FORT’s NSC sends commands to robots wirelessly

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FORT Robotics' Nano Safety Controller

FORT Robotics’ Nano Safety Controller. | Source: FORT Robotics

FORT Robotics announced its Nano Safety Controller (NSC) at MODEX 2022 last week. The NSC is an embeddable board that lets users build FORT wireless communication and safety technology directly into their machines. It’s the latest product in the company’s line of safety and security technology.

With the NSC embedded, users are able to send commands through the company’s patented technology for safety and data integrity without any hardware bolt-on. Users can send wireless emergency stopping, sprint or crawl, change in state and other critical commands.

Users have the ability to control large deployments of robots by embedding NSC into each robot and sending commands to them simultaneously.

NSC, along with a FORT software agent, is able to communicate over almost any network, including WIFI and other IP networks. The company utilizes black channel communication principles to isolate and transmit critical safety data, regardless of the network. The controller also comes with error detection and latency control built in.

“Until now, customers who wanted our trusted command technology have had to use our bolt-on hardware. That’s not always ideal for every project, ”Nathan Bivans, FORT CTO, said. “With the NSC, we can provide a solution that’s smaller, more flexible, more integrated and cost effective for large numbers of machines.”

NSC is designed to meet ISO 13849 and IEC 61508 SIL 2 standards.

“Safety is at the heart of everything we do, and it’s hard to get this level of security integrity over IP networks,” said Dave Sullivan, principal product manager at FORT. “We believe this is a game changer.”

FORT was founded in 2018 by now-CEO Samuel Reeves. It was Reeves’ second company at the time. Over a decade earlier, in 2006, he created Humanistic Robotics to produce an autonomous solution to safely clear landmines. Through the development of that technology, Reeves saw an opportunity to create a safety-and-security overlay that can be easily integrated into next-generation autonomous machines across multiple industries.

FORT’s other safety products include:

  • Wireless E-Stop: A wireless button that can stop any machine from a safe distance.
  • Safe Remote Control: A remote controller that allows for safer autonomous systems by taking manual control of machines, or stopping a machine remotely with a built-in emergency stop button
  • Vehicle Safety Controller: A transceiver that acts as an input, output or bridge.
  • Endpoint Controller: A controller that can send, receive and execute trusted commands over wireless networks.
  • Fort Manager Software: A cloud application that allows users to monitor their FORT Pro devices.

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