The researchers at the Institute for Robotics and Mechatronics have developed the first robotic system which flew in space. During the ROTEX-mission (1993) they demonstrated in an impressive manner that it was possible to control a space robotic system from earth. They delay time of up to 3s was “compensated” with on-board autonomy. The autonomy was achieved by a multi-sensor grippe, the so-called ROTEX-gripper. The robot, which was developed by Dornier, was not able to move its own weight on earth.
For training the astronauts a light, flexible robot was needed. That was the point of time when the idea was born to develop the first light-weight robot.
Although the development was pushed by space robotic requirements, the light-weight robot had its breakthrough with terrestrial applications.
There are several aspects all DLR-light-weight robots have in common:
The kinematics is similar to the human arm, each joint is equipped with a torque sensor, the complete electronics is integrated in the arm, and the weight was reduced wherever it was possible.
Control Cycles: Current 40 kHz, Joint 2 kHz, Cartesian 1 kHz
Integrated Electronics, external Cabling, Communications by optical SERCOS-Bus