Tactile Telerobot by Converge Reaches Finals of $10 Million ANA Avatar XPRIZE

Judges recognize the world’s first haptic robotic system to transmit realistic touch feedback to an operator located anywhere in the world

Converge Robotics Group reached the finals of the $10M ANA Avatar XPRIZE competition for an avatar system that can transport human dexterity to a remote location in real-time.

Converge Robotics Group is an international collaboration between Shadow Robot Company, HaptX, and Tangible Research responsible for developing the Tactile Telerobot, a high-fidelity dexterous telerobot in use in the U.S., U.K., and Asia, and now advanced to the ANA Avatar XPRIZE finals.

The Tactile Telerobot features Shadow Robot’s Dexterous Hands, HaptX Gloves DK2 with true-contact haptics, SynTouch’s biomimetic tactile sensors, and Universal Robots robotic arms to allow an operator to perform complex human tasks instantaneously across the globe such as handling objects in laboratories or workshops. The Tactile Telerobot mimics your movements, displaying human-like and reactive behaviours. Users can feel what the robot hands are touching, making it possible to connect humanity across vast distances like never before.

The groundbreaking technology of the Tactile Telerobot has been described as “weirdly natural” by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who added, “The tactile feedback is really tremendous.” The Telerobot’s most recent improvements for the XPRIZE Semifinals, hosted in Miami, include the use of high-fidelity audio and visual technology and other safety and usability improvements. It meets the competition’s criteria for a non-autonomous Avatar System with which an operator can see, hear, and interact within a remote environment in a manner that feels as if they are truly there.

Rich Walker, Managing Director of the Shadow Robot Company, said, “We’re coming up to Shadow’s 25th anniversary as a company and what a way to lead up to it by reaching the finals for a four-year global competition! The Shadow Dexterous Hands have been a sought-after product among the research community ever since we formally registered as a company. What the Hands can achieve today, on their own and as part of the Tactile Telerobot, is truly revolutionary and it’ll only get better.”

“Lifelike touch feedback is a critical component of transporting human presence,” said Jake Rubin, founder and CEO of HaptX.  “The Tactile Telerobot demonstrates the difference that true-contact haptics makes in the field of robotic teleoperation, and we’re delighted for HaptX and our partners in Converge Robotics Group to receive this recognition from the ANA Avatar XPRIZE judges.” 

“I’m proud of the accomplishments of our international and interdisciplinary team,” said Jeremy Fishel, founder and CTO of Tangible Research and Converge’s XPRIZE team lead. “We’ve brought together experts in robotic dexterity and haptics with the amazing technology of our partners and collaborators to do amazing things.”

In the XPRIZE Semifinals, the Converge Robotics Group debuted their collaboration with Voysys, a company that specialises in high-quality, low-latency video communication for the teleoperation of vehicles and machines.

“The combination of the Voysys video pipeline with ultra-low latency, the HaptX Gloves DK2, and the sensitive robot hand from Shadow Robot truly revolutionizes telepresence and makes remote working possible for a whole range of new industries,” said Magnus Persson, CEO of Voysys.

“Advancing to the ANA Avatar XPRIZE finals alongside excellent competition is a significant milestone in this journey,” said the Converge Robotics Group in a statement “We look forward to showing how our Telerobot system can be used by ordinary people in amazing ways, making engineering jobs safer, reducing the need for global travel (and CO2 emissions) and letting us spend more time at home with our loved ones.”

Robotik zum Anfassen: Universal Robots begrüßt MCI | Die Unternehmerische Hochschule® als autorisiertes Trainingszentrum

Innsbruck / München, 25. August 2021 – Praxisnahe Robotik-Schulungen für Österreich: Seit Mai 2021 ist das Innsbrucker Zentrum für Produktion, Robotik & Automatisierung ein autorisiertes Trainingszentrum von Universal Robots (UR). Das Zentrum ist eine gemeinsame Initiative der Unternehmerischen Hochschule® und der Industriellenvereinigung (IV) Tirol. Der Cobot-Marktführer aus dem dänischen Odense möchte mit dem Trainingsangebot vor Ort den Zugang zur Automatisierung für KMUs in Österreich noch einfacher gestalten. Voraussetzungen für die Autorisierung waren neben der geeigneten Schulungshardware auch zertifizierte, fachlich und didaktisch erfahrene Trainer.

