The ability of humans to manipulate a wide range of objects with great dexterity and precision enables them to operate productively in the world. People can build things, take them apart, and determine many part properties simply by touch. This is currently beyond the capabilities of even the most sophisticated robots, and is a major obstacle to moving robots into small and medium-size enterprises. This obstacle also places limitations on large manufacturers interested in implementing robotics for small-batch production. Smaller production runs cannot justify the cost associated with conventional practices such as fixed tooling and purpose-built manipulation systems.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology has organized a free workshop in conjunction with the 2013 Automate and ProMat trade shows in Chicago, IL. The goal of the workshop is to address the application of dexterous robot technologies to meet the application needs of small- and medium-sized manufacturers, and to promote the greater theme of applying dexterous robotics toward flexible manufacturing. Join us on January 24th from 10:30 AM until 5:00 PM for three technical sessions featuring presentations from industry leaders in dexterous grasping, robot arm technology, and flexible manufacturing. Each session concludes with an open-format panel discussion where all are welcome to discuss the needs and opportunities for dexterous manipulation in next-generation manufacturing systems.
The workshop results will be published in a report that captures key discussions, including
- desired application scenarios requiring more dexterous manipulation
- current state-of-the-art versus desired technological capabilities
- high priority advances needed to enable industry's needs for more dexterous robots
- performance metrics to support the advancement of dexterous robots
These results will provide valuable input to a roadmap being drafted by NIST aimed at progressing standards and measurement science in the area of dexterous manipulation.