Robot Patents (Class 901/8)
  • Patent number: 7254464
    Abstract: Methods for operating robotic devices (i.e., “robots”) that employ adaptive behavior relative to neighboring robots and external (e.g., environmental) conditions. Each robot is capable of receiving, processing, and acting on one or more multi-device primitive commands that describe a task the robot will perform in response to other robots and the external conditions. The commands facilitate a distributed command and control structure, relieving a central apparatus or operator from the need to monitor the progress of each robot. This virtually eliminates the corresponding constraint on the maximum number of robots that can be deployed to perform a task (e.g., data collection, mapping, searching). By increasing the number of robots, the efficiency in completing the task is also increased.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 23, 2005
    Date of Patent: August 7, 2007
    Assignee: iRobot Corporation
    Inventors: James McLurkin, Jennifer Smith
  • Patent number: 7253578
    Abstract: There is provided a pivoting apparatus of an industrial robot including: a brake 40 that is fixed to a motor shaft 30s of a motor 30 to halt the motor 30; an encoder 50 that is fixed to the motor shaft 30s to detect the pivoting angle of the motor 30; a speed reducer 60 that is coupled with the motor shaft 30s to form a communicating hollow portion, that is fixed to and coupled with a pivoting-side arm 20, and that reduces the rotation speed of the motor 30; a pipe-supporting bearing 72 that is provided in a fixed-side arm 10 and that is communicated with the communicating hollow portion; and a low-speed pivoting pipe 70 whose one end is fixed to and coupled with the pivoting-side arm 20 and the other end of which is fixed to the pipe-supporting bearing 72, and through which a cable 80 is wired.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 1, 2006
    Date of Patent: August 7, 2007
    Assignee: Mitsubishi Denki Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventors: Yoshitaka Kumagai, Tomoyuki Kobayashi
  • Patent number: 7244093
    Abstract: An object handling apparatus capable of securely holding an object and precisely transferring the held object from a first place to a second place without need of a specific jig for positioning the object on a pallet. A position of an object supplied to the first place is detected by a first visual sensor to obtain a compensation amount for compensating a position displacement of the supplied object. The object is held by a robot hand having position/orientation compensated using the compensation amount and position/orientation of the object held by the robot hand relative to the robot hand is detected by a second visual sensor. A displacement of the position/orientation of the object held by the robot hand from a reference position/orientation is compensated based on the detected position/orientation of the object on the robot hand, so that the object held by the robot hand is precisely moved to have a predetermined position/orientation to be transferred to the second place.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 28, 2003
    Date of Patent: July 17, 2007
    Assignee: Fanuc Ltd.
    Inventors: Atsushi Watanabe, Kazuhisa Otsuka, Masaru Oda, Tadanori Suzuki
  • Patent number: 7230402
    Abstract: There is provided a pivoting apparatus of an industrial robot including: a brake 40 that is fixed to a motor shaft 30s of a motor 30 to halt the motor 30; an encoder 50 that is fixed to the motor shaft 30s to detect the pivoting angle of the motor 30; a speed reducer 60 that is coupled with the motor shaft 30s to form a communicating hollow portion, that is fixed to and coupled with a pivoting-side arm 20, and that reduces the rotation speed of the motor 30; a pipe-supporting bearing 72 that is provided in a fixed-side arm 10 and that is communicated with the communicating hollow portion; and a low-speed pivoting pipe 70 whose one end is fixed to and coupled with the pivoting-side arm 20 and the other end of which is fixed to the pipe-supporting bearing 72, and through which a cable 80 is wired.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 5, 2003
    Date of Patent: June 12, 2007
    Assignee: Mitsubishi Denki Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventors: Yoshitaka Kumagai, Tomoyuki Kobayashi
  • Patent number: 7118582
    Abstract: A medical system which has a robotic arm that can move a surgical instrument. The surgical instrument is coupled to a tool driver of the arm that allows for a quick connect and disconnect of the instrument. The system does not require any tools to attach the surgical instrument to the tool driver. The instrument has an end effector that is actuated by the driver.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 8, 1998
    Date of Patent: October 10, 2006
    Assignee: Computer Motion, Inc.
