The coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult, if not impossible, to gather all the partners in a single collaborative workspace, which has inevitably affected the progress of the RoBUTCHER project.
NMBU has been planning in the background and waiting for the days when coronavirus restrictions were relaxed. This breakthrough finally happened during the last quarter of 2021, triggering an intensive series of workshops held at NMBU’s RoBUTCHER MFC facility.
The three-week intensive workshops were attended, on various dates, by the following 17 consortium members: Oddgeir Auklend & Håvard Bakke – RobotNorge, Per Håkon Bjørnstad – ANIMALIA, Lars Bager Christensen – DTI-DMRI, Anton Popov and Oleh Smolkin – CIKLUM, Haris Hadzic & Tommy Jonsson – BYTEMOTION, Takács Kristóf – OBUDAUNI as well as the team here at NMBU Steven Ross, Luis Eduardo Cordova-Lopez, Ian de Medeiros Esper, Dmytro Romanov, Vebørn Corneliussen Storvik, Michaela Pincekova, Oyvind Bergh and Alex Mason.
The workshops themselves consisted of initial enabling work, including software updates and system checks followed by many carefully planned experiments that included but were not limited to:
Testing of both grippers (DTI-MRI & OBUDAUNI) during different processes from limb removal to placement of parts on inspection rack
Testing of inspection rack grippers and holders
Demonstration of the first cuts using the new smart-knife
AI gripping point generation and execution
AI cut trajectory generation and execution
Use of Node-Red to merge all of the components and control the overall process
The use of VR for trajectory rejection/approval, including the ability of butcher to generate new trajectories and send them to the robot for execution
Each experiment included many sub-tasks, which are too many to mention, but all contributed to very productive exercises. Of course, like all experimental work, everything did not go according to plan. But this was expected and is the true essence of collaborative laboratory testing, enabling the consortium partners to understand both the system limitations and how we can move forward to solve them.
On a final note, for nearly two years, everyone has faced working from home and conducting collaboration virtually via online platforms. The recent workshops have shown that professional, collaborative working relationships are subject to a tighter bond when interacting in person rather than via a video link. Unfortunately, it appears that we have not seen the last of coronavirus restrictions, but we hope that they have no new impacts on the project. With that said, we would like to thank all who were involved and look forward (coronavirus willing) to the next series of RoBUTCHER workshops held at NMBU in January.