This time of yr is when many people begin our new robotics initiatives. However beware! Do not fall into the lure of over-complicating your functions.
“It is simply an excessive amount of work! It is too sophisticated!!!”
Have you ever ever heard your self say this when contemplating a brand new mission?
Many people attempt to begin new initiatives at the moment of yr. It is pure. With the New 12 months comes the promise of 12 new months of progress, productiveness, and prosperity. We have a look at all the probabilities of robotics and we predict “This yr, I need a piece of that!”
The issue is that we frequently over-complicate issues, particularly on the subject of robotics. We attempt to tackle an excessive amount of without delay and, consequently, we find yourself worse off than we have been earlier than.
Over the past Three years, my New 12 months’s Phrase (I do not do resolutions) has been precisely the identical yearly. That phrase has been: “Simplify.”
In order for you success in your robotics initiatives this yr, I would counsel that “simplify” needs to be your New 12 months’s Phrase too. As a result of over-complication is without doubt one of the greatest roadblocks to deploying robots to your small business.
Why we over-complicate robotics options
The world of robotics is stuffed with complicated options to over-complicated issues.
Once I was a robotics researcher, I noticed a variety of initiatives which made me suppose “Why go to the hassle of creating a robotic do this!?” Usually, there was a a lot easier resolution to the issue which the researchers have been attempting to unravel. For instance, researchers would possibly spend years growing a posh algorithm to permit a robotic to select up a badly positioned object. When it was completed, the algorithm would nonetheless take 10 minutes to select up the thing. Higher half presentation would have solved the issue immediately.
After all, utility is not at all times the purpose of robotics analysis, nevertheless it definitely is for these of us who wish to use robots to enhance productiveness.
Sadly, this tendency to over-complicate issues will not be restricted to robotics analysis. It additionally turns up in industrial robotics. We have a tendency to select extra complicated issues and options with out recognizing that easier options can be found.
An Train: Attempt to remedy this robotics downside
This is a psychological train you can strive :
- How would you program a robotic arm (with whichever of the Robotiq Grippers you want) to make an egg omelet from scratch?
- What steps would the robotic must undergo to go from the uncooked meals to a completed omelet?
Attempt to think about no less than one resolution to this downside earlier than you learn additional.
The answer would not must be excellent or detailed, simply consider the tough steps the robotic would make.
Give your self 2 minutes most to consider it now.
How did you remedy the issue?
This is one instance of the steps we might attempt to program into our robotic arm. I believe that many people would select an answer a bit like this one on our first strive.
Choose up the pan with the gripper and place it onto to the cooker. Activate the cooker ring. Open the field of eggs and slowly carry it out an egg (utilizing the Three-Finger Gripper as it’s best for spherical objects). Gently break the egg on the sting of the pan and open its contents into the pan. Put down the shell, decide up a whisk and make a whisking movement within the pan to combine the egg. Await the egg to prepare dinner. Put down the whisk and decide up a spatula. Choose up the omelet and place it onto a plate.
Appears like a posh program, proper?
Was your resolution as complicated as mine? Or did you intuitively simplify the method?
I am keen to guess that your resolution was extra sophisticated than it wanted to be. That is regular. We take into consideration how we ourselves would full the duty and we attempt to program the identical sequence into the robotic.
We regularly overlook to simplify the duty proper at first.
How the daddy of robotics would have solved this downside
I exploit the instance of creating an omelet as a result of it’s much like one utilized by Joseph Engelberger — the inventor of the primary industrial robotic who is usually known as the daddy of contemporary robotics.
An interviewer as soon as requested him if he might make a robotic which might manipulate and break an egg for cooking.
Joseph Engelberger replied:
“[Yes you could do it] however the likelihood is you are going to use the egg as a fluid, not as an egg. You do not have to undergo all that agony of doing that as a result of you should buy [cartons of pre-cracked eggs]. Simply take the fluid and pour it out.“
Look once more at my resolution above. What number of steps might I take away by simplifying the “half presentation” (i.e the type of the eggs)? Additionally, whereas we’re engaged on simplification, there is not any want for the spatula — the robotic might simply decide up the pan and flip the cooked omelet onto the plate.
With these two easy modifications, I rely that I might cut back the variety of steps from 15 to simply 10. Plus, the duty would now require a lot much less dexterity because the robotic now not wants to govern the egg or spatula. Plus, by making a custom-built pan deal with, the duty might even be achieved with a 2-Finger Gripper.
Engelberger took a massively pragmatic strategy to robotics, as I defined in an article we published about him when he died three years ago. If a less complicated resolution was accessible, he would decide it over a extra complicated one. The performance and utility of robots was much more essential to him than flashy know-how.
This yr, we must always all take a leaf out of Joseph Engelberger’s e-book and look for easy options to uncomplicated issues.
Learn how to simplify any robotic job this yr
How will you begin simplifying your personal robotic initiatives this yr to make sure most success?
We created an eBook which explains the whole lot! It guides you thru all of the steps to doc your present handbook course of, formulate the automated course of, and simplify it. Click here to get a copy of the eBook: How to Simplify a Complex Task.
Observe these steps — and resist the urge to over-complicate issues — and you’ll make sure that your robotics initiatives this yr would be the most efficient but!