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Integrated Industry

The cloud rapidly teaches tricks to robots

Ericsson, Wandelbots and TU Dresden show how to turn a standard industrial robot into a smart machine with cloud intelligence and fast 5G radio.

11 Mar. 2018
Roland Freist
The cloud rapidly teaches tricks to robots

Ericsson , a Swedish provider of communications technology, showed in a demo at the Mobile World Congress, together with the Dresden start-up Wandelbots and TU Dresden , how to turn a robot into a smart sorting machine . They attached cameras to the robot arms and connected them via 5G mobile radio to a cloud application for this purpose. Subsequently, red and blue balls were poured into the machine, to represent two different materials. Due to the short latency of the 5G network of about 20 ms, the cameras were able to send the images of the balls to the cloud application so fast that they could send a command to the robot arm to catch the balls before they hit the ground. At the same time a sorting process was triggered. Ericsson calls it a virtually expanded machine in their press release.

Wandelbots GmbH, a spin-off from the Faculty of Computer Science of TU Dresden , handled the robot control in this demo. The company specializes in a new method of machine programming, where people use special, sensor-equipped jackets to perform the movements required to be executed . The wearables relay the data from the sensors to a computer, which in turn controls the robot. According to Wandelbot, this method is significantly faster and less expensive than traditional robot programming. German semiconductor manufacturer, Infineon , is one of the first customers.