Retrocausal named to the 2022 CB Insights' Advanced Manufacturing 50 List
Pathfinder Apollo
The Problem
Operators (specially new or temporary ones) on the assembly line make repetitive as well as one-off errors, such as forgetting to do a step. Sometimes these mistakes are caused by inadequacies in the process design itself. These mistakes must be resolved on rework stations, and cost money.
Our Solution
Our PathfinderTM platform automatically builds computational models of a complex physical task, such as an assembly activity, given only a handful of recorded demonstrations of the task.

Once such a model is built, Pathfinder finely tracks the job status from live video, to guide an operator through the task, provide independent training, and perform analytics.

Pathfinder offers audible and visual alerts to help the operator avoid assembly mistakes whereas its analytics capability identifies non-value added activities across processes, unexpected variability in process times, and traces assembly mistakes through a line.

Pathfinder boosts quality control and continuous improvement by digitizing manual assembly activities through visual analytics, providing increased visibility to industrial engineers, line operators, operational excellence leaders, and trainers.
Continuous Improvement
Ramp Up

Poka Yoke Systems
Physical poka-yoke mechanisms such as limit switches or color-coding help workers avoid errors in "real-time", yet they have limited applicability and their coverage becomes even shallower when multiple configurations are coming down the same line. Pathfinder is a versatile solution that intervenes to prevent a much larger variety of potential mistakes, and doesn't require re-designing a process to apply.
Machine Vision for Visual Defect Detection
Visual part inspection systems focus on Quality Control stations, which are generally found at the end of the assembly line. Our customers find that by then it is too late: workers have already made their mistakes, and the product either needs to be disassembled and fixed or be discarded, which are both costly options. In fact, some steps in correct assembly cannot be captured by looking at the final product at all and thus it becomes important to check at the source if the worker missed a step or performed a step incorrectly. In contrast, Pathfinder enables continuous quality checks while workers are performing manual assembly.
Video Analytics
Some vendors sell offline human activity understanding to provide "descriptive" analytics of workstation processes. We differentiate ourselves from them in three ways:

1. Real-time Guidance versus Offline Analytics: We provide live task guidance and immediate worker feedback, directly adding value by conveniently mistake-proofing customers' processes as opposed to competitors' after-the-fact analytics solution.

2. Rapid Onboarding: We give a visual querying tool to industrial engineers allowing them to build QA experiences within 4-6 hours as opposed to 4-6 weeks that competitors take.

3. Prescriptive analytics versus Descriptive Analytics: Competing solutions "describe" what industrial engineers have already observed on the line. In contrast, our solution understands the 3D scene and canonical human action to retrieve, refine, and recommend processes improvement ideas i.e. action items for industrial engineers.

Digital Work Instructions
DWI is one of several platforms providing "interactive PowerPoint" capabilities that allow industrial engineers to rapidly convert paper-based work instructions to digital work instructions. It may sometimes be possible to integrate machine vision based part defect detection into such solutions as well.

1. Throughput Reduction: DWI requires operators to place a part being assembled under a camera, then press a button on the screen to scan the part, and get permission from the system to move to the next step, and do so at every step of the process. This slows down the line.

2. Change in operator behavior: The hardest part of digitization in manufacturing is changing human behavior. We find that operators get annoyed when they must meet a daily quota and are being held back by the machine; and make attempts at bypassing the process altogether. In contrast, our solution proactively observes the worker and product and interrupts only when necessary.

3. Redesign of Assembly process: DWI requires a complete redesign of the assembly process with DWI software at its center needing manual data entry or even QR codes on products. Our solution adapts naturally to existing processes.
Install without stopping your line
We drop by to help you install, or you can do it yourself within an hour.
Onboard within hours
Enter a bill of process and record around 25 demonstrations of the process (takes ~1 hour)
Label the videos at the level of individual steps (takes ~10 minutes)
Provide live feedback to assembly operator or passively analyze video for improvements.
Get cycle times and step-level analytics, such as standard deviation for each step

Schedule a demo
Get access to the leading video analytics platform for your factory floor.
Phone: +1 669-220-8352

Retrocausal, Inc.
8201 NE 164th Ave, Suite 200
Redmond, WA 98052
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