The Wheel - Jidoka

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The Wheel

14 January, 2015

One of the most revolutionary inventions in the History of Humanity, with capital letters, is the wheel. Something so apparently simple, seemingly so obvious, was not invented until a good number of millennia passed as Homo Sapiens.

The wheel, that disc with a central hole for the passage of an axle, supposed an exponential increase in the capacity to transport all kinds of goods and people. Later, it began the massive treatment of seeds in mills, and now, it has rolled to the present practically without important variations. The wheel was a turning point for humans.

The wheel is also a concept, it is the representation of an endless way of thinking, once it is set in motion does not end. This endless thought, in computer science, materializes in an iterative methodology to face projects.

Robotization, the construction of robots using Jidoka, is also carried out iteratively. The main steps are:

  • Studying the use of applications by people
  • Build the robot
  • Try it
  • Adjust if necessary

Studying the use of applications by people

There are various techniques for studying how human applications are used. We can record sessions, transfer processes to flowcharts, or write all kinds of documentation, among others. The only important thing at this point is to know what to do, sometimes we find the way it is done today can be improved upon from the point of view of robotization.

Build the robot

It is without a doubt the most exciting step. It is the essence of the job and that is why we are here. Building a robot with Jidoka is a job that requires a lot of imagination and creativity, which is why the construction step is the most interesting.

Try it

Only after testing how a robot works in real life, can we get closer to the end of its development. The test should cover the maximum number of possible variants in the process to run. It must also ensure that if something unexpected happens, the robot will respond in a manner to notify the user of such a circumstance and leave the system in a suitable state.

Adjust if necessary

It is always necessary to adjust the operation of a robot, especially in the first iterations.

Later, when stability is reached, the settings will tend to zero.

The adjustment is perhaps the most important point of the construction of a robot with Jidoka, the nature of this importance lies with the ability for the robot to respond adequately in the different cases  occurring in the use of applications. Curiously, human users very easily  adapt to slight changes insystems, such as unusual messages or unimportant intermediate windows, for the average user these changes are often imperceptible, this explains why they do not take them into account in the development of robots.

However, these variations represent a great challenge in the construction of Jidoka robots.

And the wheel keeps turning

This is where “the wheel” comes into play. It is the iteration that can seem infinite. The repetition of the steps described above is what makes the machine become a little more tuned with each turn until the robot is able to execute its task without any supervision by humans.

With Jidoka, we’ve been able to develop robots that have been running their tasks for months without making any adjustments, if you turn the wheel long enough, you’ll have a robot that will always accompany you.

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