    Inventors: Yulun Wang, Darrin R. Uecker, Charles S. Jordan, James W. Wright, Keith Phillip Laby, Jeff D. Wilson, Modjtaba Ghoudoussi
  • Patent number: 7117067
    Abstract: Methods for operating robotic devices (i.e., “robots”) that employ adaptive behavior relative to neighboring robots and external (e.g., environmental) conditions. Each robot is capable of receiving, processing, and acting on one or more multi-device primitive commands that describe a task the robot will perform in response to other robots and the external conditions. The commands facilitate a distributed command and control structure, relieving a central apparatus or operator from the need to monitor the progress of each robot. This virtually eliminates the corresponding constraint on the maximum number of robots that can be deployed to perform a task (e.g., data collection, mapping, searching). By increasing the number of robots, the efficiency in completing the task is also increased.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 16, 2003
    Date of Patent: October 3, 2006
    Assignee: iRobot Corporation
    Inventors: James McLurkin, Jennifer Smith
  • Patent number: 7076333
    Abstract: An electrical connection of a transfer station releasably, repeatably electrically couples with respect to a matching connection of a portable cartridge. A substrate in the portable cartridge has electrical contacts on a facing surface. In the transfer station, a matching circuitized flexible substrate has electrical contacts on a facing surface thereof, which are arranged to match the portable cartridge electrical contacts when in a face-to-face relationship. An elastomeric compression element, at the rear of the matching substrate, has individual protruding compression members contacting the rear surface and registered with corresponding individual electrical contacts. Elongated electrical contacts are registered with two adjacent individual compression members.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 24, 2004
    Date of Patent: July 11, 2006
    Assignee: Quantum Corporation
    Inventors: William Louis Brodsky, Dennis Hurley Byrne, Alex Chliwnyj, David Michael Davis, James Mitchell Karp, George G. Zamora
  • Patent number: 7025064
    Abstract: A system for performing minimally invasive cardiac procedures. The system includes a pair of surgical instruments that are coupled to a pair of robotic arms. The instruments have end effectors that can be manipulated to hold and suture tissue. The robotic arms are coupled to a pair of master handles by a controller. The handles can be moved by the surgeon to produce a corresponding movement of the end effectors. The movement of the handles is scaled so that the end effectors have a corresponding movement that is different, typically smaller, than the movement performed by the hands of the surgeon. The scale factor is adjustable so that the surgeon can control the resolution of the end effector movement. The movement of the end effector can be controlled by an input button, so that the end effector only moves when the button is depressed by the surgeon.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 6, 2002
    Date of Patent: April 11, 2006
    Assignee: Intuitive Surgical Inc
    Inventors: Yulun Wang, Darrin R. Uecker, Charles S. Jordan, James W. Wright, Keith Phillip Laby, Jeff D. Wilson
  • Patent number: 7027892
    Abstract: A system for performing minimally invasive cardiac procedures. The system includes a pair of surgical instruments that are coupled to a pair of robotic arms. The instruments have end effectors that can be manipulated to hold and suture tissue. The robotic arms are coupled to a pair of master handles by a controller. The handles can be moved by the surgeon to produce a corresponding movement of the end effectors. The controller controls and limits movement of robotic arms relative to the patient.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 4, 2002
    Date of Patent: April 11, 2006
    Assignee: Intuitive Surgical
    Inventors: Yulun Wang, Darrin R. Uecker, Keith Phillip Laby, Jeff Wilson, Steve Jordan, James Wright
  • Patent number: 7024250
    Abstract: A method for the synchronous control of several manipulators, such as several industrial robots, is characterized in that control units of specific manipulators exchange control information according to the data structures contained in a corresponding control program, through which control units to be synchronized and synchronization points in the control programs taking place there can be clearly identified, and in that on reaching and synchronization points the program sequence in the control units to be synchronized is continued according to the contents of the data structures in conjunction with the already exchanged control information or stopped until corresponding information arrives from other control units to be synchronized.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 14, 2003
    Date of Patent: April 4, 2006
    Assignee: KUKA Roboter GmbH
    Inventors: Stefan Graf, Andreas Hagenauer, Michael Chaffee, Kenneth Stoddard
  • Patent number: 6959231
    Abstract: A robot system includes a plurality of segments 3, joints 4 for linking the segments together, drive units 5 for actuating the joints, and a controller 8 for controlling the drive units. Further, the robot system has bladders 2 filled with a fluid being of lower specific gravity than the outside environment. A center of buoyancy differs from a center of gravity, and the robot system has a specific gravity of greater than 1 relative the outside environment.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 24, 2003
    Date of Patent: October 25, 2005
    Assignee: Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba
    Inventor: Katsuhiro Maeda
  • Patent number: 6922611
    Abstract: A automation equipment control system comprises a general purpose computer with a general purpose operating system in electronic communication with a real-time computer subsystem. The general purpose computer includes a program execution module to selectively start and stop processing of a program of equipment instructions and to generate a plurality of move commands. The real-time computer subsystem includes a move command data buffer for storing the plurality of move commands, a move module linked to the data buffer for sequentially processing the moves and calculating a required position for a mechanical joint. The real-time computer subsystem also includes a dynamic control algorithm in software communication with the move module to repeatedly calculate a required actuator activation signal from a joint position feedback signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 30, 2003
    Date of Patent: July 26, 2005
    Assignee: Robotic Workspace Technologies, Inc.
