Technological advancements are pushing the boundaries of what robots can achieve. Vision and sensing technologies in robots are at the heart of these advancements, playing a crucial role in enabling intelligent decision-making and navigating complex environments. This blog will delve into the intricate world of robotic vision sensors, and explore Amphenol's cutting-edge connector solutions that facilitate seamless integration, contributing to the evolution of robotics across various industries.

Understanding Robotic Vision and Sensing:

A robotic vision sensor is a compact and self-contained unit, housing an integrated camera, lights, and a controller. This technological marvel empowers robots to perceive and interact with their surroundings, making split-second decisions based on visual data. Integrating computer vision and other sensor technologies like radar, ultrasound, and LIDAR is particularly crucial in applications like drone AI, warehouse robots, and collaborative robots (cobots) where object detection, classification, tracking, and autonomous operations are paramount.

Key Functionalities of Robotic Vision and Sensing:

Object Detection and Classification:

Computer vision technologies embedded in robotic vision sensors allow for accurate detection and classification of objects. This automated visual inspection capability is instrumental in tasks such as sorting, picking, and testing.

Tracking and Navigation:

Real-time tracking of objects is essential for various robotic applications. Drones rely on a combination of vision, lidar, and radar sensor data to accurately pinpoint their location and navigate through the airspace. 

Autonomous Operations:

Warehouse robots use cameras, LiDAR, ultrasound, and radar to avoid running into obstacles, workers, or other robots, as well as to efficiently move goods from one part of the factory floor to the other.  This operation can be fully autonomous and so these robots are called Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMR).

Amphenol's Interconnect Solutions

Amphenol plays a crucial role in providing key connector and cable solutions to enable seamless integration of vision and sensing technologies in robotics. Let’s explore some of these interconnect solutions:

DensiStak High Pin Count, High Density Mezzanine Connector System

Designed to connect the autonomous driving cards with AI chips to the main board, this easy to process, multi-row high density connector is capable of supporting PCIe® Gen4 (16Gb/s) in demanding applications: DensiStak is shock and vibration proof (USCAR-2 V2 ).

BergStak®0.40mm Self-Alignment Board-to-Board Connector:

This connector, with its fine pitch design and self-alignment feature, is ideal for applications with space constraints, such as warehouse robots or drone cameras. It supports blind mating and meets stringent signal-integrity benchmarks.

Conan®1.00mm Connector:

Designed for industrial applications and harsh environments, the Conan® connector provides a secure, high-density electrical interface. Its unique design with audible 'click' sound enhances ease of use, making it suitable for various robotic applications.

Waterproof USB Type C:

Offering scalability and high-speed connectivity, the Waterproof USB Type C connector system is designed to meet the demanding requirements of harsh weather conditions or spills in drone or factory applications. Its IPX8 performance ensures reliability in challenging environments.

BrightConnXMRD Series IP67 Circular Connectors:

These rugged connectors with IP67 sealing are tailored for robotic arms as well as AMR cameras Their positive locking thumb latch ensures secure mating in harsh conditions.

BrightConnX IP67 Mini Sealed 2.50mm Pitch Connectors & Cables FLH Series:

Featuring IP67 sealing for waterproof performance, these connectors are compact and offer a positive latching design. With various housing options, they find applications in auxiliary applications assisting vision and sensing like AMR lighting.

Single Pair Ethernet (SPE) IP67 Circular Push-Pull Connectors:

Compliant with IEC63171-6 standards, these connectors bring direct Ethernet connectivity to compact robotic vision industrial devices like cameras. Supporting high-speed data transmission and Power over Data Link (PoDL), they can withstand harsh environments on the factory floor.

MicroSpaceXS 1.27mm Waterproof Crimp-to-Wire Connector Platform

A rugged and versatile system meeting USCAR-T2V2 and LV214 Severity 2 standards. With a 3A per contact rating and features like Terminal Positioning Assurance (TPA) and Mechanical Connector Position Assurance (CPA), it ensures reliable performance. Ideal for automotive, lighting, camera/sensor, infotainment, HVAC, and battery management applications, it offers high vibration resistance and comes in various configurations with tin or gold plating.

FloatCombo 0.50mm Floating Board-to-Board Connectors

Featuring high-speed data transmission and high current capabilities, with 4 independent power contacts supporting up to 5A per pin, these connectors accommodate stack heights from 8mm to 30mm and are suitable for applications requiring reliability in challenging environments. Features include a wide operating temperature range, anti-fool mating design, and direction guide functions for easy mating. With USCAR-2 T3V2 qualification and UL94V-0 flammability rating, they meet rigorous industry standards. Ideal for automotive, LED displays, robotics, and industrial applications requiring robust connectivity solutions.

Industrial RJ Plug

The Industrial RJ Plug is a next-generation solution for Industrial IoT connectivity, providing robust Ethernet connectivity for various industrial applications. With options for straight, 45°, and 90° cable exits, it offers flexibility in cable management. It supports high data rates, including CAT6A performance, enabling Gigabit Ethernet Protocols and 10Gig links up to 100m. The field terminable design allows for easy assembly and disassembly, while its metal construction ensures reliability in harsh environments. Ideal for IoT, sensors, actuators, network nodes, and various industrial applications requiring dependable Ethernet connectivity in demanding conditions.

In conclusion, the convergence of vision and sensing technologies is reshaping the landscape of robotics. The technological advancements in vision and non-vision sensors and innovative connectors, exemplified by Amphenol's solutions, are driving unprecedented capabilities in robotics. As these technologies evolve, we can anticipate a future where robots seamlessly navigate complex environments, perform intricate tasks autonomously, and contribute to advancements across various industries. The eyes and ears of robotics are not just sensors; they are the key to unlocking the full potential of intelligent machines.