Rexroth has been using remote support for some time, incorporating virtual reality into field support for repair in factories. Now a Japanese university is kicking it up a notch with wearable robots. Called Fusion, this robot takes collaboration to a whole new level.
In the context of a remote repair, the on-site technician can wear the robot like a backpack. The expert at a remote location can see the situation from the tech’s point of view with a camera that peers right over the wearer’s shoulder. This can improve the situation immediately, since the tech and the remote expert will see almost exactly the same thing.
The expert controls the robot’s arms, and so can point to items and demonstrate movements to clarify verbal instructions. This can speed up the process and make it safer, since communication can be an issue in remote support. All that back and forth with “Do you mean the red one? The one on the left? Well, I’d call it red. Not the orange one…” is no longer needed.
The robot arms can also be attached to the tech’s arms so that the remote expert can actually move the tech’s arms as needed. The robot’s hands are removed for this mode of use, and the arms are strapped on with wristbands. The arms can pull the wearer in a particular direction to induce walking, too. This has potential for creepiness or even scariness, but we assume that human technicians would get used to it.
It’s reminiscent of the DaVinci robot surgical assistant, but it uses a human being to take the needed actions. This has the dual effect of the getting the job done when a robot couldn’t actually effect the repairs, and training the human being for future repairs.
Is Fusion for you?
Rexroth is not currently using Fusion for remote support. In fact, nobody is yet. Fusion is still considered emerging technology and it’s not yet on the market.
It was designed by a Syrian grad student and a Japanese professor, Yamen Saraiji and Kouta Minamizaw.
No word yet on when Fusion will hit the market, but we can certainly see the value.
In the meantime, if you need support with your Rexroth industrial electric motion control, we’re here. As Rexroth specialists, we can provide fast assistance with new or old servos, drives, controllers, and power supplies.