Robotics Innovation Award Nominees 2020

The finalists in the 16th Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Robotics & Automation (IERA) showcases the latest skills robots have acquired to assist humans at work

OnRobot’s submission is an intelligent gripper named RG2-FT. With its fingertips it is said to “feel” and picks up delicate materials like thin glass or test samples and passes them on to humans. The second finalist is Photoneo’s high resolution MotionCam-3D. This 3D scanner captures quick moving objects and delivers what are said to be the sharpest eyes in the world for industrial robots – even under sunlight.   

“We are very impressed by the creativity that the participants of the IERA Award 2020 demonstrated,” said Milton Guerry, President of the International Federation of Robotics (IFR). “This year’s finalists yet again show great ingenuity put into practice. Both applications show how automation can further develop how humans and robots work together in industry.”

The IFR says that the Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Robotics & Automation is one of the most important distinctions in the world of robotics. It is jointly sponsored by the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (IEEE/RAS) and the International Federation of Robotics.

Robot with fingertip sensibility like humans

“The RG2-FT gripper has the same fingertip sensibility as a human hand,” says Enrico Krog Iversen, CEO of the Danish collaborative application company OnRobot. “Our gripper handles very delicate work pieces, such as thin glass or medical testing samples - even without knowing the exact location in a box.” To do this, the RG2-FT uses advanced proximity and force-torque sensors. The way it works can be compared to humans picking up a pencil with closed eyes: Proximity sensors “feel” the object until the grip is perfect – substituting the human eye. The gripper then doses its force precisely and picks up the object, safely passes it on to humans, knowing to let go when handing over. 

Eyes for robots that spot submillimeters

“MotionCam-3D gives eyes to robots with the highest resolution and accuracy in the world,“ said Jan Zizka, CEO of Bratislava-based maker Photoneo. “Our camera is able to inspect objects moving as fast as 140 kilometres per hour. Its qualities are useful in various fields, for example in e‑commerce and logistics, for object sorting and autonomous delivery systems. The camera also helps in food processing and waste sorting as well as harvesting in agriculture. Thanks to accurate machine vision, robots can also analyse objects with high resolution images, which is important in quality control.“ 

Making automation affordable for SMEs

Smart cobot applications like the IERA award finalists considerably lower the hurdles for small and medium-sized companies to use robotics for automation. “A traditional industrial robot can easily be equipped with new tools to transform them into truly collaborative helpers”, said Milton Guerry, President of the IFR. Smaller ‘plug and produce’ solutions are ready for immediate use with no external programmers needed and the investment starts to pay off quickly. 

IERA award session and ceremony at the International Symposium on Robotics ISR

The award session will take place during the 52nd International Symposium on Robotics ISR – held virtually on 9th December 2020, 14:45 to 15:45 hrs CET. The awards ceremony takes place 10th December, 13:20-13:40 CET. The two-day conference will offer an insight into the latest state-of-the-art robot technologies to participants from both industry and research. Registration for the ISR awards session can be done here.

Awards ceremony is virtual this year
Awards ceremony is virtual this year

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