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.
1 The robot first recognizes an assembly drawing and understands the “goal” of the task to be done (Fig. 2).
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).
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 , industrial intelligent robots with visual and/or tactile sensors , and fully-automatic semiconductor assembly systems with visual pattern recognition functions .