Qualcomm Unleashes A Raft of New Products for WiFi and Autonomous Robots

Qualcomm has been quite busy releasing new products and devoting time to conversations. Networking advances are intriguing. Qualcomm has news beyond WiFi 6 that others are touting with news of a WiFi 7 platform. Other news includes an AR chip set and technology for mobile robotics.

Let’s take a tour through Qualcomm news:

Qualcomm Debuts Wi-Fi 7 Networking Pro Series, a Scalable Commercial Wi-Fi 7 Platform

Highlights:

  • Qualcomm Technologies is currently sampling the world’s most scalable Wi-Fi 7 networking platform portfolio commercially available, with offerings ranging from 6 to 16 streams, for next-generation enterprise access points, high performance routers, and carrier gateways
  • Third-generation Qualcomm Networking Pro Series platforms bring key Wi-Fi 7 features like 320MHz channel support establishing new performance benchmarks in wireless networking of up to 33 Gbps wireless interface capacity and peak throughputs over 10 Gbps.
  • These Qualcomm Networking Pro Series platforms continue the legacy of innovative, custom architectural design optimized for multi-user environments, to power the collaboration, telepresence, XR, metaverse, and immersive gaming applications of today and tomorrow’s home and enterprise environments.
  • Qualcomm Networking Pro Series platforms are supported by Qualcomm Technologies’ turnkey service for Automated Frequency Control (AFC) to enable the highest performance possible in the 6GHz spectrum band.

Qualcomm Technologies announced its Wi-Fi 7 capable Qualcomm Networking Pro Series Gen 3 family of platforms. Now sampling and available to global development partners, the Qualcomm Networking Pro Series, Gen3 is the world’s highest performance Wi-Fi 7 network infrastructure platform portfolio commercially available. Building upon the multi-generation legacy of the Qualcomm Networking Pro Series platforms, the products combine Wi-Fi 7 features with Qualcomm Technologies’ intelligent multi-channel management technologies to improve speeds, lower latency, and enhance network utilization for users of Wi-Fi 6/6E devices while offering game-changing throughput and incredibly low latency for the next generation of Wi-Fi 7 client devices.

This third generation of the Qualcomm Networking Pro Series sets new industry benchmarks for networking platform performance. The family enables systems with peak aggregate wireless capacity of 33 Gbps and point-to-point connections exceeding 10 Gbps. With advanced features for interference detection and multilink operation, the Wi-Fi 7 Network Pro Series enables deterministic low latency across challenging shared wireless environments, enabling application performance rivaling private spectrum. The products can support high speed low latency wireless backhaul for home mesh Wi-Fi and enterprise infrastructure with reliable performance even in the presence of neighboring interference. When combined with high performance internet access such as 5G fixed-wireless access or 10G PON fiber, customers can experience immersive connected experiences including high resolution videoconferencing, AR/VR, and high-performance cloud gaming.  

Wireless AR Smart Viewer Reference Design Powered by the Snapdragon XR2 Platform

The Wireless AR Smart Viewer eliminates the cord between an AR glass and a compatible smartphone, Windows PC, or processing puck and still achieves virtually lag-free AR experiences using a fully integrated Qualcomm FastConnect 6900 System combined with the new FastConnect XR Software Suite.

The reference design, which is being sampled to select OEMs, boasts a 40% thinner profile and a more balanced weight distribution2 .

Qualcomm Technologies announced another milestone in making extended reality (XR) the next computing platform with the Wireless AR Smart Viewer Reference Design, powered by the Snapdragon® XR2 Platform. The cord-free reference design helps OEMs and ODMs more seamlessly and cost-efficiently prototype and bring to market lightweight, premium AR glasses to enable immersive experiences that unlock the metaverse. 