„Unsere Schulungen ermöglichen allen Teilnehmern fundiertes Robotik-Wissen. Von den Basics der Programmierung in den Core Schulungen bis hin zur Umsetzung einer komplexen Cobot-Anwendung: In allen Trainings setzen wir auf praxisnahe Wissensvermittlung und höchste Qualität“, erklärt Benjamin Massow, Leiter des Zentrums für Produktion, Robotik & Automatisierung.

Trainingszentrum in Tirol: Internationale Qualität, regionaler Support
„Wir freuen uns sehr, dass Unternehmen in Österreich jetzt dank unserer Kooperation ein hochqualifizierter lokaler Ansprechpartner für Robotik-Schulungen zur Seite steht“, sagt Andrea Alboni, General Manager Western Europe bei Universal Robots. „Um an einer Schulung von UR teilzunehmen, müssen sie ihre qualifizierten Fachkräfte nicht bis nach Wien oder ins Ausland schicken. So sind diese im Notfall schnell zurück in der Firma und können sich dennoch ein fundiertes Robotik-Wissen aufbauen.“

„Bei null starten“: Neue Kurse im Herbst und Winter
Interessierte können sich demnächst ein eigenes Urteil bilden und dafür an einem der zahlreichen Workshops teilnehmen. So bietet das Trainingszentrum im Herbst und Winter 2021 neue UR-Kurse an. Auf dem Programm stehen dann unter anderem Core Schulungen sowie Unboxing Workshops, bei denen die Robotersysteme ausgepackt, getestet und programmiert werden. Benjamin Massow weiß, was die Teilnehmer hierbei erwartet: „Anwender/innen gehen in diesen Kurs ohne die geringsten Vorkenntnisse, und einen halben Tag später haben sie erste Ideen für die eigene Cobot-Anwendung.“


MCI und Universal Robots – Partnerschaft für Industrie 4.0
Universal Robots und das Zentrum für Robotik, Produktion & Automatisierung am MCI in Innsbruck kooperieren bereits seit 2020. Ziel ist es, Unternehmen bei der Implementierung neuer Technologien zu unterstützen. Unternehmen und Studierenden soll aufgezeigt werden, welche Möglichkeiten innovative Technologien und methodische Vorgehensweisen innerhalb der smarten Produktion bieten. Die Partner setzen dieses Vorhaben gemeinsam mit Schmachtl, einem österreichischen Distributor von Universal Robots, um, und halten dafür auf dem Campus des MCI Veranstaltungen, Workshops und Seminare ab. Darüber hinaus sind gemeinsame Forschungsprojekte geplant, in denen die Unternehmen kollaborierende Roboter von UR nutzen können.

Cobot-Pioneer enables modern educational didactics

Munich, November 10, 2020 – While more and more manufacturing companies are using collaborative robots, technology has so far been treated as a secondary consideration in vocational training. Current curricula largely ignore the increasing automation. Universal Robots (UR) wants to change this: With UNIVERSAL ROBOTS EDUCATION, the world market leader in collaborative robotics has developed a holistic concept that allows training officers to easily integrate the topic into the teaching process.

“Our new concept makes it easier for training companies and vocational schools to impart relevant automation knowledge in a practical way”, explains Andrea Alboni, Sales Manager D/A/CH at Universal Robots (Germany) GmbH. “We are thus reacting to an acute discrepancy between training content and professional practice. We finally need up-to-date training directly on the robot in order to qualify the skilled workers of tomorrow for working in modern manufacturing contexts”.

