Last month, Dmitri Ignakov, co-founder of DFZ startup Taiga Robotics participated in a panel at the second annual Internet of ME (IoME) Conference, hosted by the RIC Centre. This year’s conference speakers and panelists all answered the pressing question: “Where will the Internet of Me take us in the future?”

Dr. Ignakov’s panel, Shop floor IoT & AI: How much, how big, and when? focused on the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies, otherwise known as Industry 4.0. This includes the Internet of Things, cloud computing and cognitive computing, and cyber-physical systems.

A large portion of the panel was spent discussing the roadblock that the industry is facing today; the difficulty of automating unstructured tasks. A robot performs well in a factory environment where its only task is to repeat the same action over and over again. However, if you place a robot in an environment with more ambiguity, like a construction site, it becomes nearly impossible to automate the robots’ procedures.

Dr. Ignakov was able to reassure the audience that with Taiga Robotics’ IRIS interface, this obstacle can be overcome. Their interface allows a human to easily and intuitively control any robot remotely through virtual reality (VR).

Dr. Ignakov describes Taiga Robotics as “doing for robots what touch screens did for smartphones.” In other words, “take a complicated device and make it very easy to control so that you don’t have to think about it at all, using a robot becomes second nature. You can focus on doing your work and let the interface take care of controlling the robot.”

So while a robot’s actions at a construction site cannot be fully automated, Taiga’s interface allows a person to control what the robot does on-site as easily as if they were the robot themselves, but without having to be physically present.

And although the term robot is used often to describe traditional robots, a robot’s interface can be used to control many machines from a humanoid or factory robot to certain types of construction equipment.

To learn more about Taiga Robotics, visit their website here.