Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics

Head of the Institute: Prof. Dr. Alin Albu-Schäffer

The long-term goal of our robotics activities has always been based on the idea of relieving man from inhuman and dangerous tasks. While in the early years of robotics in our department the main focus of interest has been restricted to designing robot sensors (and sensor-based man-machine interfaces) and closing smart sensory feedback loops, in the last years the activities have widened up considerably. Presently the general goal is the design of a new generation of multisensory light-weight robots for space applications which are operable by astronauts as well as from groundstations, based on powerful telerobotic concepts and man-machine-interfaces. This goal is characterized by a high degree of interdisciplinarity and consists of a few major task areas

  • Mechatronics - sensory and actuator developments
  • Learning - adaptation and self-improvement
  • Vision - real-time visual skills for intelligent robot control
  • Telerobotics - remote control concepts for telecontrol, X-by-wire, and space
  • Space Robotics - robotics space applications
  • Medical Applications - robotics in medical applications

While in the early years of our robotic acitivities cooperation with terrestrial industry was predominant, the last 5 years have been characterized by close cooperation and contracts with space industry. The space robot technology experiment ROTEX - Europe's first active step into space robotics - was massively based on the concepts and systems developed here (multisensory gripper, local autonomy, telerobotic station); nevertheless in the future there will be considerable effort to transfer technology developed for space (e.g. light-weight concepts) back into terrestrial applications.

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