From factory floors and construction sites to operating theaters, we are working ever more closely with artificial assistants. First Sensor is using optical sensors and camera systems to help drive human–machine interaction forward.
They measure light impulses with integrated amplification in the nanosecond range. As one of the leading manufacturers, First Sensor also develops and produces arrays for LIDAR-systems.
What role do sensor systems play in collaboration with machines?
Sensors are key elements in allowing machines to take on more and more tasks. Until a few years ago, working with collaborative robots, or "cobots", was possible only if an array of safety precautions were adhered to. The trend toward taking machines previously housed in cages and allowing them to work more closely with human colleagues as collaborative systems calls for equipment such as sensors that monitor a robot's surroundings, give it dexterity when it grasps objects or determine its position in the room. Sensors thereby enable humans and machines to interact more safely and with greater freedom.
Where can sensors improve safety?
Since 1992, a key customer has been purchasing avalanche photodiodes from First Sensor for monitoring surroundings in an industrial setting. Today, we are its main supplier, satisfying 75% of the company's APD demand. Our sensors are used in equipment such as light curtains, which cause machines to stop when people enter critical areas. APDs also act as artificial eyes in the company's laser scanners. These quickly detect personnel around driverless transport robots, enabling the latter to adjust their speed. In addition, a US manufacturer of construction machinery, which has been a partner of ours since 2015, employs the camera systems produced by our First Sensor Mobility GmbH for remotely controlling and monitoring the surroundings of its heavy-duty giants. After all, not having a clear view of a construction site or mine increases the risk of serious accidents involving the machinery.
Surgical robots alllow high-precision procedures to be performed.
Camera systems improve safety in work involving heavy-duty construction machinery.
Robots are on the march in medical technology as well. For what purposes are they used?
Doctors can currently use surgical robots to carry out high-precision procedures in fields such as urology. At First Sensor Microelectronic Packaging GmbH, we deliver integrated manufacturing services for a system that has been approved for operations in the USA since 2000 and is becoming increasingly popular in Europe as well. Surgical robots enable more delicate work with an outstanding 3D view. Although operations involving the systems are still very expensive, the use of robots in medical applications will continue to spread in the years to come.
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