Small and midsize enterprises are just beginning to benefit from collaborative robot arms or cobots, which are intended to be safer and easier to use than their industrial cousins. However, high costs and the difficulty of customization are still barriers to adoption. Elephant Robotics this week announced its Catbot, which it described as an “all in one safe robotic assistant.”
The cobot has six degrees of freedom, has a 600mm (23.6 in.) reach, and weighs 18kg (39.68 lb.). It has a payload capacity of 3kg (6.6 lb.). Elephant Robotics tested Catbot in accordance with international safety standards EN ISO 13848:2008 PL d and 10218-1: 2011-Clause 5.4.3 for human-machine interaction. A teach pendant and a power box are optional with Catbot.
Elephant Robotics CEO Joey Song studied in Australia. Upon returning home, he said, he “wanted to create a smaller in size robot that will be safe to operate and easy to program for any business owner with just a few keystrokes.”
Song founded Elephant Robotics in 2016 in Shenzhen, China, also known as “the Silicon Valley of Asia.” It joined the HAX incubator and received seed funding from Princeton, N.J.-based venture capital firm SOSV.
Song stated that he is committed in making human-robot collaboration accessible to any small business by eliminating the limitations of high price or requirements for highly skilled programming. Elephant Robotics also makes the Elephant and Panda series cobots for precise industrial automation.
Catbot includes voice controls
Repetitive tasks can lead to boredom, accidents, and poor productivity and quality, noted Elephant Robotics. Its cobots are intended to free human workers to be more creative. The company added that Catbot can save on costs and increase workloads.
Controlling robots, even collaborative robots, can be difficult. This is even harder for robots that need to be precise and safe. Elephant Robotics cited Facebook’s new PyRobot framework as an example of efforts to simplify robotic commands.
Catbot is built on an open platform so developers can share the skills they’ve developed, allowing others to use them or build on top of them.
Elephant Robotics claimed that it has made Catbot smarter and safer than other collaborative robots, offering “high efficiency and flexibility to various industries.” It includes force sensing and voice-command functions.
In addition, Catbot has an “all-in-one” design, cloud-based programming, and quick tool changing.
The catStore virtual shop offers a set of 20 basic skills. Elephant Robotics said that new skills could be developed for specific businesses, and they can be shared with other users on its open platform.
Elephant Robotics said its cobots are suitable for assembly, packaging, pick-and-place, and testing tasks, among others. Its arms work with a variety of end effectors. To increase its flexibility, the company said, Catbot is designed to be easy to program, from high-precision tasks to covering “hefty ground projects.”
According to Elephant Robotics, the Catbot can used for painting, photography, and giving massages. It could also be a personal barista or play with humans in a table game. In addition, Catbot could act as a helping hand in research workshops or as an automatic screwdriver, said the company.
Elephant Robotics’ site said it serves the agricultural and food, automotive, consumer electronics, educational and research, household device, and machining markets.