KUKA Develops Augmented Reality for New Robots

The new KUKA.MixedReality software from KUKA visualizes the environment of robot cells live on smartphone to support fast, safe and intuitive robot start-up. The mobile app displays tools and interference geometries to enable early detection of potential hazards. This way, users can eliminate them before a robot starts work.

Augmented reality (AR) enables intuitive robot startup. It connects the real and virtual worlds to enrich the environment of the robotic cell with clear, uncomplicated digital information. Users can detect and correct errors quickly, which accelerates installation and increases safety. For example, the software can simulate robot motion with a virtual gripper. To prevent damage to the robot or gripper, any potential collisions that show up in the AR environment can be prevented early in the real environment.

KUKA.MixedReality supports quick, safe, easy robot startup.

The software can simulate robot movement with a virtual gripper, for example. If potential collisions are detected in the AR environment, they can be prevented at an early stage in the real environment. This way, neither the robot nor the gripper is damaged. KUKA.MixedReality consists of the KUKA.MixedReality Assistant app and the additional KUKA.MixedReality Safe technology package. Specifically, this installs on the robot controller.

Set up Quickly– with a Free App and Very Little Hardware

KUKA.MixedReality is easy to set up and operate. Mainly, users install the free KUKA.MixedReality Assistant on their smartphone or tablet via the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. All relevant information about the robot transmits directly to the mobile end device via WLAN through a router or access point (not a KUKA product) and displays visually on the mobile device. No AR headset or additional hardware is required. Simply install the KUKA.MixedReality Safe technology package on the robot controller as a data source, along with one of the KUKA.SafeOperation technology packages to use with Safe functions.

To use KUKA.MixedReality, users need a free app and a technology package on the robot controller.

Graphical Display Options with KUKA.MixedReality

Moreover, the KUKA.MixedReality Assistant app graphically displays all relevant variables directly on the robot in real time. Among them include Cartesian or violated monitoring spaces, safety-oriented tools and tool spheres. Also, users can view the corresponding configuration parameters of the spaces or tools. Interested parties already can download and test the free application. The integrated demo mode enables function testing without a real robot.

Automation novices and experienced users all can use KUKA.MixedReality.

Augmented Reality as an Opportunity for Robotics and Automation

“Augmented or mixed reality is a future-oriented topic that also offers promising opportunities in robotics,” said Roland Ritter, Portfolio Manager Simulation at KUKA. “KUKA.MixedReality makes robot installation more user friendly and safe. This benefits customers at all levels of experience in the field of automation.”