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Augmented Reality Makes New Robot Startups Easier and Faster

Employing the power of smartphones and Augmented Reality (AR), KUKA has launched its new KUKA.MixedReality software that allows users to visualize the environment of robot cells live on their smartphones to support fast, safe and intuitive robot startups. The free mobile app displays tools and interference geometries for early detection of potential hazards that can then be eliminated before a robot even starts to work.

AR enables such intuitive robot startup assistance capability, connecting the real and virtual worlds to enrich the environment of robotic cells with clear, uncomplicated digital information. By quickly detecting and correcting errors, facilities accelerate installation and boost safety. For example, the software will simulate robot motion along with a virtual gripper and detect any potential collisions that arise in the AR environment. These are then resolved at an early stage in the real environment so that neither the robot nor the gripper is damaged.

“Augmented or mixed reality is a future-oriented topic that also offers promising opportunities in robotics,” said Roland Ritter, Portfolio Manager Simulation at KUKA. “KUKA.MixedReality makes robot installation more user friendly and safe. This benefits customers at all levels of experience in the field of automation.”

The KUKA.MixedReality Assistant app graphically displays all relevant variables directly for the robot in real time, including Cartesian or violated monitoring spaces, safety-oriented tools and tool spheres. Users can also view the corresponding configuration parameters of the spaces or tools.

KUKA.MixedReality is easy to set up and operate. Users simply install the KUKA.MixedReality Assistant on their smartphone or tablet via the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. All relevant information about the robot transmits directly to the mobile end device via WLAN through a router or access point – not a KUKA product – and displays visually on the mobile device. AR headsets or additional hardware are not required, and a KUKA.MixedReality Safe technology package installs in the robot controller as a data source, along with one of the KUKA.SafeOperation technology packages to use with the Safe functions.

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