Head of the Institute: Prof. Dr. Alin Albu-Schäffer
The Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics develops a wide array of robots to enable humans to interact more safely and efficiently with their surrounding environments. The robots are designed to act in surroundings inaccessible or dangerous to humans as well as to support humans in everyday life and work.
Our robots mimic and extend upon the manipulation and locomotion capabilities of humans on a functional level. In a more general sense, they perform any tasks of locomotion and interaction with the environment with a wide range of autonomy to suit different tasks. As a key aspect for the usability of robots, we address the interfaces to humans through multimodal human-robot interaction.
The research efforts around Rollin 'Justin investigate compliant whole-body motions and their effects on the environment. Exemplary everyday household tasks include window wiping, sweeping, or vacuuming the floor.
DLR (CC-BY 3.0).
The DLR AIMM is based on a mobile platform from KUKA and the KUKA LBR4+ extended with sensors and computers. The goal of our work is a robotic system which is simple to use in real industrial applications utilizing its autonomy.
The low intrinsic damping properties of variable stiffness mechanisms lead to oscillatory dynamical behavior. A desired convergence behavior can be achieved by active damping control based on state feedback control and the system flatness property. The combination of active (impedance) control with passive elasticities increases the stiffness range and shape.
DLR (CC-BY 3.0).
Manufacturing flexibility can be greatly improved by using cognitive robot systems that are able to learn. Such systems enable the automation of the assembly of single-unit products, as well as natural interactions with the human co-worker in shared workspaces. The picture shows a demonstrator for automatic and flexible assembly of complex aluminum structures with two lightweight-robot arms, which was developed within the EU-Project SMErobotics.
Researchers within the DLR Flying Robots group have integrated an light-weight industrial robot arm with seven degrees of freedom into an autonomous double-rotor helicopter platform. The system is intended for automatic deployment and maintenance of mobile service robots with magnetic wheels, which are used for pipeline inspection. Similar systems could also be used for inspection and maintenance tasks in areas which are hazardous or otherwise inaccessible for humans.
People with physical disabilities, especially those affecting the upper limbs, are dependent on the help of others even for very simple daily activities. These people can be helped by robotic assistive systems in conjunction with a brain-machine interface to carry out such simple tasks autonomously and thereby increase their independence. For this purpose, we are investigating various methods to enable people with physical disabilities to control robotic arms.
The institute covers the entire chain of development aspects in robotics, focusing primarily on
Through the insights gained from the development of our robot concepts, we further aim to contribute back to the basic sciences with hypotheses for explaining biological phenomena. We are interested for example in the biomechanical principles of motion as well as in understanding of perception-action loops as they function in nature.
As a member of the German Aerospace Center, we are developing highly autonomous robots towards space missions for exploring remote planets, moons and small bodies of the solar system. Robots are the only vehicles capable of reaching most of these targets in near future, due to their great distances from Earth and the hostile environments. On the other hand, for on orbit servicing, we are developing a variety of teleoperation capabilities, from full telepresence to high levels of robot autonomy in different human-robot cooperation scenarios.
The mutual technology transfer between applications in space and on earth is one of the main strengths of the institute. Our robotic technologies are applied beyond the space sector also in the DLR research areas of aeronautics and transportation. Bringing our robotics technology back to earth, we are furthermore active in the areas of:
By enhancing productivity, robotics therefore contributes to preserving economic strength and welfare and addresses central health and workforce issues of the aging society.