Cobots stared at Hannover Messe. Though the technology is relatively new, some are already thinking about next-generation collaborative robots. At the Microsoft booth, we ran into a connected Kuka cobot. This system was linked to Microsoft’s cloud via OPC UA and extra security applications.
In case of error, a message is displayed on the operator’s Microsoft wristband. Through a tablet PC, the same operator can then solve the problem. With every robot connected to the cloud, it also becomes possible to gather and analyze all relevant data, for example, to identify an issue affecting every robot.
Microsoft and Kuka also added Xbox-based Kinect technology to the robot. In this case, the sensor is used to identify a worker rather than a gamer. For example, facial recognition could be used to determine if someone is authorized to operate the cobot.