Using Multi-Axis Sensors to Bring Robotics to Life

The advent of robotics brought with it the expansion of machine capabilities across many industries. The range of robotics today spans industrial, entertainment, autonomous, medical, educational, defense and consumer robots.

As with all invention and innovation, the demands for more data and precision testing have grown dramatically in recent years. Due to the nature of robotic movement, and the engineering that must be done to make this movement work, testing sensor technologies are advancing to improve robotics capabilities and to make them more accurate.

In the force measurement world, one of the best sensor devices that lends itself perfectly to robotics are multi-axis sensors. Interface’s multi-axis sensors are designed to provide the most comprehensive data points for advanced testing. With our industry-leading reliability and accuracy, Interface’s multi-axis sensors can provide the data our customers need to ensure performance and safety requirements are met in their robotic designs.

Multi-axis sensors can provide several benefits for use in robotics, as they allow for accurately measuring the robot’s position, orientation, and movement. Here are some ways that robots can benefit from multi-axis sensors:

  • Improved accuracy: Multi-axis sensors provide more accurate readings of a robot’s position and orientation, allowing it to perform tasks with greater precision and accuracy. This can be particularly important for tasks that require precision accuracy, such as assembly or inspection.
  • Enhanced safety: Multi-axis sensors help to improve the safety of robots by detecting when the robot is approaching an object or a person and slowing down or stopping to prevent collisions. This can be particularly important when robots are working near human workers.
  • Greater flexibility: Multi-axis sensors allow robots to perform a wider range of tasks, as they can adapt to changes in the environment or the task at hand. For example, a robot with multi-axis sensors can adjust its position and orientation to grip an object from a variety of angles, or to perform a task in a confined space.
  • Faster response time: Multi-axis sensors can provide real-time feedback on the robot’s movement, allowing it to adjust more quickly and with greater accuracy. This can help to improve the speed and efficiency of the robot’s performance.

Multi-Axis Robotic Arm Using Force Plate

In this application note, we highlight a customer that needs to measure the reaction forces of their robotic arm for safety purposes. The reaction loads occur at the robotic arm’s base; therefore, they need a force measurement system at the base of the robotic arm. Interface suggests using our force plate option to install at the base of the robotic arm. The solutions includes 3-Axis Force Load Cells are installed between two force plates, then installed at the bottom of the arm. This creates one large 6-Axis Force Plate. The sensors force data is recorded and displayed through the two BX8 Multi-Channel Bridge Amplifier and Data Acquisition Systems onto the customer’s computer. Read more about this application here.

Sensors must be able to provide the robust data requirements needed in designing and using robotics. Testing for industrial robots, which are used in manufacturing and assembly processes to automate tasks that are repetitive, dangerous or require precision, need exact measurements to clear the path to use. This data from sensors is used in design and production to evaluate reliability and quality of craftmanship. These types of robots are used in a variety of industries such as automotive, electronics, and aerospace.

Safety is primary for service and medical robots, as they are designed to interact with humans and perform tasks in healthcare, cleaning and surgical procedures, diagnosis, and rehabilitation.

Precision and accuracy are what defines the testing requirements for military robots. Whether these robots are used in military applications, such as bomb disposal, reconnaissance, and search and rescue missions or to operate in dangerous environments where it is not safe for humans to work, they must be thoroughly tested for high accuracy in operation.

While educational and entertainment robotics involve human interaction, so sensor technologies must match the use cases for teaching students about robotics, programming, and technology. They are often designed to be easy to use and intuitive, allowing students to experiment and learn through direct experience. Robots designed for entertainment purposes, such as robotic toys or theme park attractions are interactive. Robust sensor data makes the robots more engaging and may incorporate features like voice recognition or facial recognition to provide an authentic experience.

Lastly, autonomous robots undergo vast amounts of design tests using force and torque sensors due to the requirements of operating independently, without human intervention. They are often used in applications such as space exploration, agriculture, or transportation.

Interface offers a wide variety of multi-axis sensor options including 2-axis, 3-axis, 6-axis, and axial torsion load cell sensors. The benefits of using multi-axis sensors aligns to the advancements in robotics, as the expectations to do more means more data is needed to thoroughly test and measure every capability and interaction with accuracy.


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