Industry robot manipulators have been invented for nearly 50 years. In the past, such robot manipulators are used in mass manufacturing lines and programmed manually by engineers. However, as modern manufacturing moves into low volume high mix products in a very tight schedule, it becomes very challenge to program the robots to handle large variety of products and parts and also to make changes to the manufacturing lines in a very short time. With advancement in 3D machine vision, machine learning methods and fast computing power, there is an emerging trend to put 3D perception device, machine learning technique into industry robots to make them “smart’ enough to handle a variety of products in a changing environment. In this speech, we will discuss how 3D perception systems and machine learning techniques are used in manufacturing scenarios like intelligent masking/taping for component maintenance, bi-manual manipulation for parts assembly and handling, intelligent spray painting. We will use also Amazon Robotics Challenge and DHL Robotics Challenge as examples to look at the integration of 3D perception, machine learning and robot motion planning in warehouse automation to handle the item-picking process.
Professor I-Ming Chen is an internationally renowned robotics researcher. He received the B.S. degree from National Taiwan University in 1986, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA in 1989 and 1994 respectively. He has been with the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore since 1995. He is Director of Robotics Research Centre in NTU from 2013 to 2017. He is a member of the Robotics Task Force 2014 under the National Research Foundation which is responsible for Singapore’s strategic R&D plan in future robotics. His research interests are in logistics and construction robots, wearable devices, human-robot interaction and industrial automation. Professor Chen is Fellow of IEEE and Fellow of ASME, General Chairman of 2017 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2017) in Singapore. He is also CEO of Transforma Robotics Pte Ltd developing robots for construction industry and CTO of Hand Plus Robotics Pte Ltd developing robotics and AI solutions for logistics and manufacturing industry. He will be the Editor-in-chief for the tier 1 journal: IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics starting from 2020.