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KUKA introduces AR for robots

by Marco van der Hoeven

KUKA has introduced new augmented reality (AR) software, KUKA.MixedReality, designed to facilitate the setup and operation of robotic systems. This software combines the real and virtual worlds to enhance the environment of robotic cells with clear digital information accessible via smartphones.

The KUKA.MixedReality software is aimed at making robot startups fast, safe, and intuitive. By visualizing the robot cell environment live on a smartphone, it enables users to identify and mitigate potential hazards before the robot begins its operations. This feature is particularly useful for detecting possible interference or collisions, which can then be addressed proactively to prevent damage to the robot or its components.

The software comprises two main components: the KUKA.MixedReality Assistant app and the KUKA.MixedReality Safe technology package. The Assistant app is available for free download on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. It works by transmitting relevant information about the robot directly to the user’s mobile device via WLAN, eliminating the need for additional hardware like AR headsets. The KUKA.MixedReality Safe technology package, on the other hand, is installed on the robot controller and serves as a data source.

Key features of KUKA.MixedReality include the ability to simulate robot movement with a virtual gripper, allowing users to visualize and prevent potential collisions in the AR environment. This capability enhances both the safety and efficiency of the robot setup process. Additionally, the app displays various critical variables in real-time, such as Cartesian or violated monitoring spaces and safety-oriented tools, directly on the robot. Users can also view configuration parameters of these spaces or tools, aiding in a better understanding and management of the robotic system.

Roland Ritter, Portfolio Manager Simulation at KUKA, highlighted the significance of augmented and mixed reality in the field of robotics and automation. According to Ritter, KUKA.MixedReality not only simplifies robot installation but also improves safety, making it a valuable tool for customers regardless of their experience level in automation. The introduction of KUKA.MixedReality reflects the company’s commitment to incorporating advanced technological solutions to enhance the user experience in robotic automation.

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