Blackmagic Design today announced that Undercurrent Labs is using its ATEM Constellation 8K live production switcher and HyperDeck Extreme 8K HDR recorder to power its new robotics lab aimed at helping medical teams scale and automate COVID-19 testing.
Based in Atlanta, GA, Undercurrent Labs is a research and development solutions design and OEM system integrator. Undercurrent Labs blends digital twin robotic control with extended reality (XR), machine learning (ML) and Gigabit Class LTE to create and deliver next generation immersive platform services and collaborative XR experiences at enterprise scale.
Undercurrent Labs’ newest venture is XR Lab’s Scale & Automate Against COVID-19 (SAACV19) project, which uses robotics, machine learning, computer vision and a simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) enhanced camera attached to a collaborative robot to scale and automate testing to reduce potential exposure, infection risks, repetitive tasks and shortage of medical staff and PPE.
Using a multi VR camera system in conjunction with an ATEM Constellation 8K, ATEM Mini Pro and HyperDeck Extreme 8K HDR for recording, Undercurrent Labs live streams its robotics lab’s simulations so its team of engineers, physicians and infectious disease specialists can view the results for virtual consultation and collaboration. A Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K is also used to capture angles requiring less than a 180 degree field of view.
According to John Penn, Undercurrent Labs’ founder and CEO, “Our approach serves the dual purpose of allowing our remote team to work and monitor the robots’ motions from home, in compliance with social distancing regulations, while also allowing the VR telepresence functions for remote control of the robotic arms, which is one of SAACV19’s critical milestones for fulfilling our mission.”
“To achieve this, we needed the ability to reliably live stream and record up to 8K, which is the sweet spot for VR as it allows viewers to be immersed in what’s effectively 4K per eye when viewing stereoscopic video,” Penn explained. “We decided to build the workflow around the ATEM Constellation 8K because, in addition to the need to support resolutions up to 8K, we also needed a rock solid and reliable switcher that was easy to ramp up and learn. Return on investment was also a huge consideration, as its 8K and HDR capabilities offer plenty of room for growth as our needs evolve.”
Pairing the ATEM Constellation 8K with the HyperDeck Extreme 8K HDR provides the team with macro control via ethernet, which Penn noted allows for pre-programming of video playback for frame accurate recall and playback, which is essential for their auxiliary content. Additionally, using an ATEM Mini Pro alongside the ATEM Constellation 8K allows the team to remain nimble and save time, since they can save their media pool content and edit their settings as XML files to easily make quick changes.
“Our workflow, built around the ATEM Constellation 8K, has been crucial in allowing our R&D team and stakeholders to remotely collaborate during our proof of concept phase,” Penn explained. “For our next phase, we are extending the lab to the larger medical community, so they can utilize our SAACV19 findings and collaborate to further our research.”
During the next phase, the robotics lab will go on the road so others in the medical community can see the automated testing in action. The Blackmagic Design powered system will be used for IMAG, routed to two large displays so those in the audience can maintain social distancing while still seeing the robotic system close up. This will extend the lab to hospital systems and the larger medical community with the goal of encouraging further collaboration and research in medical robotics and its role in both the COVID-19 pandemic and overall continuity of care.