Humans may still be king when it comes to creativity or reasoning, but when it comes to raw speed, precision, and repetition, its all about the robots. To prove this point, and to showcase its robotic prowess, ABB robotics has released an impressive pair of promotional videos (embedded below) that you don't want to miss. In these "Fanta Challenges" ABB's robots move metal rods in between six packs of Fanta soda cans at a blistering pace with only 1 millimeter of clearance between the metal rod and the cans. The feat would already be impressive if the 6 pack of cans was stationary, but then ABB ups the ante by putting the cans on a tray and programming another robot to rapidly move the tray around.
When first viewing the videos the achievement may seem too incredible to believe. Can robots really move a metal rod in between this rapidly moving maze of cans without collapsing into a confused pile of metallic mess? The path, although intricate and moving, is a fixed path that changes in a predictable, spatially consistent pattern. As such, no artificial intelligence or complex programming is required to get the ABB robots to perform their impressive trick. Success simply requires the robots to plot out their respective paths with the proper speed and precision, skills that robots, especially those from ABB, are particularly good at. By synchronizing the speed adjustment of each of the robots, the speed of the entire exercise can be slowed or sped up as desired with a simple control pad, as shown in the videos. The first video is the original Fanta Challenge released by ABB in February 2009. Lets check it out:
Now below watch the even more impressive followup video released by ABB just days ago:
With its beautiful signature orange industrial robots, including our recently reviewed tiny IRB20 robot, and the speedy flexpicker robot, ABB is definitely making some waves in the industry. You have to hand it to ABB for leveraging the internet to promote its robots with an extensive website and tons of promotional videos available on Youtube. Now, if they could just consult with somebody about the terrible music they keep choosing for their videos, they might really be on to something.