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Robotics and Mechatronics Center
Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics
Institute of System Dynamics and Control
Institute for Optical Sensor Systems
Cooperations and Projects
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The basic principle behind the RobDREAM project is the observation that sleep does not only serve regeneration purposes, but positively affects working memory and thereby improves higher-level cognitive functions such as decision making and reasoning. In RobDREAM we will enable robots to enhance their capabilities in their inactive phases by processing experiences made during the working day and by exploring - or, dreaming of possible future situations and how to solve the challenges in these situations best. We will improve industrial mobile manipulators’ perception, navigation as well as manipulation and grasping abilities by automatic optimisation of parameters, strategies and selection of tools within a portfolio of key algorithms by means of learning and simulation, and through use-case driven evaluation. The RobDREAM project is funded in the Horizon 2020 framework in the call “ICT23a – Robotics” as “Research and Innovation Action”, explicitly targeting the market domain manufacturing, significantly advancing shop floor logistics and manipulation. Runtime: 01.02.2015 to 31.01.2018.
COMANOID investigates the deployment of robotic solutions in well-identified Airbus airliner assembly operations that are laborious or tedious for human workers and for which access is impossible for wheeled or rail-ported robotic platforms. As a solution to these constraints a humanoid robot is proposed to achieve the described tasks in real-use cases provided by Airbus Group. At a first glance, a humanoid robotic solution appears extremely risky, since the operations to be conducted are in highly constrained aircraft cavities with non-uniform (cargo) structures. Furthermore, these tight spaces are to be shared with human workers. Recent developments, however, in multi-contact planning and control suggest that this is a much more plausible solution than current alternatives such as a manipulator mounted on multi-legged base. Indeed, if humanoid robots can efficiently exploit their surroundings in order to support themselves during motion and manipulation, they can ensure balance and stability, move in non-gaited (acyclic) ways through narrow passages, and also increase operational forces by creating closed-kinematic chains. Bipedal robots are well suited for narrow environments, specifically because they are able to perform manipulation using only small support areas. Moreover, the stability benefits of multi-legged robots, that have larger support areas, are largely lost when the manipulator must be brought close, or even beyond, the support borders. COMANOID aims at assessing clearly how far the state-of-the-art stands from such novel technologies. In particular the project focuses on implementing a real-world humanoid robotics solution using the best of research and innovation. The main challenge will be to integrate current scientific and technological advances including multi-contact planning and control; advanced visual-haptic serving; perception and localization; human-robot safety and the operational efficiency of cobotics solutions in airliner manufacturing. COMANOID has received funding from the European Union H2020 Programme under grant agreement no 645097 Runtime: 01.01.2015 to 31.12.2018
The main obstacle to a wide-spread adoption of advanced manipulation systems in industry is their complexity, fragility, lack of strength, and difficulty of use. SOMA opens a path of disruptive innovation for the development of simple, compliant, yet strong, robust, and easy-to-program manipulation systems. The idea is: Soft Manipulation (SOMA). Environmental Constraints --- SOMA explores a new avenue of robotic manipulation with the environment, as opposed to manipulation of or in the environment. In this approach, the physical constraints imposed by objects in the environment and the manipulandum itself are not regarded as obstacles, but rather as opportunities to guide functional hand pre-shaping, adaptive grasping, and affordance-guided manipulation of objects. The exploitation of these opportunities enables robust grasping and manipulation in dynamic, open, and highly variable environments. Soft Manipulation --- The key ingredient for the exploitation of the Environmental Constraints is softness of hands, i.e. their embodied ability to comply and adapt to features of the environment. The traditional paradigm for robotic manipulation is in complete disarray in front of this shift of focus: state-of-the-art grasp planners are targeted towards rigid hands and objects, and attempt to find algorithmic solutions to inherently complex, often ill-posed problems. Further complicating matters, the requirement of planning for soft, uncertain interactions between hand and environment is entirely beyond the state of the art. However, this is how humans most often use their hands, and how we plan to change robotic manipulation. SOMA will design capable soft hands for the versatile and competent exploitation of the Environmental Constraints, and develop versatile, robust, cost-effective, and safe robotic grasping and manipulation capabilities. The developed Soft Manipulation technology will be applied to an open manipulation problem in the food and agriculture industry: the handling of irregularly shaped, flexible, and easily damageable goods, such as fruit and vegetables. This Soft Manipulation system prototype will be demonstrated in an operational industrial environment. SOMA Project is supported by the European Commission, under the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme (H2020-ICT-645599). Runtime: 01.05.2015 to 30.04.2019
METERON (Multi-Purpose End-To-End Robotic Operation Network) is a suite of experiments to validate advanced technologies for robotic telemanipulation from space. It is targeted to provide answers to important questions regarding required technologies for future space exploration scenarios. Several robots on Earth, including DLR Rollin’ Justin, will be controlled from the interior of the International Space Station (ISS) either with haptic feedback or supervised autonomy. The SUPVIS-JUSTIN experiment addresses the scenario of planetary exploration. The experiment aims to demonstrate the possibilities of commanding a robot to carry out complex dexterous tasks with significant communication round-trip time. SUPVIS-JUSTIN will address the local intelligence of the robot required to interpret and execute an astronaut’s command. The developed UI concepts will form the basis for future robotic space exploration missions.
