20. June 2022

Robotics high­lights at au­to­mat­i­ca 2022

Healthcare Assistance Project SMiLE2gether
Health­care As­sis­tance Project SMiLE2geth­er
Image 1/6, Credit: © DLR. All rights reserved

Healthcare Assistance Project SMiLE2gether

In the SMiLE (Ser­vicer­obotik für Men­schen in Lebenssi­t­u­a­tio­nen mit Ein­schränkun­gen – ser­vice robotics for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties) project se­ries, con­cepts and as­sis­tance ap­pli­ca­tions are be­ing de­vel­oped to pro­vide ef­fec­tive sup­port in ev­ery­day life for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties as well as peo­ple in need of care. In the SMiLE2geth­er project, dif­fer­ent types of as­sis­tance robots are used to­geth­er – (from left) – Hap­tic in­ter­ac­tion de­vice HUG, hu­manoid robot Rollin’ Justin and wheelchair as­sis­tant EDAN.
Assistance robot David helps in the household
As­sis­tance robot David helps in the house­hold
Image 2/6, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Assistance robot David helps in the household

Our abil­i­ty to deft­ly ma­nip­u­late ob­jects with our hands is an es­sen­tial el­e­ment of our dai­ly lives. To seam­less­ly in­te­grate robot­ic sys­tems in­to our ev­ery­day lives, they need sim­i­lar ca­pa­bil­i­ties. The an­thro­po­mor­phic robot David has joints with vari­able stiff­ness ac­tu­a­tors that have me­chan­i­cal­ly ad­justable flex­i­bil­i­ty in their drive train. One goal in the de­vel­op­ment is to come clos­er to hu­man ca­pa­bil­i­ties, es­pe­cial­ly in terms of dy­nam­ics, dex­ter­i­ty and ro­bust­ness.
Hybrid gripper
Hy­brid grip­per
Image 3/6, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Hybrid gripper

The Hy­brid Com­pli­ant Grip­per (HCG) is based on the thumb mod­ules of the DLR CLASH (Com­pli­ant Low-cost An­tag­o­nis­tic Ser­vo Hand). The hy­brid grip­per is equipped with both a two-fin­ger grip­per and vac­u­um suc­tion cups. This al­lows it to grip dif­fer­ent items in a box full of ob­jects. The two fin­ger mod­ules can al­so be swiv­elled so that the grip­per can col­lect two ap­ples at the same time, for ex­am­ple.
Factory of the Future - Extended. Intelligent robots for digital manufacturing
Fac­to­ry of the Fu­ture - Ex­tend­ed. In­tel­li­gent robots for dig­i­tal man­u­fac­tur­ing
Image 4/6, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Factory of the Future - Extended. Intelligent robots for digital manufacturing

The goal of the DLR ini­tia­tive 'Fac­to­ry of the Fu­ture' is the dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion of robot-sup­port­ed man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­cess­es with­in the frame­work of In­dus­try 4.0. The project 'Fac­to­ry of the Fu­ture – Ex­tend­ed' is the con­tin­u­a­tion of the cross-pro­gramme ini­tia­tive since 2022. A to­tal of sev­en in­sti­tutes and fa­cil­i­ties are joint­ly in­ves­ti­gat­ing fu­ture tech­nolo­gies and re­search ap­proach­es from the field of AI and co­op­er­a­tive robots in or­der to sim­pli­fy and op­ti­mise man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­cess­es.
SARA lightweight robot
SARA lightweight robot
Image 5/6, Credit: © DLR. All rights reserved

SARA lightweight robot

SARA is one of DLR's lat­est gen­er­a­tion of lightweight robots. The 'Safe Au­tonomous Robot­ic As­sis­tant' demon­strates new func­tion­al­i­ties in force-con­trolled robotics for prob­lem-free co­op­er­a­tion be­tween hu­mans and robots. Ap­pli­ca­tions in the con­text of In­dus­try 4.0 thus be­come more ef­fi­cient, cost-ef­fec­tive and safer. The robot sys­tem can be pro­grammed by demon­stra­tion. In this im­age, the op­er­a­tor is show­ing the robot not on­ly what to do, but al­so how to per­form the task.
MiroSurge surgical console
Miro­Surge sur­gi­cal con­sole
Image 6/6, Credit: © DLR. All rights reserved

MiroSurge surgical console

The MIRO In­no­va­tion Lab (MIL) is an Open In­no­va­tion Lab in the field of robot-as­sist­ed medicine, which is fund­ed by the Helmholtz As­so­ci­a­tion. This im­age shows the sur­gi­cal con­sole Miro­Surge.
  • DLR is exhibiting its robotics highlights at automatica 2022 in Munich from 21 to 24 June 2022.
  • This year, DLR's exhibition focuses primarily on industrial and care assistance robotics.
  • Focus: Industry 4.0, robotics, digitalisation

From 21 to 24 June, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is presenting highlights of its robotics research at automatica 2022 in Munich, the leading trade fair for intelligent automation and robotics. This year, the DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics exhibit focuses on the topics of the 'Factory of the Future' and the 'SMiLE' healthcare assistance project. In addition, partner institutes are exhibiting their latest developments and DLR spin-offs to show their successful technology transfer activities.