Five modules for hands-on learning


UNIVERSAL ROBOTS EDUCATION is a didactically holistic concept. On the one hand, the measures contained in the program pick up both teachers and those responsible for training as well as students by creating the necessary knowledge base on both sides. On the other hand, theory and practice go hand in hand to ensure the greatest possible learning success. Under these premises, the concept is divided into five building blocks:
  • In the free online training courses of the UR Academy, trainees learn the basics of programming.
  • With the help of the offline simulator they practice programming on their PC, on the UR user interface. Afterwards, the created program can be tested on a real Cobot.
  • The hardware learning stations each include a real robot arm on which trainees can safely try out various applications.
  • Teaching materials support the teachers in their lesson planning and offer students the opportunity to deepen their knowledge.
  • In face-to-face training sessions, teachers and training officers train themselves to prepare for teaching with Cobots.

Specialists for the industry of tomorrow


“In many areas of the working world, collaborating robots are already part of the standard inventory today,” Alboni is convinced. “If companies take this to heart in their training operations, they not only give their trainees a clear knowledge advantage. At the same time, they are investing in their own future, because skilled workers with robotics know-how are increasingly essential for competitive success – now also beyond the manufacturing industry in logistics, trade or the laboratory sector.

Modernizing training in SMEs

With the new concept universal robot addresses itself beside vocational schools also to small and medium-size training enterprises. These companies play a central role in the German apprenticeship system: around 80 percent of apprentices in Germany complete their training there. Thanks to the space-saving, profitable lightweight robotics from Universal Robots, automation is now also affordable for SMEs. The industry pioneer has thus sustainably lowered access barriers. Since entering the market in 2008, Universal Robots has sold more than 46,000 Cobots that make the work of employees in companies around the world easier.

https://www.universal-robots.com/de/education/

Translated with www.DeepL.com

A robot’s range quickly extended with 7th axis from igus

UR (Universal Robots) and robolink robots acquire a 5-times larger action radius thanks to a completely new solution

igus now offers a directly ready-to-connect 7th axis so that a robot can move over a distance of several metres. The new complete system consists of a maintenance-free drylin ZLW toothed belt axis with corresponding adapter plate, switch cabinet, cables and software integration. For easy integration of the axis and therefore of the robot, igus has developed two adapter kits for robolink and UR robots. They enable fast and, above all, cost-effective low cost automation.

Robots insert workpieces into a milling machine, dispense chocolate bars from vending machines and place crates on pallets, which are then stacked. But how can they move vertically, horizontally or overhead in a flexible manner? The answer is a 7th axis. Specifically for linear adjustment, igus has developed a lubrication-free, lightweight flat axis with a stroke of up to 6m and a positioning accuracy of 0.5mm with the help of its drylin linear construction kit. To ensure that the axis can be easily combined with a robot, igus now offers overall solutions for UR3, UR5 and UR10 robots (Universal Robots), robolink DP robots and DCi robots. “A customer who acquires the new complete system receives, on the one hand, an adapter plate for easy attachment of the robot and the energy chain to the axis and, on the other, the corresponding integration solution, in other words the switch cabinet with cables, motor controller and the respective software solution”, explains Alexander Mühlens, Head of Automation Technology at igus GmbH. “If a robolink robot is used, the 7th axis can be easily controlled by means of the igus robot control software. For UR robots, we supply an UR-CAP as a direct integration solution, including all the electrical modules needed.” This means that the robot can be installed and put to work within just a few minutes.

Ready-to-connect 7th axis in desired length

Users can configure the appropriate complete solution online at https://www.igus.eu/info/configurator7th-axis-for-universal-robots. The 7th axis is supplied by igus as a complete system that is ready to connect immediately, consisting of a drylin ZLW-20 toothed belt axis in the desired length exactly to the millimetre, plus the connecting cables, the switch cabinet, the power electronics, the software integration and the corresponding adapter set. Alternatively, the adapter set is separately available consisting of adapter plate and control system.