So an Engineer Walks into the Science Center…

I walked into the Arizona Science Center this past weekend to see the interactive robots exhibition.   I took some grandkids along so I wouldn’t be conspicuous…  and ran into an old friend there that the kids didn’t know:
Can you name him?  (I’ll provide a clue; I blogged about him before: “Klaatu barada nikto! And salad dressing.”)

I was really looking for PROFIBUS and PROFINET in industrial robots, but this is as close as I came:
Two joysticks for controls – nothing automatic.  There were some real industrial robots mentioned in words though, including the ground-breaking Unimate.

If it were necessary to change the tooling on even the simple block-building robot then it could have benefitted from PROFINET.  One reason you could not use an Industrial Ethernet for robot tooling was that it took too long to make a tool change.  Ethernet has to negotiate between the data providers and consumers and that takes time.  PROFINET found a way to speed that up allowing fast tooling changes.  This makes PROFINET practical for all aspects of manufacturing including robot tooling.  You can find details of this technique in the PROFINET news article “Fast Start Up for PROFINET IO.”

I was happy to see that there was an exhibition wall highlighting FIRST robotics.  This is a very worthwhile effort to involve youngsters in robotics.   And for more ways to involve them, give them an engineering Christmas gift.  Some are highlighted in this video.  (Hat tip: Phoenix Contact twitter feed.)

–Carl Henning