A New Way of Controlling Robots

The Guardian XT robot, expected to come on the market within the next couple of years, has an innovative approach to motion control. Instead of programming the robot’s movements, an operator controls them through an exoskeleton called a SenSuit garment.

This allows the Guardian XT to perform complex tasks in unstructured environments. It responds to the movements of the operator. Using vibrotactile feedback from integrated sensors in the SenSuit garment along with a head-mounted display, the operator can monitor the Guardian XT’s movements and see the results of its work.

The Guardian XT can lift as much as 200 pounds, and can of course work in hazardous environments where humans would be in danger. The operator can work on ground level while the robot works on a boom lift or a bucket truck. The Guardian XT can use power tools and manipulate parts and components, including working with heavy items above its head. It can handle hazardous materials, as well.

Guardian XT: Tree Trimming Demo from Sarcos Robotics on Vimeo.

Bypassing problems

Having a robot mimic human movements bypasses a lot of the problems associated with robotic movements. No machine learning is required, because the human operators can use their natural judgement, as the makers put it, instead of breaking down their actions into steps a robot can learn.

The Guardian XT system will use augmented reality in the future, creating a collaboration between robots and humans that can use the advantages of automation to bypass the problems humans have with some jobs, including physical danger, getting tired, and stability in tough positions.

Having a dedicated human operator fir each robot is not a great overall plan for industrial automation, of course. The Guardian XT augments human work. It doesn’t take on the work of a human. Robot work replaces human work for extra productivity and cost savings. Neither of those things happens with the Guardian XT.

Back at the factory, automated machinery must continue to be the norm. Rexroth makes some of the best motion control on the planet. We’re proud to be Rexroth specialists. When you need Rexroth support or service, we’re here for you. We offer factory repair and reman, plus the largest inventory of emergency replacement parts in the nation. Call us for immediate assistance.

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