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Southwest Research Institute Profile

Southwest Research Institute
6220 Culebra Road
San Antonio, Texas, 78238-5166
United States
+1 210-684-5111 

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) provides independent expert research and development, advanced robotic system capabilities, and custom hardware designs, which include perception systems, mobile manipulation, and automation process development. SwRI launched the Robot Operating System-Industrial (ROS-I) open-source project. ROS-I is now a global initiative steered by a global consortium, and it includes innovative software capabilities and applications for industry based on foundational open-source building blocks. Headquartered in San Antonio, SwRI is an independent, nonprofit, applied R&D organization. More than 2,800 engineers, scientists, analysts, and technologists perform contract research and development for government and industrial clients worldwide.

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Programming a robot to perform a series of motions has historically been a tedious and complicated process, often reserved for engineers or highly trained specialists. Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has developed a system to allow an operator with little robotics training to quickly and effectively program robot motions. This system leverages 2D camera data to track the position of a hand-held tool. The operator simply moves the tool to where they want the robot to go and presses a button to save the target position. This system, known as Visual Programming, supports planning discrete waypoints (such as for pick-and-place operations) as well as continuous segments (such as for sanding, welding, or dispensing adhesives).