Happy New Year from HRI! We hope that 2016 will be a happy, safe and productive year for you. At HRI, 2015 was a year of new product introductions, new customer engagements, new employee onboarding, new business models, and most of all, a growing excitement about the way advanced technology is hitting just about every industry. These new technological introductions will help to make every business run smoother, especially when it concerns onboarding. According to companies like Jitterbit, (https://www.jitterbit.com/solutions/workday-integration/), the onboarding process consists of 54 activities, which include setting up the payroll and conducting training, amongst many more. So if there are ways that technology can improve this, this is definitely something that should be greatly considered. We’re writing to tell you a little bit about what we’re looking forward to in the year ahead, and also to share a few interesting moments from the past year. From product introductions, to exciting collaborations with world class organizations like Mitsubishi Electric and DARPA, here are just a few of our highlights from 2015:
In FEBRUARY, we officially announced the launch of our CAN-Sync Wireless CAN Bridge, a product that delivers a reliable link between CAN interfaces for applications where wiring isn’t an option. Since then, we’ve shipped the CAN-Sync all over the world. It’s been put to work in forestry and agricultural operations, recycling plants, parking garages, mining trucks, pile drivers, and more. The CAN-Sync has been a welcome addition to our suite of safe wireless products, and we’ve received great feedback from customers on its range and reliability.
In JUNE, our Wireless Emergency Stops were used by every team at the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals, where the world’s most advanced robots faced off on a disaster relief obstacle course. We were honored to be chosen by DARPA as the provider of emergency stops for this elite competition.
As robotic technology evolves, so does the need for more advanced safety controls. Our partnership with DARPA shows that HRI is ready to meet that need by providing cutting-edge safety tools for the world’s next generation of robotics. More on the challenge, and some cool photos here.
In SEPTEMBER, we debuted an exciting collaboration with Mitsubishi Electric Automation at Pack Expo. We’ve been working with Mitsubishi on a customized wireless teach pendant that implements our wireless protocol for safety critical functions like emergency stopping and enable devices. The result was a custom wrapper for a Microsoft Surface Pro tablet PC that adds dead man switches and an E-Stop, and enables the controller to be used with industrial robots. This tool will allow Mitsubishi’s customers to control their entire manufacturing cell while mobile, rather than having to plug into each machine individually. We are excited about the advances in safety and productivity that this is going to bring to the factory!
Mitsubishi Product Application Specialist Steve Pacitto and HRI Co-Founder Samuel Reeves
In NOVEMBER, our Principal Control Systems Engineer Nathan Bivans became certified as a CMSE® – Certified Machinery Safety Expert. This distinction demonstrates that Nathan has completed the foremost machinery safety training program of its kind, and has been certified as an expert by TÜV NORD. Nathan has been with HRI since 2012, after working with Apple , Motorola, and Lutron Electronics. He plays a crucial role in the development of our technology for embedded and safety critical systems. Nathan’s new certification is just one more example of HRI’s continued and rigorous commitment to excellence in machine safety.
Safe Remote Control: Our Safe Remote Control System continued to find interesting and worthwhile applications throughout the year with customers in every domain of mobile robotics: in the air, on and under the water, and on land. It also confirmed our belief that all machines are becoming robots by finding new applications from defense to construction vehicles to amusement parks.
Custom Projects: While our stock products continued to grow in 2015, we were increasingly grateful for a growing number of custom requests from machinery innovators with complex needs for wireless machine control. It’s a sign of the times that most machinery producers across virtually all industries are thinking about how to make their products more intelligent, autonomous, mobile, collaborative, safer and more productive through some addition of advanced technology. We have been enormously grateful for requests to apply our wireless technology to situations we could not have foreseen years ago, and are encouraged by our ability to apply our core principles to a varying array of machine control situations. Look for our custom development program to be more formalized and take an increasing role in 2016.
On Deck in 2016: We’re looking forward to this year! Current plans to aggressively expand our product line, team, and customer outreach include:
- An authorized integrator program to formalize our great relationships at the “tip of the spear.”
- A variety of new form factors for handheld controllers that will open up new ways of customizing the way humans interact with machines.
- A new machine-side receiver that’s smaller, incredibly reliable, and compatible with an even greater array of industries.
- Massive multipoint functionality, for controlling and emergency stopping a swarm of machines.
- Collaborative partnerships with a few of the most recognizable companies in the world to jointly develop next generation technology in both the mobile and industrial realms.
In short, 2015 was a great year, and one where we saw an increasing number of industries begin to embrace wireless control. We are gratified to see our products bring safe, efficient control to fields as varied as automotive manufacturing, specialty robotics, defense, recycling, agriculture, mining, forestry, and more. All signs point to a future where all machines are going wireless, and we’re here to provide the tools to make that transition safely and smoothly.
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our customers from 2015 and say that we are looking forward to collaborating with you as time goes on. Please stay in touch, and best wishes for a safe and prosperous 2016!