As part of the EU research project PRACE, scientists from Fraunhofer IPA have collaborated with partners from industry and research to develop a teachable, two-armed robot system.
The concept follows the master-apprentice principle: learning by demonstration. The aim is to enable the worker to quickly and easily impart new skills to the mobile production assistant simply by demonstrating the relevant activities. At Automatica 2014, Fraunhofer IPA will show how the PRACE demonstrator works.
The goal of the EU research project PRACE is to develop a teachable, two-armed robot system for the partial automation of small batch production processes. The concept is based on the principle of learning by demonstration. The mobile production assistant learns from the worker how to carry out certain activities by itself. Similarly to a master-apprentice relationship, the worker shows the robot how to carry out the relevant tasks.
The mobile production assistant follows what the worker does and categorizes this new knowledge in its knowledge database. When the robot applies its newly acquired skill, the worker corrects and refines the robot’s actions as required until the desired result is achieved. At little expense, PRACE can be intuitively taught and quickly used for a variety of handling and manipulation tasks. This increases flexibility, cuts costs and makes the system especially attractive for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Safe and mobile two-armed manipulation for every user
For shorter set-up times, PRACE dispenses with protection systems and must therefore be operated at a lower speed of the individual robot arms. The two-armed robot provides a normal work output, while the combination of two-armed manipulation and mobile platform makes it possible for the output to be increased and for new applications in mass production to be cost-effectively automated. This is currently being trialled in production at Bosch as part of the PRACE project. Modular construction also allows the use of individual robot components and their combination with other systems.
The demonstrator from the PRACE project is based on Fraunhofer IPA’s rob@work 3 platform, ABB’s “dual-arm concept robot” and a tracking system from Magellium and DTI. In addition, the scientists from Fraunhofer IPA and Lund University are integrating a control for mobile manipulation to enable the planning and implementation of collision-free manipulation by both arms without the need for complex programming by the end user. Also, the robot system employs safe navigation methods to increase the workspace of compact manipulators: PRACE is capable of responding in real-time to dynamic changes in its environment in order to avoid collisions. “We have many years of experience in software development for the manipulation and navigation of autonomous systems. Fraunhofer IPA is focusing in particular on the development of components for localization and path planning in dynamic environments,” says Alexander Bubeck, Project Manager in the Robot and Assistive Systems department.
PRACE demonstrator in action
At Automatica 2014, PRACE will be used to carry out the preparations for a coating process: different parts for coating require simple and flexible programming of the mobile two-armed robot system. The process involves the following three steps:
• Demonstration of the new task:
The tracking system follows the movement of a teach-in tool used by the worker to demonstrate the desired motions of the system. There is also a database of robot actions (such as the recognition of components). A simulation is displayed during the teach-in process to show the worker the movements of the “robot apprentice” in real-time.
• Refinement phase:
After the teach-in phase, it may be the case that the PRACE demonstrator is incapable of executing the newly learned motion sequence to the required standard. In individual steps, therefore, the worker must further refine the robot’s motions using a tool-integrated camera system, force regulation or manual intervention to ensure that the robot is also able to carry out delicate operations, such as introducing a needle into a holder.
• Automated execution:
The new robot application can then be executed without intervention by the worker. The robot system autonomously improves its execution of the motions by, for example, using the second manipulator for execution or by shortening the travel trajectories.
PRACE stands for “Productive Robot Apprentice” and is an EU-funded research project (grant agreement no. 285380) as well as part of the 7th EU Framework Programme.
Partners in the project:
Fraunhofer IPA (Germany), Robert Bosch GmbH (Germany), Teknologisk Institut (Denmark), Lund University (Sweden), Magellium SAS (France) and ABB AG (Germany).
More at Automatica – 6th International Trade Fair for Automation and Mechatronics
3 to 6 June 2014
New Trade Fair Centre Munich
Hall A4 | Stand 530
Dipl.-Ing. Alexander Bubeck, phone +49 711 970-1314, email@example.com
Jörg Walz | Fraunhofer-Institut
Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics
23.03.2017 | North Carolina State University
TU Graz researchers show that enzyme function inhibits battery ageing
21.03.2017 | Technische Universität Graz
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
28.03.2017 | Life Sciences
28.03.2017 | Information Technology
28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy