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Last month, Micropsi Industries appointed Gary Jackson as CEO, allowing founder Ronny Vuine to focus on product innovation and serving customers. The company’s MIRAI vision system uses artificial intelligence to control industrial and collaborative robot arms in real time.
Jackson has more than 30 years of executive experience and was previously CEO of video analytics provider Drishti, which was recently acquired. He has led software companies such as Vantive, Ounce Labs, Shunra, and Zeekit, said Micropsi.
“I’ve been working in enterprise business-to-business software for my entire career,” Jackson told The Robot Report. “What I bring to the table is, No. 1, an understanding of how to organize and manage a software business. No. 2, I would say my DNA and my training is more on the sales and go-to-market side of things.”
“My most recent company was doing automated video analyses of human processes in manufacturing,” he recalled. “We would look at a cycle and the human interaction with tools and parts in the environment and break it down into its components parts. And then we’d identify where there were anomalies in the process, the parts, or the tools used and send alerts to management in real time.”
Jackson looks to apply more AI to manufacturing
With his experience with machine learning and quality assurance, Jackson said he understands the roles that robots and AI can play in production.
“I’ve been studying manufacturing floors and production lines for years, and I have certainly observed situations where the robots’ part in the in the overall process was defined in a particular way that interacted with the humans,” he said. “Drishti was installed at Deloitte’s smart factory in Wichita, Kan. It’s a spectacular facility that’s not just a test site or a STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] kit for students; it’s a full factory line, with something like 11 workstations with robotic and manual assembly.”
Micropsi has offices in Berlin and San Francisco. The company said MIRAI enables robots to learn from humans and respond directly to sensor information so they can deal with variances and cost-effectively operate in dynamic environments.
“During my time at Drishti, there were many, many use cases with robotics that our customers asked us to help with where analyzing video wasn’t sufficient to solve a problem,” said Jackson. “For instance, one had a robotic arm using a gas sensor that had difficulty determining if there were leaks in the line behind a refrigerator or some other unit. The reason was that these tubes could be very different in location from one unit to the next.”
“It was the area of the largest variance, and I saw that Micropsi had solved that problem for one of its customers,” he noted. “Micropsi was able to deal with the variability … and I had never seen a production environment where a robot could actually follow the curve of whatever anomaly was going on in that assembly process.”
Delving more deeply into data to demonstrate value
Micropsi also plans to share more of the data captured by cameras, said Jackson. It is exploring how to feed that data to command-and-control systems and the dashboards that factory personnel look at daily for key performance indicators (KPIs).
“I know that the data is massively valuable,” he said. “Now, we’re empowered to assemble and display it for integration with other systems. That’s all to be determined.”
Micropsi said that it already works with leading automotive and electronics manufacturers and that it expects to continue growing in the U.S. Jackson asserted that delivering value to customers is more important than making a quick sale.
“I’m not just interested in revenue,” he said. “In fact, my first message to my sales team was, ‘I don’t want a single dollar from any one of your customers unless I’m satisfied that we can actually solve the problem.’ And I will have a 95% customer success rate because that’s just the way I operate.”
Micropsi looks to new use cases, market growth
“Now, as I look forward with Micropsi, we can extend what has been done already into use cases that we haven’t even touched yet, just by expanding the capability of the AI,” Jackson said. “So for instance, we are going to look heavily at things like anomaly detection and picking and not just assembly. So these are these are things that we can do since we have the robotic arm and the camera in place.”
“There are things that we can do with the AI that we haven’t even explored yet,” he added. “We’re at just the tip of the iceberg.”
Jackson also said he expects the economic constraints of the past year to loosen up in 2024 and 2025 in response to ongoing supply chain and labor challenges. Despite all of the recent hype around generative AI, Micropsi needs to do more to promote its unique use of vision AI for manufacturing, he said.
“The list of companies trying to do what Micropsi has done is very small,” said Jackson. “My goal is to have wins within my first 90 days that we can show and measure the difference AI is going to make. From that win, we’ll plan the next one and the next. It’s really the only way to not only remain sticky with the customer, but also to help advance the industry.”