Cobot; a collaborative robot that is intended to work in a shared space with humans, working in harmony and proximity to one another safely.
History of Cobots
Designed to work with and not replace humans, cobots are perfect for manual tasks such as cleaning flooring and delivering food products, leaving human staff to focus on more suitable tasks.
The first cobot was invented in 1996 by professors at Northwestern University, Michael Peshkin and J. Edward Colgate, following on from a General Motors initiative in 1994 and a grant the following year to find a way to make robots, or robot-like equipment, suitable and safe to use alongside people as part of a working team. The “Cobots” patent described the invention as:
“An apparatus and method for physical interaction between a person and a general-purpose manipulator controlled by a computer.”
The first version of cobots secured human safety due to the cobots having no internal source of motive power, instead functioning via computer control for tasks such as steering or redirecting stock, collaboratively with the rest of the human workforce. Later, cobots were provided with a limited amount of motive power.
Modern cobots feature built in sensors that can detect potential dangers and safety issues. Cobots are different to traditional robots as they can go into safety mode or divert their route meaning accidents are rare.
Benefits of Cobots
Ease of use – easy to use, sometimes straight out of the box, cobots are designed with the user in mind and are usually programmable / monitored via app or desktop computers.
Adaptable – using advanced technology and operating systems, cobots can learn new routes and adapt to complicated and complex environments safely and efficiently.
Complementary to work force – human employees are able to work on higher level tasks, whilst more monotonous tasks can be given to cobots, such as vacuuming with Whiz
Positive Financial Impact – with streamlined processes due to the use of cobots – with the added benefit of no days off for holiday or sickness – and tasks managed more efficiently within the workplace, production and productivity usually improves and this is noted in the bottom line.
Health and wellbeing boost – using a vacuum such as Whiz removes harmful particles in the air by 53% on average, making the workplace a healthier and safer place for staff, and customers or guests.