Is Actin for You?

Lacey Trebaol
Aug 26, 2019 2:38:41 PM

When choosing software for your robotic system, it’s essential to find the right fit. A package that is missing the right features, or even one that has poorly developed versions of them, can delay your product launch and blow your budget. But how do you know which package is the right one? In this post, we’ll discuss how to determine if Actin is the right software solution for your robotic system and provide you with the next steps for getting started with Actin.

First things first: What is Actin?

When purchasing a laptop for work, it’s a given that you’ll need to get applications that can handle your daily tasks, like word processing, photo editing, and browsing. Similarly, when you buy a robot, you need software for simplifying complex jobs like bin picking, inspection, and specialized tasking. For this, you need Actin.

Actin is a general robot control and tasking framework built to meet the rigorous requirements of industrial, commercial, collaborative, and consumer robotic systems. In addition to being the only robotics SDK that provides real-time adaptive motion control for any robot, multi-robot system, or complex articulated mechanism, Actin provides users with a framework that can be used throughout the development process to simulate, build, control, and deploy a robotic system with unparalleled capabilities.

Actin empowers roboticists, freeing them to focus on what the robot does and where the end effectors and tools should be, not on how they get there. Additional features include:

For a detailed list of features, visit https://www.energid.com/actin/features-and-capabilities.

Is Actin for You?

To help you determine if Actin meets your needs, we’ve compiled the following list of statements. If you answer “yes” to 3 or more of the following statements, we’re confident that Actin is the solution you need.

#1. You’re developing a commercial or industrial grade product.

There’s a big difference in the performance and robustness between a proof-of-concept and a product. Actin is industrial-grade commercial software that will take you from proof-of-concept to product.

And because Actin is commercial software, and not an open source toolkit, you don’t have to go it alone. We offer customer support and training options tailored to your specific project needs.

#2. You need to cut costs AND development time.

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Actin can be used to create real-time controllers for robotic hardware, but that's not all. Actin's system tasking, control and simulation capabilities make up a framework that robotic system development teams can use throughout their development cycle. From testing initial conceptual designs to commercial deployment, Actin provides serious development teams with the tools they need to build best-in-class robotic systems while reducing risk and cost.

#3. You’re developing a robot or manipulator-based product with complex motion control requirements.

While many other software packages force you to treat each robot in your system separately, Actin allows you to control a unified system. This means that you can achieve a level of coordination that’s never been possible before. Whether your operations include dynamic environments, robots on moving platform/rail, or multiple arms/manipulators in simultaneous action, Actin can help make sure that every part of your system works together.

Click here to learn more about Actin’s unified control capabilities.

#4. Your development team includes software engineers with hardware integration capabilities and robotics experience.

You’ve built a superstar development team that can work wonders with software, but they shouldn’t have to start from scratch. Actin empowers your team to start developing the features that differentiate your product from the competition today. By building your product around the Actin SDK, they can take advantage of our library of cutting edge features, without having to rebuild the fundamentals of motion control. Best of all, Actin gives your developers the freedom to pick and choose what components to use.

#5. Your robotic system has a high number of axes.

Your robot may have more degrees of freedom than its software can handle. If your robot has more than 6 degrees of freedom, your current software may not be able to take full advantage of its capabilities. Actin handles high-DOF systems with ease. With Actin, you can easily add new axes and coordinate them with the power and versatility Energid’s customers have come to expect from our software.

#6. Your application requires sensor feedback/environmental awareness.

Offline programming tools largely focus on creating open-loop robot motion programs that don’t allow the robot to react to its environment in real-time. Actin was built from the ground up to support online control. With Actin, sensor feedback from multiple sources can be used to modify the robots motion on the fly. This allows the robot to navigate around obstacles, correct/adjust for errors, and much more.

#7. Your application uses hardware from multiple vendors.

Actin can be used with any type of robot or complex articulated mechanism, even redundant and parallel robotic systems. It supports interoperability and eases the integration of disparate robotic systems. In fact, Actin goes a step further and enables cross-vendor coordination. Actin runs on some of the top robotics systems in the world. From Universal Robot and Motoman, to Kuka and Han's, we've got you covered. Learn more.

#8. You need the freedom to choose your OS.

Actin can be hosted on many operating systems from common desktop systems like Windows, and Linux to embedded real-time operating systems like vxWorks. Learn more.

#9. You're happy with your architecture, but motion planning problems are holding up completion within the market window.

Motion planning is a crucial component of any robotics application. In-house development with an open-source tool like ROS can be an excellent way to get your robotic architecture in place, but at some point, you may hit a manipulation wall. If you've made it this far, we can provide the tools to get you across the finish line. If you're running into difficulty with control or manipulator motion planning, it’s important to make smaller corrections sooner rather than larger ones later.

There are many open-source IK solvers that can plan nonredundant fully constrained kinematic motion for a fixed snapshot in time. However, if your motion needs to adapt and update, even if it’s not in real-time, and especially if the system requires kinematically redundant under-constrained motion in real-time, open-source IK can quickly go from what seems like a cost savings benefit to a detriment during initial productization.

Tally Up the Results

If you’ve answered “yes” to 3 or more of the above questions, now is a good time to contact an Energid sales representative to learn more about getting the most out of your robots with Actin - the leading software framework for complex robotic systems.

Free Whitepaper: Robot Kinematic Control

Learn the details behind Energid’s kinematic control software, which is part of the Actin SDK.

screenshot - robotic kinematic control whitepaper - 1000x563-579004-edited

Kinematic Control with Actin

Actin provides generic control for kinematically redundant serial and bifurcating manipulators. It uses a patented configurable augmented Jacobian control technique that is implemented within a software framework that allows the easy creation of supervised and traded control systems using C++. Through Extensible Markup Language (XML) configuration, Energid’s system allows the accommodation of even the most complex mechanisms, multiple end-effector constraints, different optimization criteria, and control-system exchange at runtime.

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