Next Generation Robots: From Robotic Co-Workers and Service Assistants to Human-Inspired Robot Design

Sami Haddadin, Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics

Recently, robots have gained capabilities in both sensing and actuation, which enable operation in the proximity of humans. Even direct physical interaction has become possible without suffering from decrease in speed and payload. However, it is clear that these human-friendly robots will look very different from today’s industrial ones. Rich sensory information, lightweight design, and soft-robotics features are required to reach the expected performance and safety during interaction with humans or in unknown environments. In this talk I will give an overview about my research topics at DLR that aim at solving these long-term challenges. The first part of my talk deals with the realization of sensor based co-workers/servants that bring robots closer to humans and enable close cooperation with them. I will describe our design methodologies, biomechanical safety analysis, exteroceptive sensing methods, control and motion algorithms, the developed HRI schemes, and several applications that benefit form the achieved advances. The second part of the talk covers variable impedance actuation that implements soft-robotics features mainly in hardware.

Based on the design and control ideas of actively controlled compliant systems we intend to outperform this mature technology with new variable stiffness systems. I will present the overall design ideas, the recently built hand-arm system, and novel control concepts that aim at exploiting the natural dynamics of these systems.

Speaker Biography

Sami Haddadin received his Dipl.-Ing. (German equivalent to M.Sc.) degree in Electrical Engineering in 2005 and the M.Sc. in Computer Science in 2009 from Technical University of Munich (TUM). He holds an Honours degree in Technology Management from Technical University of Munich and the Ludwig Maximilian University Munich (LMU). He obtains his PhD from RWTH Aachen. Sami Haddadin is with the Robotics and Mechatronics Center of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), where he heads the “Human-Robot Interaction” group. Since 2009 he also lectures advanced robotics at TUM. His main research topics are physical Human-Robot Interaction, nonlinear robot control, safety and dependability in robotics, optimal control and learning, real-time motion planning, and reactive planning. Among other things, he received the Best Application Paper Award from IROS 2008, the Best Service Robotics Paper Award from ICRA 2009, the euRobotics Technology Transfer Award 2011, and was a finalist for the Robotdalen Science Award 2009.