    Inventor: John R. Lapham
  • Patent number: 6902015
    Abstract: A biped walking humanoid robot is disclosed having an arrangement whereby shocks acting on various parts of the robot when it falls can be relieved and its state of fall can then be detected.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 3, 2002
    Date of Patent: June 7, 2005
    Assignee: Japan Science and Technology Agency
    Inventors: Takayuki Furuta, Ken Tomiyama, Hiroaki Kitano
  • Patent number: 6898484
    Abstract: Global positioning system inputs are used in a manufacturing process where location of a work piece relative to a robotic manipulator is input into a control system. The manipulator is located and tracked by using “GPS” signals, as is an associated work piece. Radio signal based position indicators associated with work pieces transmit work piece location and status. In some embodiments manipulator locations are sensed by position indicators associated with manipulators and signals relating to the position of the manipulators are transmitted to the control system. The control system controls the manipulator and may also control material handling equipment for the transport of work pieces.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 1, 2002
    Date of Patent: May 24, 2005
    Inventors: Dorothy Lemelson, Robert D. Pedersen, Tracy D. Blake, Jerome H. Lemelson
  • Patent number: 6885911
    Abstract: Track anomalies in an automated storage library are detected by transmitting a track health signal from one portion of the track. The presence of a track anomaly is determined based on any reception of the transmitted signal at another portion of the track.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 7, 2002
    Date of Patent: April 26, 2005
    Assignee: Storage Technology Corporation
    Inventor: Frank T. Smith
  • Patent number: 6845295
    Abstract: A method of controlling a robot (32) includes the steps of selecting an initial configuration from at least one of a first, second, and third sets to position a TCP at a starting point (44) along a path (33) and selecting a final configuration different than the initial configuration to position the TCP at an ending point (46). Next, the TCP moves from the starting point (44) while maintaining the initial configuration, approaches the singularity between a first point (48) and a second point (50), and selects one of the axes in response to reaching the first point (48). The angle for the selected axis is interpolated from the first point (48) to the second point (50). After the interpolation, the angles about the remaining axes are determined and positions the arms in the final configuration when the TCP reaches the second point (50) and moves to the ending point (46) while maintaining the final configuration.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 6, 2003
    Date of Patent: January 18, 2005
    Assignee: FANUC Robotics America, Inc.
    Inventors: Sai-Kai Cheng, Di Xiao, Chi-Keng Tsai, H. Dean McGee, Min-Ren Jean
  • Patent number: 6845276
    Abstract: A multiple axis modular controller and a method of operating the controller in a system comprising input devices receiving indications of system conditions and output devices performing tasks affecting the system conditions. The controller includes input connectors connectable to the input devices and output connectors connectable to the output devices. A processor executes a series of sequential commands of an application program. A command can be executed in response to completion of one sequential command of the series of sequential commands regardless of a next sequential command in the series of sequential commands or in response to a specified input received at one of the input connectors or in response to a specified output sent to one of the output connectors. The processor does not execute the command, minimizing processor delays.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 28, 2002
    Date of Patent: January 18, 2005
    Assignee: Electro Scientific Industries
    Inventor: Curt Bocchi
  • Patent number: 6810306
    Abstract: Library system health is monitored and displayed based on the location of equipment within the library relative to track layout. Robotic devices travel on rails within the data storage library accessing data storage devices such as cartridges, cassettes, media packages, media access equipment, identification devices, access ports and the like. The rails are divided into a plurality of rail segments. A database holds information about each rail segment. The database is updated based on use of each rail segment by the robotic devices. Data is generated and displayed to describe the use of each rail segment.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 7, 2002
    Date of Patent: October 26, 2004
    Assignee: Storage Technology Corporation
    Inventor: Timothy C. Ostwald
  • Patent number: 6785572
    Abstract: A system (10) for conducting an image-guided medical procedure on a subject (20) includes a medical imaging apparatus (100) which intermittently during the procedure obtains, upon demand, real-time medical images of the actual procedure. A robotic arm (200) hold a medical instrument (e.g., a biopsy needle (210)) that is used to perform the procedure. The robotic arm (200) manipulates the medical instrument in response to drive signals from a haptic control (400). A detector (e.g., a strain gauge (230)) measures forces experienced by the medical instrument during the procedure. The haptic control (400) generates the drive signals in response to manipulations of an input device (e.g., a knob (404) or an auxiliary instrument, such as, in the case of a biopsy, a remote needle (500)) by an operator, and the operator receives tactile feedback from the haptic control (400) in accordance with the measured forces experienced by the medical instrument. A display (e.g.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 21, 2001
    Date of Patent: August 31, 2004
    Assignee: Koninklijke Philips Electronics, N.V.
