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While robots can be common for case packing and palletizing processes, it has been a long and difficult road implementing traditional robotics into poultry processing due to numerous factors. One major factor is accuracy of sensing systems to control the robots. Researchers at GTRI have been developing and testing a system that utilizes Virtual Reality, allowing a human to provide key information to a robot enabling its operation. For this task, the team is exploring cone-loading and re-hang applications. However, this technology has far reaching potential for several applications all along the poultry processing chain. In addition, it abstracts the workers from the harsh environments and repetitive motion activities that pose a challenge for the line-workers by allowing them to perform these tasks from remote locations, even their own homes!
Colin Usher is a Senior Research Scientist and interim Branch Head of the Robotics Systems and Technologies branch at the Georgia Tech Research Institute where he has served as a technical lead and project manager over a 20 year career. He has managed several multidisciplinary teams in the development and evaluation of industrial automation prototype systems for a multitude of clients ranging from food and agriculture companies to Government sponsors such as the Georgia Department of Transportation. His technical expertise is in machine vision, robotics, system integration, and embedded systems development. Most recently, his work focuses on the intersection of virtual/extended reality systems and robotics.