Microsoft and industrial robot maker Kuka are bringing the robot apocalypse ever closer with a new collaboration that combines one of Kuka’s robot arms with Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform.
The Kuka LBR iiwa robotic arm, which is on display at the Hannover Messe trade show in Germany, connects to the web through Microsoft’s Azure Internet of Things services, which are designed for purposes like this one. Once it’s hooked up to the cloud, the arm can stream operating data for automated processing and human viewing through Microsoft’s applications.
Internet-connected robots aren’t anything new, but Microsoft is hoping that its services will help make Azure the platform of choice for manufacturing companies thanks to some new features. Case in point: the robot’s new connection with Azure allows it to “call” an operator when it’s experiencing a problem so that someone can determine the best fix.
Using Microsoft’s Kinect hardware, the robot can also identify people as authorized or unauthorized users. It’s unclear whether that means the robot will then use its superior strength to crush their feeble, trespassing human bodies.
Here’s a video that shows off the collaboration between the two companies: