As an illustration, Cicco points to machine tending in a small job shop.

"If you were to do this before the robots had a sense of sight, you would have had to create a fixture for every single part that you ever manufactured or ever wanted to manufacture, so that part could be fixed located in the exact same spot every single time because the robot would just blindly move over there and pick up that part to be able to load it into the machine."

Thanks to robotic vision, now the job shop only has to program an image of the part into the robot, "and then the robot is pre-programmed to go pick up that part and load it into the machine," Cicco says.

"Whereas in automotive, all the robot does for three straight years is pick up this one transmission part for this one engine component and it machines 14 million of these things, we're now able to broaden our horizons into smaller places that run more variations of parts because now the robot has the flexibility to go in and handle huge variations of different parts and still be really cost-effective."