Robots With Smooth Moves Are Up to 40% More Efficient
Robot arms (and robots in general) are all about following orders. Your orders, merciless human overlord. You tell them to jump, and they say “I’m an arm, I don’t jump, but I can move around a little bit if you want.” And then they do, as best as they can. As far as the arm is concerned, its entire reason for existing is to move where you tell it to as fast as possible, I guess because it figures (usually quite wrongly) that you have better things to do than sit there and mind it.
These fast, precise movements are one of the reasons that we like robots as much as we do, but as it turns out, they’re not particularly energy efficient. This might not be something that you think about after dropping tens of thousands of dollars (or whatever) on a robot arm, but energy use adds up, especially if you have tens of thousands (or whatever) of arms.
Swedish researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, working as part of the European Union’s AREUS Project (Automation and Robotics for European Sustainable Manufacturing), have taken a crack at robot arm efficiency, and come up with an optimization algorithm that tweaks acceleration and deceleration to reduce energy consumption by up to 40 percent.