Laboratory Automation Applications for Robotic Systems
Although it may seem incredible to you, robotic devices can now be accurately configured to manipulate minuscule objects to carry out testing on an unfathomable scale. These tiny objects are picked up using a vacuum or suction device and are presented individually to the robotic system for analysis. These machines carry out intricate tasks human beings just can’t undertake.
Summation of Parts
It is quite clear that this level of intricacy is coming to the forefront of how these machines are applied in the lab. As my previous articles have shown, the objectives of these systems are varied, with some applications very unfamiliar to the lay person. Fundamental to how these machines work, is their ability to perceive their environment and interact with objects in it. Acquiring an image and then interpreting the image in a meaningful way are two of the principle objectives for modern-day robotics. But none of this is possible without the correct lighting, as it is needed to enhance the objects around, allowing the machine to interpret them with more accuracy. Dim lit laboratories are not ideal environments for these automated machines, with them instead being better suited to optimum lighting environments.
This interpretation and analysis of objects is where specific elements are being sought out using various specialized techniques. Windowing is often used as a means of concentrating the analysis of a particular device upon a small area in an attempt to conserve resources, especially the time taken to execute jobs. This is one of the most effective approaches to analysing objects in an environment and is related to other premises discussed in earlier articles on this website. The act of identifying a shape is accomplished by undertaking various techniques such as template matching and shape approximation.
Detecting the outer surface of an object can be using simple logic flow diagrams as way of determining the overall shape of an object. As might already know, inspection tasks are a primary part of any robotic system used in lab automation. These tasks are described as feature specific but they often involve operations or the role of repeating tasks over and over. When making judgemental inspection decisions, humans still trump robotics every time but this may not always be the case. Lab automation is a significant application for this type of device, especially inspection, identification, and of course component insertion. The possibilities do seem to be endless in regards to this subject, so watch this space to find out more on these exciting developments.