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Robots, part of the Y Soft team

Y Soft Corporation
Jakub Pavlák
Engineering Team Lead
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being used more and more to enhance and improve our lives, even save them. From robots delivering our online shopping to algorithms identifying life threatening diseases, this technology is a game-changer for every aspect of life. This article focuses on how Y Soft is using robots to benefit both our customers and our employees.
 

The rise of the robot

As Forbes reported in September 2018, machines are better at repetitive tasks such as analyzing vast amounts of information quickly. In this digital era, there is more data than ever before so harnessing AI’s skillset benefits humans, releasing us from repetitive, mundane tasks to focus on more motivating activities that require a higher-level set of skills.

Since our inception in 2000, we have carried out extensive manual testing on all our solutions. Four years ago, our manual testers were keen to develop and progress their careers within Y Soft and the manual testing was hindering them. So, we looked at how we could use technology to release our team from monotonous manual testing. We believed that robots would be a more efficient way for repetitive activities such as testing; they can operate 24/7, we could have more robots running simultaneously and they are better at certain activities.We already worked with two technical universities in Brno, and as a result, we approached their robotic thesis students and invited them to work with us to find a solution.

Prototype: 2014

As part of our Applied Research and University Relations (ARUR) program, three students joined Y Soft over the summer of 2014 to design, develop, test and present the prototype. Despite the first prototype not being fit for purpose, it showed real potential. The team worked tirelessly for another two years to develop the prototype into a fully operational robot. During this time the team focused on research related technologies, developing functionality that not only released the team but also added value to the testing process.

One of the most notable developments was “computer vision” which provides the robot with the ability to react to a situation and take the appropriate action, for example capture and confirm a message, repeat a tap, start repair or stop testing. As well as “computer vision”, the team created “smart actions” which tell the robot to find a specific icon or button as opposed to navigating to certain co-ordinates. Smart actions are a huge benefit when testing on multiple devices because icons and buttons will be located in different positions for each device.

The video below shows one of our robots finding and touching an icon on an iPhone, a vital requirement for the testing process and something the robots had to be able to do for all devices and operating systems. 
 






 

Y Soft robot demo 1: Find and touch the Y Soft icon on an iPhone

The dexterity of the robots was a key element. As the video below shows, some of the actions required clicking on icons and buttons of varying sizes located in specific areas of a device’s user interface.
 


Y Soft robot demo 2: Input your PIN at an multifunction printer to validate your ID

Enhancing testing with robots

Thanks to our robots, not only has our team been able to develop their chosen careers in Y Soft, we have also improved our testing processes. The robots can carry out more activities and measure the time it takes for the software to react more accurately. For example, robots can test milliseconds as opposed to humans who may struggle to test anything under a second. This testing means that our solutions are not just fit for purpose but deliver excellence at every stage of the print, scan and copy process. Thanks to the hard work of our robotics team, our robots not only fully test our solutions but allow us to test more than before. The videos below show our robots in action.
 

Y Soft robot demo 3: Select your chosen job at the MFD (multifunctional device)
 

Y Soft robot demo 4: Mobile application validation and verification

AI developments

Since late 2018 our robots have been using AI to enhance computer vision to detect what is happening on the test screen. AI has helped us considerably with computer vision speed and accuracy, and accuracy is key because when computer vision tells the robot the wrong information the robot will typically make the wrong decision.

Predictions

Robots offer huge potential for other organizations to benefit from robotics in terms of simulation and testing. At Y Soft, we believe that companies will productize robotic testing and create robots that can be used across multiple industries to test and simulate products prior to release. Watch this space!

Robots, friends not foes

Robots allow us to better support both employees and customers. We use our team of robots not to replace humans but to work with us to enhance our work life. They release us to focus on more creative and motivating work. They speed up processes, allow us to test more scenarios to improve our customers’ experiences and improve our internal efficiency. Robots are definitely our friends.

How could AI help your organization? We would love to hear from you, please share your comments in the section below.
Jakub Pavlák
Jakub Pavlák
Jakub focuses on the automation for QA processes designed for large-scale HW/SW solutions, while challenging HW specific areas, and looks to the future toward Industry 4.0. Jakub also leads the infrastructure team, which provides R&D engineers infrastructure for development, building, verifying and delivering our SW and HW products.
View all posts by Jakub Pavlák

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