Automatix Inc., founded in January 1980, was the first company to market industrial robots with built-in machine vision.The robot: the life story of a technology, Lisa Nocks, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007,Robots sharpen up their vision, New Scientist, December 15, 1983, p.811 Its founders were Victor Scheinman, inventor of the Stanford arm; Phillippe Villers, Michael Cronin, and Arnold Reinhold of Computervision; Jake Dias and Dan Nigro of Data General; Gordon VanderBrug, of NIST, Donald L. Pieper of General Electric and Norman Wittels of Clark University.
Initial product offerings included the Autovision machine vision system, the Robovision welding robot and the Cybervision electronic parts assembly system.Industrial Robotics Handbook, V. Daniel Hunt, 1983, p.183 ff Automatix was one of the first users of Motorola 68000 microprocessors, but because almost no software existed for the 68000 in 1980, Automatix had to develop its own operating system and a robotics scripting language, called "RAIL". RAIL bibliography Its initial machine vision offering was based on software and hardware licensed from Stanford Research Institute. In the late 1980s, Automatix replaced the proprietary 68000 computer in its vision products with an Apple Computer Macintosh II.
Yaskawa and KUKA. It did design and manufacture a Cartesian robot called the AID-600. The 600 was intended for use in precision assembly but was adapted for welding use, particularly Tungsten inert gas welding (TIG), which demands high accuracy and immunity from the intense electromagnetic interference that the TIG process creates. Automatix was the first company to market a vision-guided welding robot called Seamtracker. Structured laser light and monochromatic filters were used to allow an image to be seen in the presence of the welding arc. Another concept, invented by Mr. Scheinman, was RobotWorld, a system of cooperating small modules suspended from a 2-D linear motor. The product line was later sold to Yaskawa.http://www.motoman.com/products/worlds/robotworld.htm
The Automatix AI-32 robot controller used the same processor, bus and RAIL language as the AV II, IV and 5, allowing frame grabber and processing boards to be added for integrated machine vision.
In August 2005 RVSI itself was acquired by Siemens Energy and Automation who by mid-2008 are marketing the RVSI Visionscape and Hawkeye products alongside their own SIMATIC brand, some of which are re-branded DVT/Cognex smart cameras. In September 2008, Microscan Systems, Inc., of Renton, Washington, acquired Siemens' Machine Vision business, including Visionscape and Hawkeye.http://files.microscan.com/_att/40e9c7ae-b7cd-465f-af7c-7fec7ba2dc16/Microscan_Completes_Acq_PR.pdf As of August 2016, the Powervision system developed by Automatix was available from RPC Machine Vision Systems, a value added reseller of Microscan.http://www.rpcvision.com/