Six-axis robots – not just for industry anymore
When you think about six-axis robots, you may see the big, cold, steel robotic arms painted blue, grey, yellow or orange that work in manufacturing facilities across the world. These robots can weld, handle material and remove material. But, did you know that now some of those same robots are taking care of live animals?
A laboratory in Japan, in conjunction with Motoman Robotics, is working toward developing a robot that can take care of test subjects – in this case 30,000 mice – so that the subjects are not compromised by human hands. These six-axis robots would not have the ability to contaminate test results in the way human hands could. They also protect workers from infection that could be spread by bites and scrapes from the mice.
But, a non-living thing autonomously caring for 30,000 living creatures? That’s only happens in sci-fi movies, right? Not anymore. According to Gizmodo, this six-axis robotic arm can mimic human arm motions, and can swap out end-of-arm-tooling to feed the mice, change the water and sheets in cages and to even move cages to and from the lab.
This six-axis robot is programmed to move with a slow, consistent and gentle grace that will keep the mice from getting too rattled. By using these six-arm robotic systems, laboratories can move test subjects around faster, without damage to the mice, and keep results from being contaminated, which could lead to more successful testing.
RobotWorx, a certified integrator of six-axis robotics from Motoman, FANUC, ABB, Universal Robots, and KUKA, has several of these six-arm industrial robots in their warehouse in Marion, Ohio. These robots aren’t just for industrial use anymore. As the story reads above, these robots are now branching out into other areas like scientific and medical testing. They’re also being used in surgery and other human interactive applications.