Inspiring North West manufacturers with remote robotics

20 January 2023

A virtual reality (VR) robotics showcase has been installed at AMRC North West to help the region’s businesses unlock the immense potential of robotic technology to boost their manufacturing processes. 

The inclusion of Extend Robotics’ UR5e RoboKit and SenseKit module, is designed to showcase the potential of cutting-edge, accessible robotics technology and used to inspire new approaches to manufacturing. 

Aparajithan Sivanathan, head of digital technology at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) North West, said: “When introducing new technologies, accessibility is crucial.

“The speed and simplicity of installation, coupled with the easy to use, intuitive VR controls, means Extend Robotics’ solution has immense potential to upgrade manufacturers’ existing robotics.” 

AMRC North West is part of the University of Sheffield and a member of the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult. Its goal is to help the Lancashire region’s manufacturing community access advanced technologies that will drive improvements in productivity, performance and quality. 

This latest piece of kit, purchased by the Samlesbury Enterprise Zone-based research centre, was fulfilled as part of Extend Robotics’ inclusion in Universal Robot’s UR+ ecosystem. This ecosystem, which provides access to more than 340 certified kits, components, grippers, software and safety accessories, seamlessly integrates with Universal Robots’ cobots. 

Dr Chang Liu, is founder and CEO of Extend Robotics, a company which aims to develop human-robot interface software for non-robotic experts to teleoperate and programme robotic manipulators remotely for physical tasks.

Dr Liu said: “Our installation with AMRC North West demonstrates just how simple it can be to dramatically upgrade your robotics capabilities. In less than an hour we made it possible for their robotic arm to be remote operated from anywhere in the world. We hope this will inspire other manufacturers to explore how we can extend their capability using our technology.”

The set-up of the VR robotics technology by Extend Robotics took just one hour – and was completed using its unique software, seamlessly integrating with AMRC North West’s existing robotics hardware. 

For further details about Extend Robotics, visit: www.extendrobotics.com.

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