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Machine Learning and Analytics for Supply Chain Service Automation

Driven by the manufacturing industry’s need to reduce cost, increase productivity, address labour shortages, and avoid human errors, LSCM employs computer vision and robotic technologies to automate some key manufacturing and quality control procedures that currently require much tedious hand-eye coordination.

Skeleton detection of dolls
In the quality control process of the production of toys, sample materials are extracted from different parts of a doll. Pose estimation technology is used to locate different parts of its body. While existing methods have been developed for the purpose of detecting human skeleton, they are unable to detect the doll’s skeleton accurately. Novel training strategy and transfer learning technique are invented by LSCM to accommodate the large differences in the appearance and pose between the dolls and humans.

Target localisation for glue dispensing
LSCM has developed a smart control unit for glue dispensing. At the heart of the unit is a newly developed high-performance image registration algorithm that uses tailor-made, multi-scale and multi-viewpoint feature descriptors. The controller controls the motor to follow the high-precision computed path to dispense substances.

Application area identification with various imaging modalities
A multi-modal imaging system for identifying substances with differential material properties is developed. The system uses active infrared thermography to create thermal gradients between different materials. A sequence of image processing tools is then used to segment and locate the substance accurately for quality control.

With a number of new technologies incorporated into different stages of the supply chain to tackle the problems faced by the local industry at present, the overall productivity will be greatly increased.

Smart Lifter/Transporter for Object Handling in Confined Spaces

The Smart Lifter developed by LSCM is a lifter/transporter that can perform object handling tasks through human-machine cooperation. It combines the functions of forklifts and cranes, while its size is even smaller than either one of the machines. It is especially suitable for the relatively small and compact warehouses in Hong Kong.

It is equipped with a new modular end-effector (including its controller) for handling various and multiple objects of different sizes. There is an adjustable level controller to provide additional supporting force for object handling. Additional sensors such as force sensors are installed in the Smart Lifter to enhance the operation efficiency and productivity in warehouses.

Moreover, the Multi-axis manipulator mechanical design & control system, gravity (CG) detector & weight measurement system, as well as vertical lifting system are deployed in the Smart Lifter/Transporter.

This Smart Lifter/Transporter can be turned into a stratified (or personalised) lifter for elderly care. It can effectively help the user to stand, which will reduce the risks associated with the physical movement of the elderly/patients. Its embedded multi-axis actuators can simulate human body’s sitting and standing trajectory.

The Smart Lifter/Transporter will benefit not only the local industries, but also the community if it is extensively deployed in different sectors.

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