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What we do
Millions of years ago, in prehistoric Africa an early human picked up a stone and used it as a hammer. And so the first tool was born. Today, in China, Zi Jian and his team have taken the next evolutionary step: through simple hand gestures they’ve taught robots to use tools for us.
Imagine a world where robots and humans work side-by-side. Where you can command a robot to lift a box or pass a tool with absolute precision, using a simple hand gesture. Where the learning ability of humans and the accuracy and strength of robots work in harmony to make our lives easier, safer and richer.
That’s the vision of Zi Jian and his colleagues, a pioneering team researching and testing technologies for the future of manufacturing, as part of the Siemens ‘Autonomous Systems Revolution’ Project.
Hard at work at a lab in bustling Beijing, this world-class team are building a tool that lets humans and robots communicate. It has no keyboard and there isn’t a touchscreen in sight. But with leading-edge thinking and smart technology they’ve opened up a channel of communication between man and machine.
Like most children, Zi Jian loved robots, but what started out as a childhood hobby stayed with him throughout college and his PhD, when he took robotics classes in his free time. It wasn’t until he joined Siemens that he had the chance to work with a real robot. Zi Jian’s childhood passion became his profession.
For just over a year, Zi Jian has been working on the data glove, a tool that allows a person to control and command a robotic arm. Using different sensors, the glove captures and translates the movements and gestures of human hands – and, someday soon, their exact pressure levels – into actions that are performed by the hand of a robot. Through this clever mechanism a human can command a robot to pick up heavy objects, hand over tools and components, or assist in assembling