What is the story behind Automata’s Eva ?
Automata is a British start-up that seeks to make automation accessible in small-batch industries. With a low-cost and flexible solution, they want to assist workers in fields like medical research with routine tasks.
Their Eva desktop robot speeds up applications such as manufacturing, analysis, and testing of samples while saving time for research teams. This cobot aims to democratize the use of robotics in laboratories and research workshops. Such ambition has attracted the attention of an industry giant like ABB, which acquired Automata in 2019.
But how does it work and does it actually operate on-site?
How do you use Eva cobot?
After unpacking the robotic arm, you can immediately set it up on its mounting bracket and plug it into your computer or tablet. By logging into the Choreograph interface, you can then unlock the robotic arm and start programming work paths.
Coding tasks from there is pretty straightforward: just click on the robot, move it to a position, and save that position on the interface. When you have defined a number of waypoints, you can test the process by pressing the Play button. You can use the full-speed execution mode or the teach mode. The latter allows you to run the program at reasonable speed to test and optimize it safely.
To add an end effector or a tool to your robot, you can define the input and output signals on the interface. You can then set the connection to 0 or 1 to operate the arm according to the desired timing. You can also add pauses, loop functions, and conditions to make your program more complex.
When you are sure of your program, you can then run it continuously to assist you in your task. Just don’t forget to keep the emergency stop button next to your application for safety reasons.
What are the possible applications of Eva?
Even though Eva has quite specialized features and functionalities, it can perform basic applications with great ease:
- Picking, placing and sorting objects
- Handling laboratory samples
- Loading and unloading machines
- Inspecting and quality control
- Assembly of parts
What about the interaction with the Automata cobot?
The user experience with Eva from Automata is simple and intuitive. There are three reasons for this:
First, the programming interface provides an easy-to-use and clean visual display. As a readily-accessible web application, it allows you to code a task in a few clicks. The best way to do it is through the smooth hand-guiding workflow. You’ll get the hang of it easily, and quickly create usable programs. However, to ensure a perfect work process, you’ll often have to manually adjust the positioning of the arms to the objects.
Secondly, Eva’s compact, lightweight and user-friendly design make it fit into any lab or manufacturing facility. With its sensing and safety capabilities, it can also avoid sudden off-course movements, damage, or injury. Although its motion accuracy is not the best on the market, it can still handle objects and perform effective quality control.
Finally, Eva easily connects to standard end effectors and sensors on the market, allowing it to perform more precise and varied applications. With an open software environment, it also adapts to hand-made tools or custom APIs. It responds smoothly to commands over your Ethernet or Wi-Fi network, allowing for remote control.
What to make of Eva from Automata ?
In conclusion, Eva is a strong investment for any small or medium-sized company that seeks to automate simple and small tasks. While it doesn’t provide industrial-like performance or productivity, it does perform reliable lightweight part picking and manipulation, allowing human workers to focus on higher-value cognitive work. Price is its strong asset to make automation accessible to laboratories, manufacturing facilities, and research centers. The user experience and open environment can also give users more customization possibilities. This makes it a perfect cobot for small research-related tasks.