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Enhancing visibility and interaction with robot at Design Museum

04 April 2017

ABB has supplied a custom enclosure for the inaugural exhibition at London’s brand new Design Museum.

The exhibition includes an installation by artist Madeline Gannon with an interactive 1,200kg ABB industrial robot that is separated from visitors by ABB’s Jokab Safety Quick-Guard safety fencing. The fencing provides a protective and transparent barrier that allows the public to interact and play with the robot in safety while giving clear and uninterrupted visibility. 

Called Mimus, the robot has been programmed to act as a sentient creature that responds to visitors using motion sensors and control software. Mimus interacts with visitors by mirroring their movements. The installation explores the potential for relationships between humans and machines. 

However, Mimus is also an industrial robot that can lift 300kg. It is based on an ABB IRB6700 with an IRC5 Controller, one of the world’s most advanced industrial robots. 

“Having visited myself, I’ve seen how Mimus the robot has captivated visitors. It’s obvious that the IRB6700 is an incredibly powerful robot and I was glad to have a clear view in safety from behind the Jokab Quick-Guard fencing,” said Shane White, ABB’s Product Marketing Manager. “Anyone can create their own custom designs for this type of fencing, whether their priority is visibility or enhanced safety levels and security in a tough industrial environment.” 

As well as being an artist, Gannon is a researcher in robotics at Carnegie Mellon University in the United States. She is aware that such robots typically work inside cages or cells that protect the safety of industrial workers by preventing them from approaching directly. Gannon wanted the same high level of protection for museum visitors as industrial workers, while allowing clear and unhindered visibility. 

Gannon turned to ABB to meet her objectives for safety with the ability to install the fencing inside the Design Museum’s exhibition space. The enclosure is based on ABB’s Jokab Safety Quick-Guard fencing for industrial applications and if needed can resist impact from enthusiastic visitors running into it. It features full-height clear polycarbonate panels for an unbroken view on three sides and a reinforced steel back panel. 

The enclosure panels are held into an aluminium frame that features a patented guide and locking brackets that make it easy to assemble, dismantle or modify. It was designed using SafeCAD software, which integrates with the popular AutoCAD computer aided design software and is available for download from ABB’s website.

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