Lasers and Optical Fibres in Robotics A recent article on “Lasers and Optical Fibres in Robotics” by Elzbieta Marszalec and Janusz Marszalec of the Technical Research Centre of Finland, published in the Industrial Robot (Vol. 17 No. 3, 1990, pp. 149–53) outlines the role and benefits of the integration of lasers and fibre optics into robotic systems. The article says that robotic systems are required to be more intelligent and possess a certain degree of adaptability to unstructured environments. As a necessary condition in this case robots must be equipped with a number of sensors and measuring systems whose output data constitute input values for adaptive control algorithms. Some sensors used for this purpose are based on laser and optical fibre technology. Indeed robots are also used more often for flexible manufacturing, including non‐contact processing operations involving laser radiation. The integration of different optoelectronic devices may well influence the design of new robots and their successful applications. The authors clearly believe that combining lasers and fibre optics into robotics systems can increase productivity and the application of robots in hostile environments. By reviewing the use of lasers in measurement, laser‐robot processing, and discussing optical fibre sensors and other optical fibres systems, the researchers are convinced that there is a good prospect for the wider exploitation of these technologies in robotics and automation.
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