Would you throw a hammer?

When I was a kid my dad taught me never to throw a tool – it is simply to dangerous. Never the less some people are now suggesting that the heavy, costly and unflexible transportation systems in factories should be replaced by robots simply tossing the different items to each other through the air. The thought brings a clip from the animated movie  ‘Robots’ to my mind – It’s a clip where the transportation system of the city is based on different mechanisms that throw the robots around. It seems more entertaining than pratical.

A german university is now trying to build robots that can catch items by calculating their projectory. At the present it can catch a tennis ball – and I am not quite certain I believe it would be a good idea to start tossing machine parts around in a factory floor – at least not until the technology have developed quite a bit. It is likely that such a system would be more flexible than conveyor belts and ring/hook systems, but once the number of objects being thrown is raised, the complexity of the calculations behind will increase drastically. The same can probably be said about the price of your insurance bill if you want people to walk around in such a factory.

See an example of TOTO (Tracking Of Thrown Objects) – it is apparently from the German university of Heilbronn in Künzelsau, but I have not found confirmation of this.

Robotic catching of a mechanically thrown tennis-ball from Dennis Barteit on Vimeo.


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