The one-armed robot glides slowly to the kitchen table. With its three fingers, it carefully picks up the bottle of apple juice and puts it next to the glasses on the tray in front of it. Then it glides back into the lounge and serves the drinks to the guests.
This is how artificial assistants might work in future. Only 1.45 meters high, Care-O-bot® 3 is the prototype of a new generation of service robots designed to help humans in the household. The quick-to-learn assistant was developed by research scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Stuttgart.
But how does the robot know where to find the items it needs? And what has been done to make sure the robot does not inadvertently touch a human with its arm? It is fitted with numerous sensors to prevent this from happening. Stereo-vision color cameras, laser scanners and a 3-D range camera enable Care-O-bot® 3 to register its surroundings in three dimensions in real time. If a person moves into the radius of its arm, it stops moving. Another feature of the small, flexible helper is that it can move in any direction. “This is made possible by an omnidirectional platform with four separately steered and driven wheels,” explains Birgit Graf, who heads the domestic and personal service robotics group at IPA.
“In this way, the robot can even pass safely through narrow places in an apartment.” The new Care-O-bot® has a highly flexible arm with seven degrees of freedom and a hand with three fingers. This allows it to pick up bottles, cups and similar objects and to operate machines. Force sensors prevent it from gripping too hard. The arm and the grippers were developed by Schunk.
A tray is mounted at the front of the robot, on which Care-O-Bot® can carry items such as the requested cup of coffee. Integrated in the tray is a touch screen via which the assistant can be controlled. “But the robot can also be directed by spoken commands. Unlike its predecessors, it can even recognize and respond to gestures,” explains Graf. Numerous household articles are stored in the robot’s databases. It knows, for example, what a cup looks like and where to find it in the kitchen. It can also learn to recognize new objects. The user simply places the unfamiliar object in the robot’s hand so that it can gain a three-dimensional impression of the item. However, the new robot does not look like a human being. “We deliberately moved away from the existing, humanoid service robots when we designed Care-O-bot® 3,” stresses Care-O-bot-3 project manager Christopher Parlitz of IPA.
Birgit Graf | alfa
Batteries with better performance and improved safety
23.11.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt
Researchers take next step toward fusion energy
16.11.2017 | Texas A&M University
Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
23.11.2017 | Information Technology
23.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.11.2017 | Life Sciences