    Inventors: Jeffrey Harold Yanof, Karl J. West, Christopher Bauer, David Morgan Kwartowitz
  • Patent number: 6761522
    Abstract: An automated cell for the handling of workpieces is disclosed that comprises a working space within which a two-dimensional gantry that comprises a first and a second linear axis which are coupled to each other. A first gripping device is movable across the working space horizontally and also vertically. A gantry extends above the working space and protrudes towards a machine tool. Along the gantry a second gripping device is displaceable for moving workpieces between the working space of the automated cell and the machine tool. Both linear axes of the two-dimensional gantry are driven by linear motor drives, to allow a fast movement of workpieces and also to allow the performing of supplementary functions without slowing down the machine tool supplied by the automated cell.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 15, 2002
    Date of Patent: July 13, 2004
    Assignee: Felsomat GmbH & Co.
    Inventor: Helmut F. Jäger
  • Patent number: 6752581
    Abstract: This invention relates to a device for removing and transporting articles, such as ophthalmic lens mold sections, or packaging elements from a mold. The invention, in one embodiment includes first, second, and third assemblies; the first of which removes the articles from the molding station at a first location and transports them to a second location; the second assembly receives the articles from the first assembly and transports them to a third location, and the third assembly receives the articles from the second assembly and transports them to a fourth location. A second embodiment includes a flipper assembly disposed between the first and second assemblies, which flipper receives the articles from the first assembly and inverts them before depositing them onto the second assembly. This second embodiment is useful in conjunction with molded articles which are transported to the flipper assembly in an inverted position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 11, 1997
    Date of Patent: June 22, 2004
    Assignee: Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.
    Inventors: Victor Lust, Stephen Robert Beaton, Scott Frederick Ansell, Henri Armand Dagobert, Phillip King Parnell, Sr., Craig William Walker, Daniel Tsu-Fang Wang
  • Patent number: 6722836
    Abstract: A linked manufacturing system for processing parts is disclosed having at least a first processing station for performing a first processing operation, and having a second processing station for performing a second processing operation. At least a first gantry extends in a first direction for linking at least a first and a second processing station. Also at least a second gantry is provided extending transversely to the first direction in a second direction for linking a plurality of first and second processing stations. Each second gantry is coupled to a storage device for receiving parts, wherein slides are displaceable along each second gantry that have a gripper displaceable at least in vertical direction and allowing at least an additional handling operation, while slides are displaceable along the first gantries that are coupled with a gripper for picking up or placing parts and for moving parts along the first gantries.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 12, 2002
    Date of Patent: April 20, 2004
    Assignee: Felsomat GmbH & Co. KG
    Inventor: Helmut F. Jäger
  • Patent number: 6691001
    Abstract: An automated storage library structure, a structure of at least one robot operating within the automated storage library, and a method of connecting the robot to test equipment to facilitate testing. The robot is operative to move about the automated storage library on a guide structure. The test equipment is disposed in a diagnostics center associated with the automated storage library. Communication between the robot and the diagnostics center is provided through a main connector, disposed adjacent to the guide structure at a predetermined position and electrically connected to the diagnostics center, and a test connector mounted on the robot's chassis and electrically connected to the robot's electronics. A second robot may be used to support testing of a sick robot.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 12, 2002
    Date of Patent: February 10, 2004
    Assignee: Storage Technology Corporation
    Inventors: Timothy C. Ostwald, Frank T. Smith
  • Patent number: 6675070
    Abstract: A automation equipment control system comprises a general purpose computer with a general purpose operating system in electronic communication with a real-time computer subsystem. The general purpose computer includes a program execution module to selectively start and stop processing of a program of equipment instructions and to generate a plurality of move commands. The real-time computer subsystem includes a move command data buffer for storing the plurality of move commands, a move module linked to the data buffer for sequentially processing the moves and calculating a required position for a mechanical joint. The real-time computer subsystem also includes a dynamic control algorithm in software communication with the move module to repeatedly calculate a required actuator activation signal from a joint position feedback signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 26, 2002
    Date of Patent: January 6, 2004
    Assignee: Robotic Workspace Technologies, Inc.
    Inventor: John R. Lapham
  • Patent number: 6672820
    Abstract: A transport system for manipulating a semiconductor wafer in a processing tool is set forth. The system includes a transport unit guide disposed within the processing tool for supporting a wafer transfer unit as the unit moves between a first position and a second position. The transport unit guide comprises a frame, a lateral guide rail mounted on the frame, and a series of magnetic segments arranged upon the transport unit guide proximate the lateral guide rail. The wafer transfer unit includes a tram translatably attached to the lateral guide rail and a wafer transfer arm assembly for manipulating the semiconductor wafer. An electromagnet is mounted on the tram in cooperative relation with the magnetic segments for moving the transfer unit along the guide rail. Actuators are used for controlling the position of the transfer unit and transfer arm assembly, and sensors are used for determining the position of the transfer unit and the transfer arm assembly.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 15, 1997
    Date of Patent: January 6, 2004
    Assignee: Semitool, Inc.
