MOBILE ROBOT RELIES ON RC_VISARD FOR PICK-AND-PLACE IN LAB AUTOMATION
When it comes to automating processes in laboratories, the potential is significant, yet challenges are manifold: Robotic systems must be able to handle delicate goods, function in the absence of humans as well as alongside them, and flexibly cope with regularly changing environments and tasks. The ability to perceive the environment and a highly precise localization are key in such sensitive surroundings. Scalability is desired; at the same time, reliability and robustness are of absolute essence in order not to put the often sophisticated processes at risk.
In its first project, lab automation specialist Biosero, founded in 2003, supported a pharmaceutical company with their lab automation. Ever since, the teams at Biosero have been working to support scientists with ‘automation that works’, with accessibility and robustness being the cornerstones of their solutions.
NEW MOBILE ROBOT TO TRANSPORT DELICATE LABWARE
When developing a mobile robot solution for the transportation of laboratory labware between workcells and instruments within laboratories, the team encountered a challenge: The 5 cm positional repeatability of their mobile base was sufficient for navigating the robot through the lab environment; however, it was simply nowhere near precise enough to support the pick-and-place operations of highly delicate labware. For these, a significantly more precise localization with a 1 mm (!) accuracy was required.
PRECISE LOCALIZATION OF ROBOT ARM AND TAG DETECTION BY MOUNTED SENSOR
“We therefore needed a way to localize the arm with respect to the pick and place position. After extensive research, we decided upon using a method of pairing a fiducial with the pick-and-place position, as this is fast and non-invasive,” explains Rob Harkness, Managing Director UK/EU at Biosero. After evaluating a number of different camera solutions that provide out-of-the box solutions for hand-eye-calibration and the detection of fiducials, QR Tags, or AprilTags, the team decided to use Roboception’s rc_visard and the supporting TagDetect software module.
One decisive factor: The rc_visard 65 delivers a highly precise localization even at a 100 cm working distance, where it achieves a pose precision of 0.7 mm. This turned out to be critical, as the sensor must be mounted quite high on the Brooks PF-400 SCARA arm, so that it would not obstruct the arm’s path into the laboratory infrastructure that it is picking and placing from.
“The rc_visard is an essential element in guiding our Mobile Robot product.
Its reliability in the ever-changing laboratory environments we operate in has been crucial, and we are confident that we made the right choice for this task.”
Chief Technology Officer at Biosero, Inc.
“FANTASTIC” DOCUMENTATION AND A HIGHLY RESPONSIVE SUPPORT TEAM
In addition to the sensor’s meeting their precise localization requirements, Biosero’s teams appreciate that “the documentation from Roboception is fantastic and we have always found the support team to be very responsive”. They believe that “Roboception’s products will continue to be valuable in our future endeavors, as they allow us to develop innovative and efficient lab automation solutions for a wide range of applications”.
ABOUT BIOSERO, INC.
Biosero is a leading provider of lab automation solutions, specializing in the development and implementation of cutting-edge technology to optimize laboratory workflows. The company’s innovative solutions are designed to increase throughput and minimize human error in various laboratory environments. Visit website…