Greater Performance, Sleeker Device: The purpose-built, premium Snapdragon XR2 Platform now packs powerful performance into a slim, smaller AR glass form factor. The AR reference design hardware, developed by Goertek, has a 40% thinner profile and a more ergonomically balanced weight distribution3 for increased comfort. SeeYA provides the dual micro-OLED binocular display enabling 1920 x 1080 per eye and frame rates up to 90Hz and a no-motion-blur feature to deliver a seamless AR experience. Dual monochrome cameras and one RGB camera on the smart viewer enable six-degrees of freedom (6DoF) head tracking and hand tracking with gesture recognition to achieve AR precision.

Qualcomm Advances Development of Smarter and Safer Autonomous Robots

Highlights:

• As 5G advances beyond the smartphone, 5G and premium AI-enabled robotics, drones and intelligent machine solutions will empower more productive, intelligent, and advanced robots, unlocking new possibilities with critical intelligence and maximum efficiency.

• Qualcomm Robotics RB6 Platform and the Qualcomm RB5 AMR Reference Design – bring enhanced AI and 5G together to power next-generation robotics, drones and intelligent machines including autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), delivery robots, highly automated manufacturing robots, urban air mobility (UAM) aircrafts, autonomous defense solutions, and beyond.

• Latest solutions unleash innovative possibilities for industries looking to adopt robots and realize the benefits of the solutions at the connected intelligent edge.

The Qualcomm Robotics RB6 Platform and the Qualcomm RB5 AMR Reference Design will support evolving applications for OEMs and robot manufacturers looking to integrate ground robots in industrial use cases across sectors including government service applications, logistics, healthcare, retail, warehousing, agriculture, construction, utilities, and more. The new solutions will accelerate the digital transformation of industries and serve as a key enabler for Industry 4.0.

High Speed Robotics Alignment Software

Robotics has been more in the news coming my way the past six months than in perhaps the past six years. Much development shows progress, but I hope for more expansion of applications into areas of life adjacent to manufacturing. Society will face future worker shortages give the global decline in birth rates. Robotics will be necessary to fill the gap. I unfortunately will miss the Automate show next month where robots will be on display since I’ll be at the ARC Forum. But I’ll pass along news. For starters, here is an interesting advance from ABB Robotics.

ABB launches breakthrough robot alignment software, increasing electronics manufacturing speed and accuracy.

TL;DR:

  • HighSpeed Alignment software uses vision technology to deliver breakthrough 70 percent increase in speed and 50 percent increase in accuracy
  • Software adds to electronics manufacturing portfolio that includes new variant of ABB’s IRB 1300 with cleanroom option and IP54 IRB 920T SCARA robots

ABB’s High Speed Alignment software is the first to offer manufacturers the ability to increase the speed of 6-axis robots by 70 percent, and accuracy by 50 percent – significantly reducing time-to-market while increasing accuracy levels.

The PC-based software includes Visual Servoing technology using one or more cameras, combined with a computer vision system, to control the position of the robot relative to the workpiece.  As the robot is moving, the cameras continuously capture image information that the computer vision system processes to cross check and adjust the robotic movements to deliver 0.01 to 0.02 millimeter precision.

Liang Rui, Managing Director for ABB’s Robotics Electronics business line said “Sales of smartphones, wearables and other high-tech devices are growing and advances in electronics are gathering pace. As devices become smaller and more powerful, new automation solutions are required to quickly and accurately place components, ensuring that production can keep pace with demand while maintaining the highest levels of product quality.”

ABB’s articulated 6-axis robots are highly flexible for handling complex tasks in tight spaces and can perform a variety of meticulous placement tasks. The High Speed Alignment software was developed to find the balance between speed and accuracy.

The software is compatible with ABB’s IRB 1100 and IRB 120 industrial robots. More information and access to RobotWare High Speed Alignment can be found here.

