Eureka Robotics unveils robot with the precision and dexterity of a human hand

Eureka Robotics has unveiled Archimedes, a new robot capable of picking up delicate optical lenses and mirrors with the care and precision of a human hand.

A robotics technology start-up from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore), Eureka says Archimedes can slot lenses and mirrors of different sizes into a custom loading tray to prepare them for coating.

Archimedes features a six-axis robot arm controlled by algorithms that use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to plan its motion and how much force to exert in its grip, creating a system that can mimic the dexterity of human fingers and the visual acuity of human eyes.

According to Eureka, Archimedes differentiates itself from other robots currently used in the industry because it has both high accuracy and high agility, whereas other robots tend to have one or the other. Eureka says Archimedes is one of the first robots with High Accuracy - High Agility (HA-HA) to be deployed on the manufacturing floor.

The NTU team demonstrated the HA-HA concept in its IKEA Bot, which made headlines last year after it assembled an IKEA chair autonomously in less than 9 minutes. The bot included a 3D camera and two robotic arms equipped with grippers that could pick up tiny objects like a wooden peg, and slot them into holes with sub-millimeter precision.

“With Archimedes, we have taken accuracy to the tens-of-micron level,” explains Assoc Prof Pham from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

“Its accuracy of placing objects is within a tenth of a millimeter, yet it does so with the gentleness of a human touch, made possible by our control algorithms.”

Similar to a human operator, Archimedes takes a few hours to slot delicate optics into a designated tray, but the robot frees the operator to focus on higher-level tasks after taking three minutes to start the robot on its job.

Using AI, the robot analyzes how many lenses there are and their respective sizes. An algorithm then plans the most efficient way to slot them onto the tray. Once the task is complete, an alert sounds so that the operator can remove the fully-loaded tray, and prepare for the next manufacturing process.

Eureka will deliver Archimedes to a laser optics manufacturer in the U.S. The startup will then look into adapting the platform for other types of manufacturing processes that currently use manual labor, such as drilling and tapping of custom machinery.

“Archimedes does laborious and repetitive tasks, so humans can be freed up to do more creative and meaningful work,” Assoc Prof Pham says. “Companies can then improve productivity, efficiency, work safety, manufacturing outputs, while optimizing labor.”