Nikon Announces Dynamic Visual Acuity For Robots

“The fusion of robots and vision systems will bring a paradigm shift to manufacturing” stated Nikon at the introduction of it Robot Vision system development at CES 2022. Nikon’s robot vision can make robot movements extremely fast, accurate, and flexible. “Nikon will contribute to the development of robotics by making full use of its developed camera and precision technologies.”

Robot technology is essential for solving a variety of increasingly difficult challenges, such as manufacturing automation and a declining workforce. However, conventional robots have not been able to fully demonstrate their abilities due to the limitations of vision. Therefore, Nikon has developed a dynamic visual acuity system that goes far beyond the human eye by combining laser technology, X-ray technology, and optical measurement technology.

Robots equipped with Nikon’s robot vision not only move as instructed like a conventional robot arm, but also flexibly respond to unexpected events as if they were alive. This vision system is stated to improves productivity and dramatically raises levels of manufacturing.

Nikon will continue to evolve its robot vision and advance a paradigm shift to keep industry sustainable.

A recent article titled Robot Vision Systems with “Eyes” that Outperform Humans discussing the development was published in the Wall Street Journal. An extract from the article states:

Visual acuity is not the only feature of the robot vision system that sets it apart from others. Koji Hosomi, who is in charge of development, points out two other major advantages.

“The first is that it greatly reduces the need for teaching and calibration,” he says. “Conventional robots must be ‘taught’ the correct motion path and carefully calibrated to correct for deviations from that path, both of which require a high level of skill. This has often been an impediment to the introduction of robots at production sites. The robot vision system we are currently developing can autonomously recognize the shape of objects, which solves this problem,” Mr. Hosomi says.

The second advantage is mobility. “Until now, industrial robots that were linked to vision systems were particularly difficult to move once they had been installed on a production line. When the image recognition function is built into a robot, however, they can be moved much more easily,” Mr. Hosomi explains.

With the trend toward high-mix, variable-volume manufacturing gaining momentum, this kind of flexibility and mobility can be an immediate asset to the factory floor.

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