These days, it isn’t all that hard to imagine a time when AI-based systems will develop and produce other smart machines that can in turn automatically manufacture everything that other machines - and of course, people - need. Until then, people and machines are just going to have to get along together. Unfortunately, that can be tricky - particularly given the damage our relatively brittle framework and vulnerable shell can sustain in collisions with robust robotic colleagues. Solving that problem requires not only appropriate safety measures, but new means of communication as well. The specialists at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) have devised just such a solution, which was on show as part of a hybrid production scenario exhibited at CEBIT 2018 in Hannover.
Visitors to the stand run by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) got to see for themselves just how the Laser Projection System from LAP GMBH helps robots and humans communicate smartly to work as teams in dynamic production scenarios. For instance, in this kind of hybrid production set-up, an autonomous mobile robot platform can take on a transport order and deliver components to the appropriate workstation as and when they are needed. Laser projection is used to notify the human worker that the delivery robot is on its way, backed up with text or symbols to advise on its arrival time and target position. This visual information helps employees to communicate with the robots so they can incorporate important factors into their planning and activities.