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AGVs play sounds of season for Otis Technology

Mobile robot fleet customized to include voice messages and sound bites for manufacturer.
By Modern Materials Handling Staff
December 21, 2010

RMT Robotics, a Cimcorp Oy company, recently announced the first implementation of its ADAM RAP (Reactive Audio Playback) system at Otis Technology, a New York-based gun cleaning systems manufacturer and assembly operation. The new programmable sound system includes interactive voice messages and a mobile “vehicle in motion” jukebox. Together with the Otis operational group, RMT engineers customized the ADAM sound application to play “text to speech” messages, sound bites or musical interludes that can be either actively or passively triggered in reaction to a variety of operational conditions and system inputs.

The ADAM RAP application is designed to play various sound bites in response to queues embedded in the control system to enhance the user friendliness of the overall system. The use of sound encourages the acceptance of ADAM by the human counterparts and minimizes potential monotony in the workplace by reducing the sound redundancy that occurs with traditional beeper-based annunciations.

“In developing the ADAM RAP module we wanted to create a ‘new vehicle in motion’ function that not only improves safety but leverages the power of the platform to enhance the interactive experience between humans and the mobile robots that they work with every day,” said Bill Torrens, director of sales and marketing for RMT.

ADAM robots have been working side by side with Otis employees since July 2009, streamlining the manufacturing and assembly processes, and allowing workers to be redeployed into more value-added areas of the operation. In accordance with the company’s lean philosophy of continuous innovation and improvement, the employees of Otis met and voted to add the option of programmable sound to its ADAM fleet. The initial purpose of the audio application was to proactively enhance safety in the work place, by raising worker awareness of the robots through a variety of sounds.

“Because of the low height of the ADAMs, we found a benefit in being able to use sound to track their location,” says Cara Peebles, marketing coordinator for Otis. “While ADAM was originally equipped with both an obstacle avoidance technology and a standard beeping warning system the team opted to listen to music rather than the typical beeps in most warning systems. Like a mobile jukebox, music ADAM automatically plays music when it is in motion. Workers elected to listen to spooky noises and music for Halloween and are now looking to reprogram their robots with Christmas tunes.”

“Now that ADAM can ’speak’ and interact with workers, there is an improved harmonization between the workforce and the robots that serve them,” says Torrens. “The fact that ADAM can also entertain while enhancing safety and efficiency in the process is an added bonus.”

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