COBOT: Human+Robots Collaboration!!

I first encountered cobot on TV on April 13 2018 during IPL match between RCB and KXIP. I was amazed to see a robot cheering its home team, later on I came to know it’s not a normal robot it’s a COBOT or Co-Bot where Co means Collaborative.

Cobot making it’s IPL Debut at the Chinnaswamy Stadium Bengaluru

Immediately as a tech enthusiast I thought to provide an awesome article on Cobots. So with wasting more time let’s get started, shall we?

#1. What are Cobots?

A cobot or co-robot (from collaborative robot) is a robot intended to physically interact with humans in a shared workspace. This is in contrast with other robots, designed to operate autonomously or with limited guidance, which is what most industrial robots were up until the decade of the 2010s.

ReThink Robotics Cobot at workstation

Cobotics is a neologism formed by the “collaborative” and “robotics” terms. In the present study, a cobot is defined as a robot that has been designed and built to collaborate with humans. A workstation including a robot and a human collaborating is called a cobotic system.

#2. What Exactly Collaborative Means?

The definition of Collaborative is ‘produced by or involving two or more parties working together’. In Hindi it means सहयोग. Many people think cobot are same as normal robot.

The difference is not in purpose or use of robot but on functionality and precision. Collaborative robots as they are known to the cognoscenti, are robots that are designed to operate collaboratively with humans.

Universal Robot

#3. Journey of Cobots

Cobots were invented in 1996 by J. Edward Colgate and Michael Peshkin, professors at Northwestern University. Later on in 1995 General Motors Foundation research grant intended to find a way to make robots or robot-like equipment safe enough to team with people.

A Z-Lift Assist developed by UC, Berkely is tested at a GM plant. (Image courtesy Prasad Akella.)

#3. Difference Between Robots And Cobots

  • Cobots are designed to work alongside human employees, while industrial robots do work in place of those employees.
  • A cobot can assist employees with work that may be too dangerous, strenuous, or tedious for them to accomplish on their own, creating a safer, more efficient workplace without eliminating factory jobs involved in the actual fabrication of a product. ‘Safety is Priority in Cobots
  • By contrast, industrial robots are used to automate the manufacturing process almost entirely without human help on the manufacturing floor.
  • This, in turn, frees up employees for more meaningful tasks that are less mundane and are less prone to repetitive motion injuries.
  • Traditional industrial robots usually have 6 axis with the last 3 axis intersecting in a wrist, while cobots usually have 6 and 7 axis with many offsets.
  • There are many applications of Cobots mainly includes : Packaging, Pick & Place, Machine Tending, Parts Assembly, Testing, Inspection etc. 


#4. Leading Companies

1. Rethink Robotics released an industrial cobot, Baxter, in 2012 and and smaller, faster collaborative robot Sawyer in 2015.

2.  FANUC – the world’s largest producer of industrial robots – released its first collaborative robot in 2015 – the FANUC CR-35iA with a heavy 35 kg payload.

3. KUKA: German based industrial robot company first cobot LBR3


4.  Universal Robots: First cobot, the UR5 released in 2008, In 2012 the UR10 cobot was released, and later a table top cobot, UR3, in 2015.


#5. My Own DIY Digital Time Plotter Demo 

We discussed a lot of thing about cobot and robot then I’m sharing a DIY project related to robotics and came up with robotics ARM which writes digital clock time using 2- axis arm.

Check the GIF below it’s a demo project here arm writing 0 0 : 0 1 (Hour:Seconds)

References : 

  • Universal Robots blog 
  • Cobot Wikipedia
  • Djuric, A. M., Urbanic, R. J. and Rickli, J. L. (2016) ‘A Framework for Collaborative Robot (CoBot) Integration in Advanced Manufacturing Systems’, SAE International Journal of Materials and Manufacturing, 9(2), pp. 2016-01–0337. doi: 10.4271/2016-01-0337

Suraj Gehlot

Maker passionate about writing content on Technology IoT | AI/ML | Electronics | Education | Concepts | DIY

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