With their RACE-LAB project, Christoph Borst and his team at the German Aerospace Center are endeavouring to simplify the industrial use of robots and to achieve greater automation. The project is aimed in particular at industries that are working with the latest robot generation – machines generally characterised by a lightweight design, good interactional skills and high sensitivity. The scientists are developing an intelligent programme management system and software library that will enable various robotic capabilities such as drilling and screwing, and putting down and picking up objects. In addition, RACE-LAB will facilitate recurring interactive processes such as the handing over of objects from a human to a robot. Thus, complex procedures like the interaction between humans and machines will become safer and more dynamic with relatively straightforward programming procedures. This technology could also allow small and medium-sized businesses in areas as diverse as carpentry and medical technology to efficiently manufacture products with highly individual features automatically and economically – something that has been inconceivable until now.
ROBEX - Robotic Exploration of Extreme Environments
The Helmholtz Alliance “Robotic Exploration of Extreme Environments – ROBEX” brings together space and deep-sea research. Spread over Germany 15 institutions from Space and marine research, the project partners are jointly developing technologies for the exploration of highly inaccessible terrain, such as the deep sea and polar regions, as well as the moon and other planets.
Helmholtz Young Investigators Research Group “Dynamic Control of Humanoid Walking Machines”
This Helmholtz Young Investigators Research Group aims at the development of novel control approaches for humanoid robots. In order to enable the future use of humanoid robots in domestic environments, it is required to considerably improve the robustness of state-of-the art walking control with respect to uncertainties in the environment model. This requires realtime-enabled and reactive methods for generation of walking and gait patterns. Stabilization will be done based on the use of sensitive force control and by utilization of inertial measurement units. Methods for compliant control and whole-body manipulation will be developed under consideration of the limitations on the ground support area. Thereby, we aim at a utilization of physical interaction at several contact points on the robot. Further, anthropomorphic principles of human walking and running will be transferred to fully-actuated humanoid robots in the proposed project in order to achieve highly dynamic motion behaviors, like hopping and running. This Young Investigators Research Group is funded by the Impulse and Networking Fund of the Helmholtz Association under the project number NG-808 Runtime: 01.12.2011 to 30.11.2016
The STAMAS (Smart technology for artificial muscle applications in space) aims at developing a new type of astronauts’ suit, a “smart-suit”, which will mitigate the deteriorating effects of microgravity and motor inactivity, thus maintaining the astronauts’ health and physical fitness during and after a space missions. The project will utilise existing terrestrial experience of the STAMAS consortium comprising Shape Memory Alloys (SMA), Electroactive Polymer (EAP) technology and man-machine cooperative control to build an actuated space exoskeletal suit for usage on board a space station and also for extra vehicular activities (EVA). Further research will focus on new concepts of sensing, biofeedback and cardiopulmonary control strategies implemented into the suit. The consortium, led by the Spanish SMA-device developing company ARQUIMEA is a balanced group of SMEs and research institutions that will develop and validate technological components, which will have a strong impact in the space industry, facilitate high-risk and high-impact research and innovation, and reinforce new research alliances. STAMAS has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme under grant agreement n° 312815 Runtime: 01.01.2013 to 31.12.2015
Das Projekt SMErobotics zielt auf eine signifikante Vereinfachung der Entwicklung von robotergestützten Fertigungsanwendungen für kleine und mittelständige Unternehmen. Die Mission des Projekts ist es, industriellen Endnutzern, wie z.B. KMUs, zu ermöglichen von den Vorteilen der Automatisierung zu profitieren. Dies können z.B. eine höhere Effizienz oder konstante hohe Qualität und optimierte Prozesse sein, ohne aber dabei den eigene spezifischen Wettbewerbsvorteil der Flexibilität und die Fähigkeit, kundenspezifische Produkte in kleiner Stückzahl zu liefern, zu verlieren. Das Projekt hat die Vision einer neuen Generation von flexiblen Robotern und anpassungsfähigen Produktionsmaschinen, die sich nahtlos in die manuelle Produktion einbinden lässt und dem erfahrenen Arbeiter zur Seite steht. SMErobotics wird gefördert vom siebten EU Rahmenprogramm (FP7), Fördernummer 287787 Laufzeit: 01.01.2012 bis 31.12.2015
Robotics-enabled Logistics and Assistive Services for the Transformable Factory of the Future (TAPAS) is a project funded by the European Commission within FP7. The goal of TAPAS is to pave the ground for a new generation of transformable solutions to automation and logistics for small and large series production, economic viable and flexible, regardless of changes in volumes and product type. TAPAS validates key components to realize this vision: mobile robots with manipulation arms will automate logistic tasks more flexible and more complete by not only transporting, but also collecting needed parts and delivering them right to the place where needed. TAPAS robots will even go beyond to create additional value: they will automate assistive tasks that naturally extend the logistic tasks, e.g., pre-assembly or machine tending with inherent quality control. TAPAS robots might initially be more expensive, but through this additional creation of value and by a faster adaptation to changes with new levels of robustness, availability, and completeness of jobs TAPAS robots promise to yield an earlier return of investment. The TAPAS project is funded by the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement no 260026 Runtime: 01.10.2010 to 30.06.2014
Within the MIROLab Project, the modular and configurable Robotics Plattform MiroSurge is further developed for the minimally invasive tele-surgery as well as other surgical applications. MiroSurge differs mainly from the only commercial system available (daVinci surgical system) by its compactness, modularity and applicability for multiple surgical applications as well as features such as force-feedback and autostereoscopic displays. The application encompasses the configuration of robotic components, the workflow, man-machine interaction as well as the required medical instrument designs and concepts. The goal of the validation project is the identification, evaluation and protection of one or more “maximum applications” for the MiroSurge platform in order to enhance the interest of industry in licensing the technology (closing the validation gap) as well as to develop new applications for surgical robotics which can be exploited by industry. MIROLab has received funding from the Helmholtz Validation Fonds under grant agreement n° 0001 Runtime: 01.10.2011 to 30.11.2013
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