    Inventors: Kyle Hanson, Mark Dix, Daniel J. Woodruff, Wayne J. Schmidt, Kevin W. Coyle
  • Patent number: 6591164
    Abstract: A “hot spare” method for facilitating the seamless transition from a failed robotic mechanism to backup unit is provided. A spare robot is located inside a storage library on a section of rail (robotic track) from which it can be utilized on any rail layer in a multi-layer architecture. In one embodiment of the present invention, a motorized elevator assembly is used to transport the spare robot to the proper library level, which allows a single redundant robot to support multiple robots on multiple library rail levels. In another embodiment, a hot spare robot is used on each rail level and is utilized if needed on that particular level. In both embodiments, the spare robots are available for immediate backup without direct user intervention.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 13, 2001
    Date of Patent: July 8, 2003
    Assignee: Storage Technology Corporation
    Inventors: Daniel James Plutt, Timothy C. Ostwald
  • Publication number: 20030120283
    Abstract: A system and method for image guided instrument targeting including a robot unit coupled with an instrument, an imaging unit, and a first control unit, which is coupled with the robot unit and coupled with the imaging unit. The control unit receives the imaging data about a target and about the instrument from the imaging unit and controls the robot unit to properly orienting the instrument for insertion, based upon the imaging data.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 8, 2002
    Publication date: June 26, 2003
    Inventors: Dan Stoianovici, Alexandru Patriciu, Louis R. Kavoussi
  • Patent number: 6584378
    Abstract: When determining coordinates of a point of an object (2) in a reference system of coordinates and the orientation of the object in the space in a measuring position assumed by the object, the object is moved from a start position having known coordinates and a known orientation to a measuring position while detecting this movement. Said coordinates and the orientation of the object in the measuring position are calculated from information from this detection and about the start position. Furthermore, the acceleration and retardation of the object are measured during the movement, and the coordinates and the orientation of the object in the measuring position are calculated from information from this measurement.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 22, 2002
    Date of Patent: June 24, 2003
    Assignee: ABB Flexible Automation
    Inventor: Ole Arnt Anfindsen
  • Patent number: 6567723
    Abstract: A method, system and program processing unit for a robot, by which the safety during execution of a program is improved. The program processing unit comprises a program interpreter, a command rejection device and a command execution device. When the program interpreter sends a command in a program to the command rejection device, the command rejection device searches a command rejection rule storage section for a command rejection rule corresponding to the command, and if the rule is detected, retlieves input values from one or more sensors and the source information of the program from a source information storage section, judges command rejection conditions included in the rule based on the sensor information, source information, the command and its parameters, dismisses the command when the conditions are met, and sends the command to the command execution device when the conditions are not met.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 30, 2002
    Date of Patent: May 20, 2003
    Assignee: NEC Corporation
    Inventor: Tomoyoshi Sugawara
  • Patent number: 6538410
    Abstract: A legged mobile robot in which sensors which can measure contact pressure are provided so as to be distributed at corresponding portions of whole body of the robot in order to determine the state of contact with the external world. In addition, modules which use shock-absorbing members for reducing shock are provided at the corresponding portions of the whole body of the robot. These modules cover their corresponding portions of the robot in order to further function as external parts for protecting the robot from shock. The modules can be constructed so as to be removable from the body of the robot, and may include batteries for supplying electrical power to terminal parts such as sensors. The invention provides a robot which can operate while being subjected to external forces as a result of coming into contact with an obstacle or other external objects, and which makes it possible to reduce shock which is produced when the robot comes into contact with an external object.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 22, 2000
    Date of Patent: March 25, 2003
    Assignee: Sony Corporation
    Inventors: Naoto Mori, Satoru Shimizu
  • Patent number: 6471165
    Abstract: The surgical microscope with a stand, the microscope having altogether up to six degrees of freedom and being fixed on the microscope mounting by means of elements of the stand which has two vertical pivoting axes and for the height adjustment a parallelogram linkage with weight compensation is distinguished by the fact that the microscope is mounted on the stand by means of a third vertical axis, a first further axis perpendicular to said third vertical axis and a second further axis perpendicular to the first further axis, the further axes being designed such that they are essentially perpendicular to the optical axis of the microscope objective and can be adjusted by motor, and the further axis that is closer to the microscope permitting a lateral pivoting of the viewing direction and the further axis that is arranged between the third vertical axis and the further axis that is closer to the microscope permitting a pivoting of the viewing direction forward/backward or upward/downward.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 24, 2001
