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Mitsubishi Electric robot arm to work alongside humans

Collaborative robots offer a flexible and cost-effective way to save on labor

Mitsubishi Electric's robotic arm learns how to move from a human operator.

TOKYO -- Mitsubishi Electric looks to introduce its first collaborative robots, which operate alongside human workers, in fiscal 2018 to help companies in fields ranging from manufacturing to food production combat Japan's labor shortage with cost-effective automation.

The electronics maker already has developed a multi-jointed robotic arm that can be programmed by so-called direct teaching, learning how to move as a human operator guides it through various positions. When in operation, the arm stops automatically if it comes into contact with a worker.

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