Alongside its software portfolio, ABB robotics continues to expand its robot portfolio for electronics manufacturing with its IRB 1300 new variant and the IRB 920T SCARA new options. The new IRB 1300 combines a high payload of 12 kilograms and a reach of 1.4 meters, allowing it to handle more and heavier objects at the same time, enabling more products to be produced per hour and increasing productivity.  ABB’s IRB 920T SCARA robot includes new options with IP54 and Cleanroom, ensuring stable production in dusty, wet, and cleanroom environments. 

Add Capacity to Autonomous Mobile Robot

While I am on a MODEX/material handling robot kick, check out this equipment that boosts payload of the Mobile Industrial Robots’ autonomous mobile robot. I can’t believe how this area of the market has heated over the past five years.

ROEQ is launching a top module and carts boosting the payload of the MiR250 robot from 250kg to 500kg.

‘Doing more with less’ is what users of the MiR250 mobile robot will realize with the new ROEQ TMS-C500 Ext and S-Cart500Ext. As the product names indicate, the new top module/cart combo enables the robot to carry up to 500 kg payload (1102 lbs), effectively doubling the payload of Mobile Industrial Robots’ best-selling autonomous mobile robot (AMR). The design of the TMS-C500 Ext top module also allows transportation of larger cargo with up to 1.2 meters (47.2 in) length without compromising safety as the emergency stop button is easily accessible. Increased tilt stability is provided by the longer wheelbase of the S-Cart500 Ext.

“We are unaware of any other cart solutions in the market enabling this level of payload increase with the same maneuverability,” says Michael Ejstrup Hansen, Managing Director of ROEQ. “This is the ideal solution for businesses looking for a safe and cost-effective AMR solution,” he says, adding that the smaller robot with boosted payload is ideal for businesses looking to autonomously transport heavier goods in narrow and space constrained areas.

The ROEQ cart solution picks up and drops off the ROEQ S-Cart in free space.  This means no affixed floor space or docking stations are needed for pickups, which gives businesses flexible use of their AMRs in an efficient logistics handling setup where the robots are never left idling.

Standardized mobile robotic equipment (MRE) from ROEQ is not just fully compatible with the MiR AMRs, it also supports AMR deployments that are fully compliant with applicable safety regulations. “We bring standard off-the-shelf robotic equipment to market that is well tested,” says Hansen.  “We’ve put our knowledge of designing cart systems for AMRs into this new solution, raising the bar for what cart systems can handle while leveraging the full potential of the powerful MiR250 robot.”

Just like all ROEQ top modules, the TMS-C500 Ext comes with ROEQ Assist software that loads pre-coded missions into the MiR robot, which can then be modified in the MiR interface, resulting in quick and consistent application deployments for robust AMR setups throughout the facility.

The new cart solution for the MiR250 is the latest payload boosting AMR offering from ROEQ, that also recently released the TMS-C1500 and S-Cart1500W top module and cart that allow the MiR1350 AMR to be deployed on applications with payloads of up to 1500 kg (3307 lbs) for the first time.

ROEQ develops equipment for mobile robots that effectively bridges the gap between the warehouse and production, allowing the industry to achieve fully automated internal logistics between storage and production. ROEQ was founded in 2017 and is a 100% Danish-owned company with the majority of the robotic components also supplied by Danish companies. Today, ROEQ develops, manufactures and sells its products in nearly 40 countries through more than 100 distributors.

Mixed Case Palletizing Solution

MODEX trade show is happening in Atlanta this week, but I’m sitting in the Chicago suburbs staring at snow flurries. <sigh> However, I am not bereft of news. This is the material handling show. I attend when it’s convenient, since this is not one of my specialties. Here is a solution to a problem I’ve tried to solve earlier in my career—mixed-case palletizing.

Robotics technology company Mujin will debut mixed-case robotic palletizing with intelligent buffer and re-sequencing capability. This novel application is one of several innovative solutions in Mujin’s booth (#B1407) highlighting how its intelligent robotics solutions can perform challenging picking and packing tasks without the need for advanced programming.

