Artificial intelligence is the stuff of Hollywood screenwriters and producers, right? Wrong. This technology is revolutionizing the way we interact with the world, from our cell phones to our appliances. And with software like Neocortex AI, the way we ship and receive these goods is also rapidly changing.
Based out of Nashville, Tennessee, Universal Logic is using their patented Neocortex artificial intelligence to bring the revolution to the warehouse and logistics industries. With its vision-enhanced sorting capabilities and human-like flexibility, this software platform can work at high speeds, and half the cost of labor.
What Is Neocortex AI?
Neocortex is an artificial intelligence platform for the control of robots and machines. With 3D vision capabilities, its extensive perception allows for easier and more efficient grasping, plus, it can direct robots in a human-like and flexible way. This allows machines guided by the software to work at high speeds while cutting the cost of labor in half.
This artificial intelligence software can be licensed on its own for use by DIY engineers, or it can be included with pre-designed worker cells, called Goods to Robot (G2R) cells.
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Neocortex artificial intelligence software can detect items that have been problematic in the past; items that are shrink-wrapped or that are oddly shaped present no problem for this system. Clear windows and translucent materials, or materials that are reflective or even matte black can be easily tracked with Neocortex's advanced systems.
During picking, this artificial intelligence software can also scan barcodes on up to 6 sides of the items picked. This allows for faster processing, and better information can then be sent downstream to engineers and inventory control managers.
Whether the goods are packed tightly or in random positions, Neocortex artificial intelligence software can handle the job easily. The software uses sorting levels to manage the items and can also be programmed sort out blacklisted items.
There are several options for the end-of-arm apparatus. There is a tool with ten rows of vacuums in 30 different zones capable of handling multi-picks of sizes between 9 and 42 inches. Finger-like grippers for more delicate manipulation come in 2, 3, and 4 finger options. Electromagnetic grippers are also available for the picking and sorting of metal goods.
The Neocortex software can be used in Universal Logic's G2Rs cells, but they also work with most prominent sensors and popular brands of robots. With its extended depth of field, the software has an extended range for picking and placement of goods. Collisions can also be avoided with the software's path planning capabilities.
Neocortex Artificial Intelligence Capabilities
Random Bin Packing
No matter the shape or size of the goods, the Neocortex artificial intelligence can sense and pick from any bin. It is the only system of its kind in the world that can handle thousands of cartons per hour in a constrained space. The software can also handle several hundred thousand SKUs, learning as it goes, giving it the capability of dealing with nearly infinite possible carton configurations.
This artificial intelligence software uses sensor information and can learn from experience to act in real time. This technology allows the sensors to pick through any random stacking pattern it may encounter. There are no pre-entered dimensions necessary, allowing any shape and size to be introduced without the need to program the machine.
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Cartons on a pallet are scanned, and the Neocortex AI determines which pick is best. It can also tell if a carton is misshapen or damaged, which aids in inventory control. Incredibly, all of this is done in only 700 milliseconds.
The pallets are cleared at an impressive speed due to the variety of end-of-arm appendages available which can allow multiple cartons to be picked at once. For further increased speed, the machine can be placed on a rail between two pallets, allowing one to be restocked as the Neocortex robot clears the other.
Neocortex understands its environment and can make sound, real-time decisions. It can pick or pack bearings of any size using its 3D sensors and can perform this function up to 44 picks per minute.
Multiple bearings can be picked at a time, or single bearings can be picked by themselves. Either option is available, and Universal Logic will tailor the sensor and robot to meet the customer's requirements.
Even the most delicate items can be handled by this software. Snack bags can be picked or packed with ease from random piles or a tote. The 3D vision guidance and precise machine software allow for optimum control of any item.
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Beverage replenishment is responsible for a surprisingly large part of an airline's budget. From over 9 million flights per year, catering kitchens are required to throw out cans that have been opened, sift through the unused beverages and sort them by hand, and then they must pack new beverages into the trolley drawers for every flight.
Neocortex takes care of all of this. It is the first automated beverage replacement solution for the airline industry. This software can sort through the used and unused cans and make up to 600 picks per hour. It can orient cans to stand on end or lie flat. The artificial intelligence can read the can labels and then restock the next beverage drawer using a predetermined assortment.
Neocortex makes order fulfillment much easier. In the pharmaceutical industry, for example, the software has been proven to handle an unlimited number of SKUs, pick and read barcodes, and offer 100% verification for products. The software can move at a brisk 14 picks per minute and handle up to 2 pounds per pick. It can even reorient the items for easier labeling downstream.
Automatic Machine Tending
Further decreasing the cost of labor, Neocortex provides automatic machine-tending capabilities which replace the need for human hands to move a product from a supply point to a machine. The software manages the transportation and orientation of stock at every stage, freeing up valuable resources.
3D Vision Inspection
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Whether making decisions about which items to pick first from a pallet or inspecting the pallet itself in real time, Neocortex's Spatial Vision 3D offers unparalleled potential. It can generate four 3D point clouds from separate sensors, analyze the images in real time, and run numerous quantitative and qualitative checks. This 3D system is low cost, allowing easy grading of pallets currently in use, and the identification of any repairs needed on incoming pallets.
This software is capable of more than just picking and packing single items. With its Spatial Vision 3D, the artificial intelligence can pair items together, recognizing how the items fit in relation to one another, eliminating the need for human hands to get into the mix.
Take a cup and straw combination, for example. The Neocortex AI can tell if the straw is properly looped before packing it into the cup. It does not matter if the straws are layered or in a pile, the software can use its arm tool to sort through them before picking. It can do all of this at an impressive rate of 14 picks per minute.
Possibly the most exciting capability of this artificial intelligence system is its ability to provide quality assurance in the food industry. The 3D sensors are capable of not only sorting and determining the real-time position of each plant, but it can also visually inspect each plant, ensuring the highest quality possible.
The system identifies, picks, and sorts the plants, eliminating the need for human interaction. The machine can pick over 500 million plants in just a single year. That comes to a whopping 1.1 million tons of strawberry fruit per year in one case study.
The benefits and capabilities of the Neocortex artificial intelligence software seem to be one and the same. It can be used on a DIY basis by engineers seeking to implement this software with their current robotic systems, or Universal Logic's G2Rs cells can be brought in to fill a void in logistics. Either option takes advantage of all that Neocortex has to offer.
Extended perception allows the software to pick and pack items that were once thought impossible to automate. Odd shapes and translucent packaging is no longer a problem, however, with this software's unique 3D-vision capabilities. This 3D vision also extends the usefulness, allowing the software to read barcodes and track inventory. The spatial awareness inherent in this technology also makes it a safe and reliable addition to any warehouse.
Directed Grasping allows the software to pick items which are packed tightly or in random positions and offers several options for the end-of-arm apparatus. For boxes and cartons, vacuum extensions can make picking up to 50% faster, while sorting through something as complicated as pharmaceuticals may require a more delicate finger-picking design.
With all of these advanced capabilities, one thing is clear: The AI revolution is here, and Neocortex is leading the way.