History of Robotics Research and Development of Japan1972Integration, Intelligence, etc.Intelligent Robot

Masakazu EjiriCentral Research Laboratory, Hitachi, Ltd.
Takeshi UnoCentral Research Laboratory, Hitachi, Ltd.
Haruo YodaCentral Research Laboratory, Hitachi, Ltd.
Tatsuo GotoCentral Research Laboratory, Hitachi, Ltd.
Kiyoo TakeyasuCentral Research Laboratory, Hitachi, Ltd.

Aiming at the revolutionary advances in production technology for the future industry, a vision-based prototype intelligent robot was developed in 1970 (Photo 1 and Fig. 1). This robot executed a variety of assembly tasks by responding to the assembly drawings shown to its eye. Followings are the major characteristics of this robot.

写真1 人工知能ロボット
Photo 1 General view of the intelligence robot
図1 人工知能ロボットの構成
Fig.1 Construction of the intelligent robot

1 The robot first recognizes an assembly drawing and understands the “goal” of the task to be done (Fig. 2).

図2 組立図面の認識
Fig.2 An example of assembly drawing recognition

2 The robot then recognizes the shape, position and posture of 3D objects (blocks) placed arbitrarily on a table, and thus understands the condition of the “start” of the task.

3 The robot further verifies the objects needed to the assembly task, plans the assembly procedure by analyzing disassembly sequence (from the goal to the start based on backward reasoning), and finally execute the task by assembling the objects to the form instructed by the drawing (Fig. 3).

図3 組立手順の決定
Fig.3 An example of assembly procedure planning

This Japan’s first “integrated” intelligent robot was demonstrated in the public eye at Hitachi's Technology Fair in 1970 (Photo 2), and formed the basis of the subsequent research in computer-controlled robotics. Especially, it was followed by the successive developments of world-leading practical machines such as visual inspection machines [1], industrial intelligent robots with visual and/or tactile sensors [2][3], and fully-automatic semiconductor assembly systems with visual pattern recognition functions [4].

写真2 技術展での一般公開風景(1970)
Photo 2 Public demonstration at Hitachi’s Technology Fair in 1970


Correspondence papers

M. Ejiri, T. Uno, H. Yoda, T. Goto and K. Takeyasu:A Prototype Intelligent Robot that Assembles Objects from Plan Drawings

IEEE Trans. Computers, Vol.C-21, No.2, pp.161-170, Feb. 1972
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Related papers

[1] M. Ejiri, T. Uno, M. Mese and S. Ikeda: A Process for Detecting Defects in Complicated Patterns, Comp. Graph. and Image Processing, Vol.2, No.3/4, pp.326-339, Dec. 1973

[2] T. Goto, T. Inoyama and K. Takeyasu: Precise Insert Operation by Tactile Controlled Robot HI-T-HAND Expert 2, Proc. 4th Int. Symp. Industrial Robots, pp.209-218, Nov. 1974

[3] T. Uno, M. Ejiri and T. Tokunaga: A Method of Real-time Recognition of Moving Objects and its Application, Pattern Recognition, Vol.8, pp.201-208, 1976

[4] S. Kashioka, M. Ejiri and Y. Sakamoto: A Transistor Wire-Bonding System Utilizing Multiple Local Pattern Matching Techniques, IEEE Trans. SMC, Vol.SMC-6, No.8, pp.562-570, Aug. 1976

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