    Date of Patent: October 29, 2002
    Assignee: Moller-Wedel GmbH
    Inventor: Lorenz Twisselmann
  • Patent number: 6470236
    Abstract: In a system and a method for remotely controlling a slave manipulator easily and highly accurately, operations of three master manipulators are consolidated, and one slave manipulator is remotely controlled in accordance with the consolidation result, thereby ensuring that the slave manipulator is moved along a target path.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 18, 2001
    Date of Patent: October 22, 2002
    Assignee: Sony Corporation
    Inventor: Tomoyuki Ohtsuki
  • Patent number: 6466843
    Abstract: In one embodiment of the present invention, a system for lifting objects comprises a Cartesian manipulator, a machine vision system for acquiring video images of the objects, and a control processor for processing the video images and providing position command signals to the Cartesian manipulator.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 16, 2001
    Date of Patent: October 15, 2002
    Assignee: General Electric Company
    Inventors: Pierino Gianni Bonanni, Kevin George Harding, Appasaheb Ningappa Madiwale, Juan Manuel De Bedout
  • Patent number: 6442451
    Abstract: An improved, versatile robot control system comprises a general purpose computer with a general purpose operating system in electronic communication with a real-time computer subsystem. The general purpose computer includes a program execution module to selectively start and stop processing of a program of robot instructions and to generate a plurality of robot move commands. The real-time computer subsystem includes a move command data buffer for storing the plurality of move commands, a robot move module linked to the data buffer for sequentially processing the moves and calculating a required position for a robot mechanical joint. The real-time computer subsystem also includes a dynamic control algorithm in software communication with the move module to repeatedly calculate a required actuator activation signal from a robot joint position feedback signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 28, 2000
    Date of Patent: August 27, 2002
    Assignee: Robotic Workspace Technologies, Inc.
    Inventor: John R. Lapham
  • Patent number: 6436107
    Abstract: A surgical system that may include a remotely controlled surgical instrument. The surgical instrument may be coupled to a tool driver that can spin and actuate the instrument. The instrument may include an actuator rod that is coupled to an end effector and detachably connected to a push rod. The push rod can move relative to the handle to actuate the end effector. The end effector may include a fixture that conforms to the shape of a needle. The handle can be secured to the tool driver by inserting pins into corresponding slots that are located on both the instrument and the tool driver. The instrument can be controlled by an operator through a pair of handles. Each handle may be mechanically balanced by a counterweight. The surgical system may also include a touchpad that allows the operator to enter parameters of the system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 3, 1999
    Date of Patent: August 20, 2002
    Assignee: Computer Motion, Inc.
    Inventors: Yulun Wang, Darrin Uecker, Keith Laby, Jeff Wilson, Charles Jordan, James Wright, Modjtaba Ghodoussi
  • Patent number: 6401011
    Abstract: A synchronous control unit receives data describing robot motion and speed along a pathway. A storage unit stores the data. In accordance with an internal clock or encoder equivalent internal to the robot, an output unit outputs the data to a positioning controller thereby synchronizing the robot movement with the data.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 28, 2000
    Date of Patent: June 4, 2002
    Assignee: Aida Engineering Co., Ltd.
    Inventor: Yoshiharu Hashimukai
  • Patent number: 6393335
    Abstract: An automated storage library for the storage and retrieval of cartridges and an associated method includes a frame having cartridge storage cells for storing cartridges and at least one cartridge player for playing a cartridge. At least two robotic mechanisms are each movable within the frame to mount a cartridge from a cartridge storage cell into the cartridge player and to dismount a cartridge from the cartridge player into a cartridge storage cell. A controller controls the robotic mechanisms to move in a first direction around the frame along a closed loop such that one of the robotic mechanisms dismounts a cartridge from the cartridge player into a cartridge storage cell while another one of the robotic mechanism mounts another cartridge from another cartridge storage cell into the cartridge player.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 17, 2000
    Date of Patent: May 21, 2002
    Assignee: Storage Technology Corporation
    Inventor: Timothy C. Ostwald
  • Patent number: 6340296
    Abstract: A system for producing disc-like optical data carriers comprises an injection-molding machine for manufacturing a disc-like substrate, and a finishing device for applying a reflective layer to the substrate and for applying a protective layer to the reflective layer. The injection-molding machine and the finishing device are integrated in a single production unit. An optical inspection unit is also integrated in the production unit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 21, 1999
    Date of Patent: January 22, 2002
    Assignee: OTB Group B.V.
