Monday, October 25, 2010

Robot is (finally) installed!

After two delays, today was finally the day. Early in the morning Udi and Arik from Neotec showed up for installation. After re-checking that the tables are flat, we set out to install the robot.

The first step was to unbox the robot from the huge shiping box.

All empty space inside the device was full of a box with various accessories. It took a while to realize that we don't have any hope of pulling it out as one box, and we resorted to removing the contents one-by-one.

Now we could start seeing the shape of the device, Tecan Evo 200, and admire it.

Next, Udi and Arik connect special handles to the robot frame.

We recruited Alon from the lab and Ayelet and set out to lift the Tecan (220kg according to Udi) onto the smallish cart that the Neotek people brought with them. 

Somewhat surprisingly, the cart held the weight, and we slowly moved the procession into the room and next to the table.

A bit of a coordinated heave, and the Tecan was on the table. Few more adjustments and it was located into place.

The curious people could now examine the details of the labels.

We then had a small unwrapping ceremony where we got a chance to remove all plastic protectors from the robot outer shell. 


Shy, who is the main software integrator showed up and joined the party. Arik set out to installing the device. This involved removing safety brackets and unlocking the  arms. It didn't take long for him to get to a stage where he set the device on a "Random Walk" mode. In this mode the robot tries moving the arms to different X/Y/Z locations to see that there are no obsticles or mechanical problems. It was fun to watch and gave a good impression of what the machine can do.

While the main Tecan was playing at random walk, Udi and Arik started assembling the movable arm. Its called Peak Robotic KiNEDx. It has a flexible gripper that can hold plates and move them from the Tecan to the microscope.

Once Udi managed to get the arm to move, we tested how far it can reach. We had to move the microscope a bit, but now the stage is in reach of the arm.
During this whole procession, Shy started working on interfacing with the external device. He had a quick success in interfacing with the microscope and in no time managed to show that he can control it from the driver he wrote. So, we are hopeful that the integration would be smooth.

And finally, the obligatory stop-motion film of the day's highlights. Given requests from the audience, I edited the sequence to be short and include the main interesting points. Enjoy!

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