Modeled on humans – Baumer sensors control "robot muscular movements"

Tuesday, 22. January 2013

Thanks to Baumer’s capacitive sensor CFDK, Roboy is also able to shake his partner’s hand (Picture: awtec AG/ AI Lab)

It will be 1.30 meters tall, resemble a "nice" boy and approximate human anatomy and movement much better than many of its peers. "Roboy" is the name of the most recent robot development from the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (AI Lab) at the University of Zurich, which will be constructed together with a project team of science and industry experts in just roughly nine months.

When Roboy sees the light of day at the world congress "Robots on Tour" in Zurich on March 9, the public will be able to marvel at a robot with "humanoid" characteristics whose creation was substantially supported also by Baumer.
In addition to touch sensitivity and face recognition, Roboy primarily stands out due to its movements which are patterned on human ones. Classic robots have motors installed directly in their joints, which make them move in a typically stiff manner. Roboy, however, will excel with tendon-controlled drive technology.. The joints are controlled via plastic tendons which join the bones of the artificial skeleton together. Electric motors stretch and contract the tendons, imitating muscular movement in the human body. 

To simulate the locomotor system of the human body in this manner, plenty of high tech is required in Roboy's inner workings, such as Baumer sensors. Together with other partner companies, the sensor manufacturer is supporting this project and has provided a total of over 100 analog sensors. These high-precision and very compact sensors are required to control the power of Roboy's individual muscle drive systems as well as to determine the exact position of movable body parts. It will also be possible to shake hands with Roboy. Sophisticated Baumer capacitive sensors ensure that the robot's fingers can also clasp his partner's hand. These just six millimeters high sensors are installed in the palm of Roboy's hand.

"A humanoid robot is certainly not an ordinary application for our sensors. The Roboy project is, however, a further example of the numerous and special sensor solutions that Baumer can offer", says Sascha Schmid, Product Market Manager Sensor Solutions at Baumer.

After its premiere on March 9, Roboy will go on tour to make the know-how available to interested persons and institutions. Among other things, Roboy will be live on display in the Baumer booth (No. 4.I01) at "swissT.fair for automation & electronics" on June 7.

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