Soft Robotic Systems

Today, sensor technology forms the basis for a wide range of technological developments with diverse applications, such as robotics, especially human-machine collaboration and so-called cobots: Robotics, especially human-machine collaboration and so-called cobots, intelligent vehicles, home automation, ambient assisted living, as well as in the areas of rehabilitation, prostheses and assistance systems.

In all these areas where humans and machines or electronic devices interact, mutual understanding is essential. Machines and electronic devices derive their understanding of their environment exclusively from the available sensor data – precisely for this reason, it is urgently necessary to integrate this ability into modern systems, to develop it further and to optimise it.

At the same time, modern manufacturing strategies such as 3D and other printing technologies enable the cost-effective development and use of novel design concepts for prototypes and small series. In this context, elastomer-based, i.e. soft, materials form the basis for system design closer to the human body. Novel concepts are also of interest in the area of control.

The goals of the research are the development of novel sensor concepts as well as the co-design of robotic systems that make optimal use of them. The production of both the systems and the integrated sensor technology is to be achieved by means of novel production technologies and strategies. Different material combinations, but also combinations of sensor concepts (multimodality) will be investigated with regard to their advantages in terms of sensor properties and their feasibility (integration) in robotic systems. The aim is also to design and manufacture robotic gripping systems, especially based on elastomers, which will also be evaluated in terms of their gripping properties. In this way, new learning concepts from the area of „machine learning“ and „deep learning“ for gripping processes are also being developed. Furthermore, the analysis, development and realisation of the human-machine interface are also the subject of research: the aim is to realise this in the best possible user-friendly way with the help of elastomer-based systems and sensor technology. In addition, new control concepts for such systems are being developed with the integration of sensor signals.


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