    Inventor: Ronaldus Joannes Cornelis Maria Kok
  • Patent number: 6326755
    Abstract: A dual paddle end effector robot is disclosed which is capable of parallel processing of workpieces. The end effector includes a lower paddle rotatably coupled to an end of the distal link, and an upper paddle rotatably coupled to the lower paddle. The lower paddle supports a drive assembly capable of rotating the upper paddle with respect to the lower paddle. In one embodiment of the present invention, the dual paddle end effector robot may be used within a wafer sorter to perform parallel processing of workpieces on a pair of aligners within the sorter. In such an embodiment, the robot may first acquire a pair of workpieces from adjacent shelves within the workpiece cassette. After withdrawing from the cassette, the respective paddles on the end effector may fan out and transfer the wafers to the chucks of the respective aligners.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 12, 2000
    Date of Patent: December 4, 2001
    Assignee: Asyst Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Daniel Babbs, Timothy Ewald, Matthew Coady, Jae Kim
  • Patent number: 6325749
    Abstract: A robot vehicle for hot-line job for transmission and distribution lines which comprises an insulating boom formed of an insulating material at a tip end stage of multiple stage booms, a base end of which is supported on an elevated work vehicle to be capable of swinging, pivoting up and down, and extending and contracting, and a frame provided on the tip end of the insulating boom, the frame mounting thereon double arm manipulators of multishaft construction for performing a distribution work, a slide device for sliding independently these right and left double arm manipulators front to rear, and lifting arms of multishaft construction having a function of lifting a heavy article, so as to allow an operator to perform remote control. An electric actuator is used for driving the double arm manipulators and the slide device, and hydraulic manipulators for driving the lifting arms.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 17, 1999
    Date of Patent: December 4, 2001
    Assignees: Kabushiki Kaisha Yaskawa Denki, Kyushu Electric Power Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Hirofumi Inokuchi, Toshihide Tomiyama, Yoshihiro Yurita, Shinji Murai, Yusuke Hirano, Shinji Harada, Kengo Tsuruta, Youichi Motomura, Kazutoshi Imai, Yoshiaki Haga, Yoshikatsu Nakamura, Yukio Hashiguchi, Mitsuhiro Matsuzaki, Hiromichi Yamada, Akihiko Mishima, Yoshinaga Maruyama, Kyoji Yano, Moriyuki Nakashima, Osamu Yamashita
  • Patent number: 6323615
    Abstract: A modular articulated robot structure (FIG. 4) composed of a series of independent modules (10,100,300) releasably connected to each other to form various configurations. The modules (10,100,300) may be of the rotary (10), linear (100), or wheeled (300) type. The rotary modules (10) are generally formed of first and second substantially U-shaped structural members (12,14) pivotally attached to one another by means of a pair of axles or pivot pins (26) adapted to support a workload exerted on the module (10). A motor (48) is mounted internally of the module (10) for pivoting the second structural member (14) relative to the first structural member (12). The motor (48) is connected to the second structural member (14) in such a way that it is not submitted to outside loads exerted on the module (10).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 30, 1999
    Date of Patent: November 27, 2001
    Inventor: Charles Khairallah
  • Patent number: 6309162
    Abstract: A data storage system comprising: a media picker displacement path having a first end and a second end; a first media picker assembly mounted in the picker displacement path; a second media picker assembly mounted in the picker displacement path; a plurality of data storage media access locations located along the picker displacement path; the first media picker assembly being displaceable along the path from the first end to a point of interfering contact with the second media picker assembly; the second media picker assembly being displaceable along the path from the second end to a point of interfering contact with the first media picker assembly; the storage system having a normal running operating mode wherein the first media picker assembly is stationarily positioned at the first end of the displacement path and the second picker assembly is selectively positionable along the remainder of the path; the storage system having a fall back running operating mode wherein the second media picker assembly is s
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 13, 1999
    Date of Patent: October 30, 2001
    Assignee: Hewlett-Packard Company
    Inventor: Joseph M. White
  • Patent number: 6297611
    Abstract: A substrate handling system comprises a robot containing mico-environment in communication with a plurality of processing stations. The robot has a robot arm comprising an end effector linkage mounted to an extensible linkage. Each of the linkages is independently actuatable using an associated motor, with the extensible linkage serving to convey the end effector linkage to the vicinity of a target processing station for delivery or retrieval of a substrate. Motion of the linkages may be synchronized to reduce travel time, and multiple end effectors may be mounted to the extensible linkage for increasing throughput.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 6, 2000
    Date of Patent: October 2, 2001
    Assignee: Genmark Automation
    Inventors: Alexander Todorov, Zlatko Sotirov, Mila Genov
  • Patent number: 6292716
    Abstract: Several methods and subsystems are provided for aligning a workpiece as it is being loaded into a die space of a bending apparatus, and for performing sensor-based control of a robot as it moves a workpiece from one location to another within a bending apparatus environment. A backgaging mechanism is provided with finger gaging mechanisms having force sensors for sensing forces in directions perpendicular to and parallel to a die. In addition, a robot gripper sensor is provided for sensing either or both of shear forces and normal forces created by movement of a workpiece being held by the gripper.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 13, 1999
    Date of Patent: September 18, 2001
    Assignees: Amada America, Inc., Amada Company, Ltd.
