RARUK Automation, a provider of off-the-shelf and customised automation solutions, has announced that three of its Universal Robots collaborative robots (cobots) have been installed in Solarflare Studio’s new augmented reality (AR) display, named “The Future is Now”.
Solarflare Studio offers motion picture, video and television programme post-production activities and uses artificial intelligence, holograms and virtual and augmented reality to create digital projects.
The company’s most recent installation uses a combination of robotics and AR as part of an immersive visitor display at a global energy company’s new headquarters in Budapest, Hungary.
Creative agency Pulse Group support the project.
Three Universal Robots UR5e cobots are mounted on a table, positioned around a 3D model of the new HQ that stands just over one metre tall. Each robot is fitted with a webcam facing the model, as well as a 27” OLED monitor. The screens show a real-time augmented reality layer to view inside the building.
The new 28-storey building houses greenery from the central atrium to the rooftop, with the building’s sustainable vision reflected in several installations that Pulse Group and Solarflare Studio specifically created.
The installation is open to the public and designed to be interactive, and uses hand-tracking technology to detect human motion.
This feature enables interaction by allowing visitors to control robots through their hand movements. As the robots move around the 3D building model, visitors can access different educational AR resources on the screens and learn more about the new facilities.
“By combining robot arms and augmented reality displays with gesture-controlled user interaction Solarflare were able to create a unique visitor experience,” said Stuart Cupit, co-founder and chief of technology, Solarflare Studio.
“We investigated at least half a dozen different robot arms during the scoping and found the quality of service from RARUK and Universal Robots was key to choosing the UR5e arm.
“A combination of hardware specification but more importantly knowledgeable technical support and the offer of a trial arm during development meant that we were able to reduce risks and be confident it was the right solution.
“RARUK has been a great help throughout development, saving time at every stage. We would definitely recommend them and use the UR arms on future projects.”
Cobots were selected for use in the exhibit due to their safety features, with them being designed to work with humans and not needing the same security fencing as traditional industrial devices.
To support enhanced safety, the team at Solarflare Studio also developed an invisible laser safety curtain into the installation, around the perimeter of the display to ensure that, if a visitor were to reach across the laser curtain, the robots would power down.