Mixed-case palletizing has been difficult, if not impossible, to automate. Traditionally, this labor-intensive operation requires material handlers to store the cases for an order until there are enough cases to build the pallet. Recently, many organizations have begun the process of automating the storage and sequencing of their goods to make human packers more efficient, but such material handling equipment is expensive and has a large footprint. With Mujin-powered palletizers, the robot can buffer and re-sequence cases without the need for upstream material handling equipment. These palletizers eliminate the manual operation and automate without huge operational and infrastructure changes.

“Robots are becoming more intelligent, and new applications such as mixed-case palletizing are now possible,” said Ross Diankov, co-founder, Mujin. “With Mujin solutions, all warehouses need to do is send the boxes directly to the robots, and they’ll re-sequence them before placing them on the pallet. That’s it. The process is significantly easier, more reliable and much less costly.”

Mujin’s flagship product, the MujinController, controls robots from top robotic arm vendors Fanuc, Kawasaki, Mitsubishi and Yaskawa Motoman using advanced sensing and real-time motion planning. The MujinController guides the movement of any robot arm via machine intelligence, a new and advanced category of artificial intelligence (AI) that automatically manages potential downtime scenarios through perception and autonomous decision making without the need for human intervention.

Smarter Assembly Line Robot

Robots and robotics in the news have escalated during the past few years. This includes typical hardware, end effectors and tools, and software. In this case, here is news from Symbiotic Robotics, provider of software that automatically powers AI-controlled industrial robots for flexible auto manufacturing.

The company recently announced its latest work with Toyota Motor North America. SymbioDCS software enables robots to automate assembly processes and allows robots to learn, adapt and execute tasks on Toyota’s highest volume production lines, including both traditional and hybrid electric Camry, RAV4, Sequoia, and Tundra models.

Automation from Symbio is designed to solve car manufacturing pain points. “Engineering teams at Toyota are leveraging Symbio’s technology, expertise and best practices of artificial intelligence (AI) to increase efficiency, improve quality and reduce ergonomic hazards,” said Symbio CEO and co-founder Max Reynolds. “Cars are changing. Manufacturing processes are changing. We’re proud to be working with Toyota to help them adapt for a competitive advantage.” 

SymbioDCS is an industrial robotics middleware and python programming framework that helps simplify the programming of industrial robots. It enables robot programmers to leverage real-time sensor information and feedback from existing automation sensors in combination with advanced control software, resulting in more capable and flexible robots.

One application Toyota leverages is Symbio’s moving line technology where robotic assembly is done as vehicles are carried down an active production line in the plant. Symbio software is also used to perform tasks, such as wax application, without making stops.

Novanta Partners with MassRobotics to Advance Next Generation of Robotics

Robotics has become a fertile field for innovation over the past few years. It will continue to advance providing many ways to assist humans in their work and their health. This news partly concerns medical/surgical robotics. I’ve recently talked with a friend facing such surgery, something quite risky only a few years ago with robotic assistance. This would be a good area to point young, enthusiastic engineers who want to make a difference.

Novanta Inc. announced a partnership with MassRobotics to help create and scale the next generation of robotics startups. Through the partnership, Novanta business units Celera Motion and ATI Industrial Automation will collaborate with MassRobotics to develop advanced innovations in medical/surgical robotics and improve robotic productivity.

MassRobotics is an independent, nonprofit organization serving as an innovation hub for robotics and connected devices. Its efforts include providing innovative entrepreneurs and startups with the workspace and resources they need to develop and commercialize their products and solutions.

Celera Motion is a provider of motion control components and subsystems for OEMs serving a variety of medical and advanced industrial markets. It will collaborate with MassRobotics and the other companies, organizations and research institutions that it works with to create new innovations across a wide spectrum of applications, especially in medical robotics.

ATI Industrial Automation, an engineering-based developer of robotic accessories and robot arm tooling, will work with MassRobotics to develop sophisticated technological solutions that improve robotic productivity.