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Industrial Robotics: The Future is Accessible and Innovative

Industrial robots are potent tools for productivity, yet their use remains elusive for numerous individuals and businesses who could potentially benefit from them. Distinct from computers, smartphones, and other productivity-enhancing hardware, robots are considered niche and exclusive equipment. The complexity and rigidness of robotic systems, which are often employed for tasks like 3D printer operation, surface sanding, part assembly, or package handling, necessitate specialized skills for programming. Economically and operationally, reprogramming these systems is rarely feasible.

Intrinsic Flowstate: An Accessible Robotic Application Development Environment

To expedite the widespread use of industrial robotics, Intrinsic Flowstate is being unveiled. This intuitive, web-based developer environment fosters the creation of robotic applications from conceptualization to deployment. Currently in its beta phase, Flowstate will initially be accessible to a select group of solution builders.

During a virtual product keynote, a preview of Flowstate was shared, and Comau – a leading robot manufacturer and global systems integrator – was announced as the first industry partner. Quick hint, the recorded session can be skipped 14min:

The Underlying Intrinsic Platform: Designed for Future Robotics

The keynote also highlighted the underlying Intrinsic platform upon which Flowstate is built. The design principles guiding the creation of this intelligent robotics platform inform its priorities – both presently and in the future. The aim is to simplify the use of advanced robotics and AI, even for non-experts. It is designed with future roboticists and developers in mind, integrating modern software development practices like object-oriented and visual programming into the robotics and automation industry.

By emphasizing interoperability, developers can seamlessly transition across various types of hardware and software, thus accelerating the creation of innovative solutions involving industrial robotics. The investment in top-tier infrastructure will further streamline the process of building solutions and deploying them to real-world hardware.

Features of Flowstate: Streamlining Robotic Solution Design

Intrinsic Flowstate is designed to be an intuitive, web-based developer experience to streamline robotic solution design from concept to deployment.

Ease of initiation: Intrinsic Flowstate includes a graphical process builder that obviates the need for extensive programming experience, equipping developers with tools for a quick start and sustained progress. It employs behavior trees to orchestrate complex process flows, which aids in accelerated application building. The process editor offers a flowchart-inspired graphical representation to author the behavior trees.

Rapid iteration: The construction of end-to-end robotic solutions is an iterative process. By allowing developers to design a process and lay out their workcell in the same virtual environment, rapid iteration is achievable without the need to switch between other tools. Developers can design and build within a single experience, whether they’re working in the cloud or on-premises, and transition easily between them.

Simulation capabilities: Users will have the ability to simulate and validate solutions without interacting with any hardware. Real-time visualization of the process enhances the intuitiveness and efficiency of the experience.

Reusable and scalable skills: Encoding domain knowledge in custom “skills” that can be reused expedites and scales the process of solution building. Skills like pose estimation, manipulation, force-based insertion, path planning, and many others won’t need to be hardcoded repeatedly. Several useful skills and capabilities will come with Flowstate, powered by the Intrinsic platform. The community of developers will shape the variety and volume of skills available in the future.

First Industry Partnership and Real-world Application

Over the past few years, a partnership with Comau has been used to validate the approach through real-world use cases. Using Flowstate and the underlying platform, Comau has recently developed a modular solution for assembling a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) supermodule. This showcases the potential applications that solution builders could develop and the types of solutions that could soon become affordable and feasible to construct.

Flowstate signifies the first step in this direction. The objective is to assist today’s robotics experts and the future generation to reimagine their daily tasks with robotic solutions powered by software and AI. The first-ever beta program is now open for applications and will commence in July 2023 for approximately eight weeks.