    Inventors: Richard M. Moore, Jr., David Alan Bourne, Kerry L. Elkins, Anne Marie Murray, Robert H. Sturges, Jr., Kensuke Hazama
  • Patent number: 6289264
    Abstract: A debugging system in which, when any trouble occurs in robot program using variables and debugging is to be performed, a specific variable as the probable cause of the trouble and a relevant reference variable are specified, and presence or absence of the specific variable in the called-up robot program is detected. When any specific variable appears, the values of the specific variable and the reference variables are acquired and displayed together with the robot program information.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 27, 2000
    Date of Patent: September 11, 2001
    Assignee: Mitsubishi Denki Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventor: Hideo Zenke
  • Patent number: 6253120
    Abstract: An interacting term existing in a control system is decoupled on the basis of a regular condition of a decoupling matrix. Then, an hyperplane &sgr; which has been obtained to satisfy the Lyapunov stability condition is designed. A control quantity is converged along the hyperplane &sgr;. In this case, even if the uncertainty is generated in a C matrix for connecting a state variable x(t) and an output y(t) of an object to be controlled, it is possible to converge the control quantity while always satisfying the Lyapunov stability condition. A non-linear input gain ki (x,t) used in the control system is designed to be greater than a predetermined value when there is no uncertainty in the C matrix to satisfy the Lyapunov stability condition. Also, a control input signal based upon the sliding mode decoupling control is converted to an articulation torque by a Jacobian. Also, for the control input signal, reverse dynamics of non-linear force are added thereto.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 27, 1998
    Date of Patent: June 26, 2001
    Assignee: Seiko Seiki Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventors: Akira Shimada, Yoshinobu Ohtachi, Tsutomu Mita
  • Patent number: 6186736
    Abstract: This invention relates to a device for removing and transporting articles, such as ophthalmic lens mold sections, or packaging elements from a mold. The invention, in one embodiment includes first, second, and third assemblies; the first of which removes the articles from the molding station at a first location and transports them to a second location; the second assembly receives the articles from the first assembly and transports them to a third location, and the third assembly receives the articles from the second assembly and transports them to a fourth location. A second embodiment includes a flipper assembly disposed between the first and second assemblies, which flipper receives the articles from the first assembly and inverts them before depositing them onto the second assembly. This second embodiment is useful in conjunction with molded articles which are transported to the flipper assembly in an inverted position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 14, 1999
    Date of Patent: February 13, 2001
    Assignee: Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.
    Inventors: Victor Lust, Stephen Robert Beaton, Scott Frederick Ansell, Henri Armand Dagobert, Phillip King Parnell, Sr., Craig William Walker, Daniel Tsu-Fang Wang
  • Patent number: 6176669
    Abstract: This invention relates to a device for removing and transporting articles, such as ophthalmic lens mold sections, or packaging elements from a mold. The invention, in one embodiment includes first, second, and third assemblies; the first of which removes the articles from the molding station at a first location and transports them to a second location; the second assembly receives the articles from the first assembly and transports them to a third location, and the third assembly receives the articles from the second assembly and transports them to a fourth location. A second embodiment includes a flipper assembly disposed between the first and second assemblies, which flipper receives the articles from the first assembly and inverts them before depositing them onto the second assembly. This second embodiment is useful in conjunction with molded articles which are transported to the flipper assembly in an inverted position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 12, 1999
    Date of Patent: January 23, 2001
    Assignee: Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.
    Inventors: Victor Lust, Stephen Robert Beaton, Scott Frederick Ansell, Henri Armand Dagobert, Phillip King Parnell, Sr., Craig William Walker, Daniel Tsu-Fang Wang
  • Patent number: 6132441
    Abstract: The present invention is a device having a rigidly linked jaw that is decoupled from an articulating wrist. The device provides for articulating motion as well as actuation that may be used in grasping, cutting, suturing or the like.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 7, 1999
    Date of Patent: October 17, 2000
    Assignee: Computer Motion, Inc.
    Inventor: Kenneth Grace
  • Patent number: 6079940
    Abstract: This invention relates to a device for removing and transporting articles, such as ophthalmic lens mold sections, or packaging elements from a mold. The invention, in one embodiment includes first, second, and third assemblies; the first of which removes the articles from the molding station at a first location and transports them to a second location; the second assembly receives the articles from the first assembly and transports them to a third location, and the third assembly receives the articles from the second assembly and transports them to a fourth location. A second embodiment includes a flipper assembly disposed between the first and second assemblies, which flipper receives the articles from the first assembly and inverts them before depositing them onto the second assembly. This second embodiment is useful in conjunction with molded articles which are transported to the flipper assembly in an inverted position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 15, 1999
    Date of Patent: June 27, 2000
    Assignee: Johnson & Johnson Vision Products, Inc.
    Inventors: Victor Lust, Stephen Robert Beaton, Scott Frederick Ansell, Henri Armand Dagobert, Phillip King Parnell, Sr., Craig William Walker, Daniel Tsu-Fang Wang