Metrology Grade Camera System For The Future Of Data-Driven Automation

Insphere | Designing Hardware for Robotic Tracking Systems | Industrial Design | Bespoke Prototyping, Material Science, Testing, Design For Manufacture

A high precision camera system enabling the future of automated robotic production lines.

Faster Alignment
Process Accuracy
Airtight Fit
Confidence in 24/7 Monitoring

The Journey

Based on experience creating systems to measure critical aircraft parts, Insphere was looking to grow into new sectors to help improve and implement automation solutions.

Our integrated industrial design + engineering + design for manufacture approach helped produce an intercommunicating system of high-tech camera cells to increase manufacturing tolerances along highly intricate and repeatable robotic production lines.

The Result? Iona, A camera monitoring system that is faster, more accurate and more reliable than ever before.

The Design Challenge

Have you ever tried measuring a turbine blade? Or whether your robot has moved to exactly the position in space you wanted?

These are the kind of tough problems tackled by the team of metrology and automation experts at Insphere, who started life in aerospace, setting up systems for difficult-to-measure critical aircraft parts.

Based on their building reputation in aerospace, Insphere have been growing into all engineering sectors, helping improve and implement automation solutions.

The challenge with measuring production robots, like you see on a car assembly line, is they are dynamic, complex processes, with no readily available tools to measure them. Insphere developed a solution with multiple optical sensors to envelope the working volume of the robot, which continuously monitors targets positioned on the end-effector.

Insphere’s challenge was that existing metrology systems are too expensive – costing around 3 times more than the robot – and still have limitations that make employing them for monitoring and controlling robots unpractical.

Insphere therefore asked Realise to help design a metrology grade camera system, specialised for robot monitoring, with a punchy cost target a fraction that of existing equipment.

Technical Requirements

The development route of the project was established by identifying the technical requirements and key ‘problems’ to resolve:

Stabilising the alignment of the dual stereoscopic cameras:

The stability of the cameras is vitally important as it is what makes the system so reliable and is required to maintain accuracy. As such the cameras must not move during transportation, everyday use or minor impacts.

Heat stabilisation and control:

The sensors not only require mechanical stability, but also thermal stability. As such, Insphere specified a +/- 1 degree tolerance on the temperature variation of the sensors. We worked together to develop the best technical solution: active temperature management capable of holding +/- 0.1 degrees! Significantly out-pacing the specification.

Improved assembly times and maintenance:

The unit is designed to reduce internal clashes and provide ruggedised protection for industrial environments, designed to even withstand carbon dust ingress. The system can be built quickly by one individual, reducing production times and enables easier maintenance on the Iona system.

Low batch numbers, high quality:

The emphasis on high quality production in low numbers, allows for the design to grow and develop as more user data is gathered and fed back into the next design. With additional units being integrated into the market, Insphere can flex to market demands and take advantage of opportunities that arise.


Substantial prototyping rounds resulted in a product that was incrementally and rigorously tested against the key requirements identified. Validation of each requirement supplied confidence to bring the product to manufacture.

Branding and Visioning

Having a passion for good design is one of the reasons we are so good at what we do.

Delivering manufacturable products is imperative, but so is making sure the final product stands out visually from its competitors.

Using high quality premium materials and finishes is unique for this industry, and Realise Team sought to help Insphere to embed the final piece of the puzzle, branding.

Defining the company values and agreeing that north star purpose meant breaking down the company values and turning this into a mission. Defining colour choices alongside materials and manufacturing methods specification, enabled us to design a product that’s physical features and attributes were embedded into every design decision.

Maximizing the design and branding processes in parallel is key to new products launch success.

The Result

The result is Iona, a scalable network of sensors that provide metrology-grade data for automating manufacturing processes.

Measure twice cut once’ is the age-old mantra underpinning Iona’s futuristic technology. Discretely deployed for continuous data capture in real time, Iona can work in the harshest of environments and overcome the more costly elements of manufacturing such as waste, predictive maintenance and lost accuracy.

By creating a system that allows for digital twinning and embracing smart manufacturing at its very core we have been able to produce a product that is smarter, more efficient and more manoeuvrable than ever before.

Insphere can now provide a premium solution to its customers that will not only drive-up efficiency during manufacture, but also provide valuable data and insights on specific areas of improvement for their business.

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