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Thursday, February 16, 2012

With robots marching in, Indian industry gets a defence spin-off touch

 By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Chennai: Robots that were tutored and nurtured in Indian defence laboratories are steadily heading on the industrial highway to take up tasks that are routine, repetitive and hazardous in nature. Bangalore-based Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR) which developed the robotic-arm technologies for the defence forces, are now sharing the know-how with industries, as a spin-off.
The CAIR sources tell Express that the state-of-the-art manipulator technology has been leveraged for medical applications, especially for laparoscopic surgery trainers. This simulator can train surgeons in essential laparoscopy surgery skills such as hand-eye coordination, precise manipulation of objects using laparoscopy surgical tools. Technologies from robotics and virtual reality fields were utilized to develop this simulator.
The compact robotic controller technology is yet another application that came as a boon for Indian educational institutions for delivering effective courses on robotics. “The design focuses on low-cost manufacturing, open architecture controller and safety for enabling student-oriented projects on robotics. The inbuilt exercises can aid the students in understanding the fundamentals of robotic systems. The software available with the system can be used to develop customized algorithms for robot control thus encouraging research in this filed. The robots are based on the human anatomy of waist, shoulder, elbow and wrist,” sources said.
Plane-maker Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) too tasted the robotic run-away success, by adapting them for automated inspection of aircraft parts. “With the aircraft wing being very large in size with complex surface geometries, the need for developing large work-space robotic system capable of complex 3D motion, was essential.  Today, we are using them at our production facilities, including for the inspection of Tejas’ wing inspections,” HAL sources said. Here, the CAIR product was benchmarked against the available imported systems.
Indian power plants use robotics solutions during inspections of extreme complex systems. ”Due to environmental hazards, automatic remote inspection systems are the preferred choice as compared to direct inspection by humans. A robot has been developed with a lightweight foldable modular system integrated with computer vision for this purpose,” sources said.
Industries such as die casting and ship-building use robotics for applications such as pick-and-place, welding, scanning and painting.
Copyright@The New Indian Express
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