A special highlight at the beginning of the European Robotics Week (ERW 2017) mid of November was the visit of the famous robotics specialist Prof. Oussama Khatib at the institute ROBOTICS. Oussama Khatib is professor of Computer Science at Stanford University and director of the Stanford Robotics Laboratory. He is one of the leading robotics experts of the world. His research interests are methodologies and technologies of autonomous robots, cooperative robots, human-centered robotics, haptic interaction, dynamic simulation, virtual environments, augmented teleoperation, and human-friendly robot design.
The audience was impressed by Prof. Khatibs’ speech: “Robots: A 50 Year Journey” which ended with a lively discussion about the future of robotics. The visit was completed by a lab exploration tour including the presentation of the institute`s fields of research. Prof. Khatib was particularly interested in “Panda” from FRANKA EMIKA. This sensitive robot is the latest achievement of the ROBOTICS institute and complements its laboratory infrastructure.
Fresh from the first production-batch Panda belongs to the latest generation of “Industrie 4.0” robots and is one of the first of its kind in Austria. It is specifically designed for human-robot collaboration, can learn by copying and practicing, imitates movements, memorizes processes and reacts sensitively like a human. Panda has the potential to become a real human supporter in the future. In addition to the proven sensitive design, the robot offers new innovative software concepts for its control system. In particular, an intuitive, app-based programming environment supports its flexible use.
ROBOTICS sees the deployment of this novel robot as being able to offer new ICT-based services to end users and system integrators, and to develop innovative concepts for physical & cyber-physical robotic safety. As a result, robots like Panda can be used also in manufacturing processes that are currently performed manually. This capability will set a step-change in the direction of robot-based production for batch size 1.