European Robotics Forum meets in Sweden, aims to turn research into products

The European Robotics Forum, held 6-8 April 2011 at the Aros Congress Center in Västeras, Sweden, drew over 340 roboticists from 26 countries to exchange ideas and network.

The European Robotics Forum, held 6-8 April 2011 at the Aros Congress Center in Västeras, Sweden, drew over 340 roboticists from 26 countries to exchange ideas and network. “At the EURON/EUROP Annual Meeting last year in San Sebastian [Spain], we had more than 230 participants," noted Rainer Bischoff, the EUROP Coordinator. "This year, the overwhelming participation of therobotics community indicates that we are on the right track.”

Building on last year’s theme of “Closing the gap between industry and academia,” the focus this year was "Enabling innovation: from research to products." The structure of the Forum remained the same: three days dedicated to robotics starting with the industry driven EUROP, its members assembly, and workshops on the first day. The second day was organised jointly by both EUROP and EURON, and the third day was organised by EURON.

Altogether, 43 workshops were offered this year plus an exhibition of robots and robotics projects. The presence of the members of the European Commission, their feedback and interaction with the participants were particularly encouraging for the robotics community as a whole.

During the Forum, the finalists of the 2011 euRobotics Technology Transfer Award, in its eighth year, recognized unique collaboration between research and industrial partners leading to innovation with proven potential for significant economic impact. Martin Hägele, a jury member and head of the Department of Robot Systems at Fraunhofer IPA, commented: “The judges awarded the first prize to the Lightweight Robot developed byKUKA and DLR – German Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics – because, being developed over more than a decade, it is mature technology that could open up numerous robotic applications in our daily life, such as in manufacturing, services, and medicine.”

From the outset, the KUKA-DLR Lightweight Robot (LWR) was developed to imitate a human arm’s dexterity, sensing, and strength. Simultaneously it is also less dangerous and easier to program than existing robots, making it ideal for tasks which require close human-robot interaction. The LWR is more portable and energy-saving than robots with comparable payloads, making it particularly suitable for mobile robot applications.

Second prize went to3B Scientific’s SIMone, an interactive robotic birth simulator, developed by TU München, ETH Zurich and 3B Scientific. SIMone aims to reduce the number of caesarean sections and incidence of cerebral palsy as a result of incorrect use of forceps and vacuum extraction. At the core of SIMone is a force controlled kinematic structure, which is actuated to rotate the baby realistically as it moves through the birth canal. 3B Scientific has already sold 50 systems worldwide of this training tool for medical students and doctors.

The other finalists in the Award, an Estonian startup company that has jointly with Tallinn University developed an online fitting room for clothing retailers using robotic mannequins; Surgenius, a surgical robot developed by Surgica Robotica and the University of Verona; and Workerbot, a human-inspired, dual-armed robot created by a collaboration between pi4_robotics and Fraunhofer Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology, IPK.

“We have never had so many different robotics fields represented in the Technology Transfer session. It shows that robotics technology is penetrating more and more fields and markets,” stated Henrik A. Schunk, managing partner of SCHUNK and chairman of EUnited Robotics. The Technology Transfer session was one of the highlights of the European Robotics Forum."

The European Robotics Association was founded in 2004 by major European robot manufacturers. EUnited Robotics serves as a platform for manufacturers, component suppliers, and system integrators of robotics in Europe, creating a network of industry leaders.

SOURCE:European Robotics Association

--Posted byVision Systems Design

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