and we plan to migrate to the latest firmware which has even more useful features that we will use.