'Factory of the Future'

The goal of the DLR project 'Factory of the Future - Extended' is the digital transformation of robot-assisted manufacturing processes. A total of seven DLR institutes are working together across multiple disciplines and locations to achieve this. One of the DLR highlights at automatica is a flexible production network that consists of several reconfigurable workstations. The DLR SARA robotic arm is the central element of these modular stations. These workstations have a modular design and comprise a support structure, as well as the SARA robotic arm. Depending on the requirements, this modular system can independently configure itself with regard to the position of the components and the appropriate tools. Difficult tasks can be programmed intuitively by demonstration, using the special force-sensor technology incorporated in the robotic arm. The execution is sensitive, fast and precise.

To help make processes more flexible and efficient, 'SwarmRail' and 'FlappyBot' have been developed within the research area of mobile manipulation. Both concepts are based on a 'swarm' of mobile robots that move and cooperate autonomously. They have high economic potential for industry, logistics, vertical farming and the production of aircraft components made of fibre-composite materials. The DLR Center for Lightweight-Production-Technology in Augsburg is presenting a demonstrator for flexible production at automatica.

Simulations and digital twins, for example of components or entire systems, are indispensable for optimising production processes. An example of the virtual commissioning of an assembly process is demonstrated by the DLR Institute of System Dynamics and Control for 'Industry 4.0'.

The DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics is also exhibiting its new 'Hybrid Compliant Gripper' for logistics applications. In addition to its two-finger gripper, it is equipped with a vacuum gripper that can collect objects from above and thus it can easily retrieve single items from a box full of objects.

Assistance and care robotics

Visitors to the exhibition can also explore new technologies for human care and assistance. The SMiLE (Servicerobotik für Menschen in Lebenssituationen mit Einschränkungen – service robotics for people with disabilities) 'ecosystem' presented, consists of various robotic systems, such as the humanoid robot 'Rollin' Justin' and the EDAN wheelchair robot. Their autonomous capabilities are continuously being upgraded and in the latest SMiLE2gether project, researchers are investigating how a control centre can expand the application possibilities of these robots by providing support from a distance. A special area is reserved for demonstrating the first prototype of such a control centre from which DLR robot systems can be remotely controlled, among other things by means of haptic teleoperation. Assistance robots are intended to facilitate the everyday lives of people with physical disabilities and could work in retirement homes, households and hospitals.

The DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics is also presenting David, an anthropomorphic robot developed on the basis of a human model. David has two arms with dexterous hands, a torso, a neck and a head and is continuously being developed further to eventually become a complete, humanoid robot that can be used in an environment made for humans. To this end, David is to become as human as possible in terms of size, strength and dexterity.

Robotics expertise for SMEs and technology transfer

Last but not least, DLR's presence at the trade fair offers a glimpse of the MIRO Innovation Lab, the centre of excellence for medical robotics. Medical technology manufacturers, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, can gain access to expertise in the development of new robotic systems here. This includes access to the institute’s own MIRO research platform with various robotic arms for surgical interventions. As an interface between industry, research and clinical partners, the Innovation Lab team is available for questions and discussions on product developments as part of automatica 2022.

Robotics research is the driver of technology transfer. Numerous DLR spin-offs are therefore also exhibiting at the trade fair. The latest spin-off, Leverage Robotics, develops highly flexible robot assembly stations for safe and efficient human–robot collaboration.

  • Bernadette Jung
    Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Ober­paf­fen­hofen, Weil­heim, Augs­burg
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)

    Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Me­dia Re­la­tions
    Telephone: +49 8153 28-2251
    Fax: +49 8153 28-1243
    Münchener Straße 20
    82234 Weßling
  • Lioba Suchenwirth
    Pub­lic Re­la­tions
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    In­sti­tute of Robotics and Mecha­tron­ics
    Münchener Straße 20
    82234 Oberpfaffenhofen-Weßling


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