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Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics
Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics
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1982 – patented DLR control ball in the SpaceMouse
In the late 1970s, the Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics began research on 6-DOF input devices for robot grippers in Cartesian space. The first force-torque sensor used was based upon strain gauge technology, integrated into a plastic hollow ball. The basic concept was patented in 1982.
1988 – ROTEX
ROTEX (1988-1993) was the launch of Germany's participation in space automation and robotics. The major focus was on maximum autonomy through on-board sensor technology and human-machine cooperation based on powerful telerobotic structures.
1992 – SpaceMouse wird produktreif
In the early 1990s, the SpaceMouse research project achieved market-ready product status and was marketed by the DLR spin-off Space Control.
1995 – LBR I
The LBR I was the first generation of impedance-controlled lightweight robots of the DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics and represents the pioneering development for the multitude of robot systems of the institute.
1998 – HAND I – first multifinger hand
The DLR Hand I was the first full integrated robot hand at the institute and inspires still all ongoing robot hand developments.
2001 – Hand II
DLR Hand II is a reliable, flexible and powerful multisensory hand – on Rollin' Justin – combined with the lightweight arms it is an excellent platform for two hand manipulation. In 2001, the hand was presented to the public for the first time.
2004 – DLR LBR III licensing by KUKA
After the DLR LBR III reached licensing stage, it was licensed to KUKA Roboter GmbH in 2004. KUKA further developed it with the KUKA LBR 4 (2008) and KUKA LBR 4+ (2010) to the KUKA LBR iiwa (2013).
2005 – ROKVISS on the ISS
The German technology experiment ROKVISS (RObotics Component Verification on the ISS) is designed to test highly integrated, modular robotic components under free space conditions. The experimental flight unit was installed on the outside of the International Space Station ISS in January 2005.
2006 – Justin
At Automatica 2008, the moving humanoid robot Rollin' Justin was presented. Two years earlier, his torso already existed, but was still stationary mounted on a table. In 2010, a new stationary SpaceJustin was added. Still a little later, a second mobile robot, Agile Justin.
2008 – first public presentation of DLR Miro
MIRO is the second generation of versatile robotic arms for medical applications developed at the institute. The spectrum ranges from guiding a laser unit for the precise cutting of bone material in orthopedics to the placement of pedicle screws and minimally invasive surgery.
2009 – Inauguration and move into the TechLab
The Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics uses the hall to install large robots as flight and driving simulators, and the Institute of High Frequency Technology and Radar Systems develops radar technologies, microwave systems and antennas here.
2010 – integraded hand arm system with 27 degrees of freedom
The DLR hand arm system (now called DAVID) was presented 2010 on Automatica tradefair and brought together a 20 degree of freedom hand with a robot arm with variable stiffness actuation VSA. The hand could reach the size of a human hand by integrating all motors in the forearm.
2011 – Challenges in Robotics: Down to Earth
On November 21, 2011, the international robotics colloquium began at the DLR site in Oberpfaffenhofen. The Robotics and Mechatronics Center will also be presenting itself for the first time at the event.
2011 – Braingate Experiment and Nature Paper
People with physical disabilities are already dependent on the help of others for very simple activities of daily living. Robotic assistance systems in combination with a brain-machine interface can help these people to perform such simple tasks independently.
2012 – Robot hand DEXHAND designed for the use in space
Robotics is a key technology in space missions, and DEXHAND was develop to help in the future atronauts during dangerous mission. The size is like a astrount glove, which allow to handle the same tools as astronauts.
2012 – Prof. Alin Albu-Schäffer takes over as head of the institute
In addition to heading the Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics at DLR, he holds the Chair of Sensor-based Robot Systems and Intelligent Assistance Systems in the Faculty of Computer Science at the Technical University of Munich.
2014 – Hayabusa2 - exploration of an asteroid
The spacecraft, operated by the Japanese space agency JAXA, launched on December 3, 2014, on a sample return mission to the asteroid Ryugu. Also on board Hayabusa2 is the MASCOT (Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout) lander. The RMC developed the swing arm that allows MASCOT to bounce on the asteroid.
2015 – Move of the institute to the new building
After the foundation stone was laid in spring 2013, the Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics and the Institute of Control Engineering and System Dynamics were able to move into the new RMC facilities in summer 2015.
2015 – Tele-handshake between ISS and Earth
The interaction took place by means of the humanoid robot SpaceJustin, which was remotely controlled from the ISS on December 17, 2015. Cosmonaut Sergei Volkov on the ISS and Institute Director Alin Albu-Schäffer on Earth were able - thanks to force feedback - to feel the force and movement of the handshake.
2016 – Inauguration of the Robotics and Mechatronics Center
The official inauguration of the new building took place on April 15, 2016. With space for a total of 300 employees and 80 students, the new building will enable close cooperation between the two institutes under the RMC association and create space for new ideas, applications and concepts in robotics research.
2017 – Robex experiments in Catania
As part of the lunar mission, a test field was set up on Mount Etna in Sicily for various experiments, since ideal conditions for simulating the lunar landscape can be found there.
2017 – MIRO Innovation Lab
The MIRO Innovation Lab (MIL) is an open innovation lab in the field of medical robotics. Funded by the Helmholtz Association with the goal to support cooperative research in medical robotics, it enables close collaboration between the Institute, partners and other research institutions.
2018 – Astronaut controls robot on earth
The last of a total of three METERON-SUPVIS-Justin experiments took place on August 17, 2018, at the Mars lab of the DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics, with successful support from German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst as part of his horizons mission.
2018 – Launch of the SMiLE project series
In the future, robotic assistants will be able to support us at home or in nursing homes. As part of the SMiLE project, scientists at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) have developed technologies that provide effective support in everyday life for people in need of care and people with disabilities.
2018 – MASCOT landed safely on the asteroid Ryugu
Asteroid Ryugu has a new resident 300 million kilometers from Earth: lander MASCOT was placed on asteroid Ryugu on October 3, 2018, and began its work.
2018 – Christian Ott wins the ERC Consolidator Grant
Christian Ott won a project grant from the European Commission for his legged robotics project application for NatDyReL (Utilizing Natural Dynamics for Reliable Legged Locomotion) on November 29, 2018.
2018 – SARA
The light-weight robot SARA demonstrates novel functionalities in force controlled robotics for a smooth human-robot collaboration. SARA was introduced to the public at the Automatica 2018.
2019 – Analog-1 Mission
On November 25 Astronaut Luca Parmitano steered the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Interact Rover in a test site in Valkenburg, the Netherlands that is similar to the lunar surface.
2019 – Institute Director Alin Albu-Schäffer wins ERC Advanced Grant
The M-Runners walking robotics project has won one of the European Commission's most prestigious science project grants.
2020 – Completion of the CAESAR
With the development of the robot system CAESAR (Compliant Assistance and Exploration SpAce Robot), the institute continues its work on robots for use in space. It was developed for a variety of tasks, e.g. maintenance and repair of satellites or the removal of space debris in LEO/GEO orbit.
Historical robotic systems
History of the DLR
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