If you are interested in robotics development you will have seen the revolution in the sector. Things like self driving cars are making all the headlines, but the work happening to introduce the world of AI, machine vision, and machine learning is fast becoming the foundation for the next phase of robotics.
By combining machine vision with learning capabilities, roboticists are opening a wide range of new possibilities like vision-based drones, robotic harvesting, robotic sorting in recycling, and warehouse pick and place. We're finally at the inflection point: The moment where these applications are becoming good enough to provide real value in semi-structured environments where traditional robots could never succeed.
For the past sixty years, we've had highly capable robots. However, they just were not very smart. So highly capable robots ended up constrained to factory floors, mostly car and electronics factories doing pre-programmed motions. These robots are very reliable at doing the same thing over and over.
The quiet revolution is occurring in the area of artificial intelligence (A.I) Robotics. A.I robots are empowered with sophisticated A.I models and vision. They can see, learn, and react to make the right decision based on the current situation.
Most people are familiar with self-driving cars because they're very relatable to our everyday lives but the thought of A.I powered robots have a Terminator feel to it, Meanwhile, A.I Robotics is taking off in areas of our world that are less visible but critical to our livelihoods. E-commerce fulfilment centres, warehouses, farms, hospitals, recycling centres. All areas with a big impact on our lives, but not activities that the average person is seeing or directly interacting with daily.
Traditional robotic automation relied on very clever engineering to allow pre-programmed-motion robots to be helpful. Ok, that worked in car and electronics factories, but just wont cut the mustard in complex environments this is until the natural development of A.I & the game changer which is computer vision.
Giving robots the gift of sight completely changes what's possible. Computer Vision, the area of A.I concerned with making computers and robots see, has undergone a night-and-day transformation over the past 5-10 years thanks to Deep Learning.
Deep Learning trains large neural networks (based on examples) to do pattern recognition; in this case, pattern recognition enables understanding of what's where in images. And then Deep Learning, of course, is providing capabilities beyond seeing. It allows for robots to also learn what actions to take to complete a task, for example, picking and packing an item to fulfil an online order.
Before Deep Learning broke onto the scene, it was impossible to make a robot "see" (i.e. understand what's in an image). Consequently, in the pre-Deep Learning days, a lot of energy and cleverness went into researching alternative sensor mechanisms.
Adding in a camera image, we humans can see what's there, so we know the information has been captured by the camera; we just need a way for the computer or robot to be able to extract that same information from the image. A.I advances, specifically Deep Learning, have completely changed what's possible in that regard. We're on a path to build A.I that can interpret images as reliably as humans can.
A.I & computer vision in practice
We have a customer who runs multiple large construction sites across the UK and they have the same common enemy that most construction sites do, people and their lack of awareness when it comes to health and safety.
The most common site health and safety failure is staff not wearing the correct PPE especially hard hats, now I've only been on a few construction sites in my life time but I would not want to go on site without a hard hat, or a suit of armour if I could get away with it but some people do.
This is where the technology comes in, by using cameras that are linked to software which has A.I embedded site managers are notified if staff don’t have the correct PPE.
Patient care monitors
Patient care is the primary focus for care homes and any technology that can help deliver 1st class care should be high on the priority list of care home leadership teams. Balancing the individual care of patients against costs is not a very nice thing to have to do.
This is where the technology helps, the adoption of A.I embedded sensors to alert staff when vulnerable patients have fallen has helped the care home provide data on the care performance to potential new patients families which is helping drive business growth.
Interested in learning more ?
Get in touch with one of our team today and let us help you understand where you can benefit from A.I, robotics, computer vision & deep learning.
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