Leipzig: Best Place for Robots and Friends

It was a festival for the mind and the heart: The 20th RoboCup combined scientific peak performances with the outstanding enthusiasm of participants from all over the world. The world championships of intelligent robots inspired 35,000 participants and visitors on the Leipzig exhibition grounds. In 17 disciplines, the robots and their creative developers demonstrated what robotics is already capable of today. The competitions were accompanied by an exciting exhibition, a scientific technical program and numerous participation offerings.

“We can look back to a very successful RoboCup,” says Professor Gerhard Kraetzschmar, General Chair of RoboCup 2016. “The competitions have demonstrated once more the enormous growth taking place in the robotics sector. And Leipzig and Leipziger Messe proved themselves to be the perfect venue for RoboCup 2016.” Markus Geisenberger, Managing Director of Leipziger Messe, adds: “This was a wonderful RoboCup 2016. Participants from all over the world enjoyed their stay in the trade fair city of Leipzig. And there was something else: RoboCup has shown us that working together on an idea gives rise to a celebration among friends. I would like to thank all supporters who contributed to this successful event.”

These are the winners of RoboCup 2016

A total of 3,500 participants from more than 45 countries and regions came to RoboCup 2016. With them came more than 1,200 robots that competed in the disciplines Soccer, Home, Rescue and Industrial, and in the Junior leagues. The participants and their autonomous robots were fired up from the first to the last minute, and cheered each other on. The following teams won their respective competitions:

RoboCup Major: Soccer

  • Standard Platform League: B-Human, Universität Bremen, Bremen
  • Small Size League: MRL, Islamic Azad University of Qazvin, Qazvin
  • Middle Size League: Final: Tech United Eindhoven, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven
  • Humonoid Kid Size: Rhoban Football Club, University of Bordeaux 1, Talence
  • Humanoid Teen Size: NimbRo TeenSize, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Bonn
  • Humanoid Adult Size: Baset Adult-Size, Baset Pazhuh Tehran Co., Tehran
  • Simulation 2D: Gliders2016, University of Sydney, Sydney
  • Simulation 3D: UT Austin Villa, University of Texas at Austin, Austin

RoboCup Major: Rescue

  • Rescue Robot League: iRAP ROBOT, King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok, Bangkok
  • Rescue Simulation Agent: MRL, Islamic Azad University of Qazvin, Qazvin
  • Rescue Simulation Virtual Robot: Yıldız, Yıldız Teknik Üniversitesi, Istanbul

RoboCup Major: Home

  • [email protected]: ToBI, Universität Bielefeld, Bielefeld

RoboCup Major: Industrial

  • [email protected]: LUHBots, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Hanover
  • RoboCup Logistics: Carologistics, FH Aachen, Aachen

Leagues continue to progress: Outdoor-Challenge, RoboCup Industrial, Referee Software

RoboCup is supported by a global community of tens of thousands of members. Their vision: In 2050, a team of autonomous robots wants to play against and beat the reigning FIFA World Champion. Even if this goal still seems visionary at present, the various leagues again registered numerous successes this year, confirming the steady progress of this technology.

Several leagues took up the challenge of having competitions held under outdoor conditions. In the Soccer Standard Platform, a separate competition was successfully held on artificial turf under wildly fluctuating natural lighting conditions. Similarly, Middle Size Soccer also successfully implemented a Technical Challenge under these difficult conditions. Two other innovations created a lot of excitement due to accordingly increased realism. Difficulties and progress in the Soccer category: The Humanoid League used artificial turf and real soccer balls. Three types of automated referee software were used in Small Size Soccer for the first time. They successfully refereed soccer games involving 22 players.

A competition under outdoor conditions was also implemented in the Rescue Robot League. Robots had to localize and remove victims in danger zones, and transport material to these zones. It was also the first time that flying robots took part in another technical evaluation as part of this league. In addition, humanoid robots mastered new tasks such as opening doors, closing valves and using tools.

Another exciting innovation was demonstrated in the [email protected] and RoboCup Logistics Leagues. These were combined under RoboCup Industrial for the first time; a joint competition with mobile robots highlighted key developments for Industry 4.0.

Toyota and SoftBank Robotics will provide robots for future [email protected] Standard Platform Leagues

Hundreds of trade visitors followed the company presentations of the [email protected] Call on Friday. Two new Standard Platforms will be introduced in this discipline for RoboCup 2017. While the current competition allows for the free selection of hardware and software, specific robots will be specified for these leagues in the future. Six well-known technology companies presented their robots, which are well suited for this purpose, and their advantages. “All of the company presentations were impressive, leaving the RoboCup Federation with a difficult decision,” says Prof. Oskar von Stryk, Associated Chair of RoboCup 2016. “We are pleased to announce that Toyota and SoftBank Robotics have been selected by the RoboCup Federation for providing the robots for the [email protected] Standard Platform Leagues starting next year.”

Team Delft wins Amazon Picking Challenge in both categories

This is the first time that the Amazon Picking Challenge was held concurrently with RoboCup. Sixteen teams from around the world took up the challenge of picking up and securely stowing twelve very different items from a shelf within a very short time period. The Delft team from the Netherlands put in an impressive performance on Friday and Saturday, and won both Stow and Pick categories.

Comprehensive scientific and technical program

Several high level scientific events closely co-located with RoboCup also invited visitors to exchange scientific ideas. Lively discussions on the current state of research took place at more than ten concurrent scientific and technical events, including the DGR Days, the 9th IFAC Symposium and the Flower Robotics Seminar. Tomorrow’s RoboCup Symposium closes the world championships of intelligent robots.

RoboCamp delivers a new generation of young scientists

The children and youths participating in RoboCamp fidgeted in their seats during the opening ceremony. The young scientists were very excited about the upcoming workshop, and could hardly wait for the starting signal. For three days, 160 children and youth and their parents worked on their first own robots as part of RoboCamp; the robots then faced off against each other in the first competitions. “The great amount of work done at RoboCamp demonstrates the fascination of children and youth with MINT issues,” says Markus Geisenberger. “I am very pleased that we were able to organize this workshop together with IHK zu Leipzig. I am sure that we have laid the foundation for one or more engineering careers.”

From robot friends and household assistants: Exhibition with an eye to the future

Hello. I can see you! – With these friendly words, robot Pepper from SoftBank Robotics caused quite a bit of excitement among many visitors. At this stand and at 60 more, market leaders such as Siemens, KUKA, Festo, Schenker, Tuxedo and noDNA presented fascinating exhibits. “This exhibition is the ideal complement for the competitions,” says Professor Gerhard Kraetzschmar. “It continues the game-based setting of the competitions with the application side, and turns the future vision of robotics into something tangible.” The future was also at the heart of the Recruiting exhibition. On 1 and 2 July, this event brought together potential employees and employers in the robotics industry at the Congress Center Leipzig.

RoboCup 2017 in Japan

The 21th RoboCup will be held in Nagoya, Japan, from 25 to 31 July 2017.

About RoboCup

RoboCup is the leading and most diverse competition for intelligent robots, and one of the world’s most important technology events in research and training. The World Cup of robots combines a variety of interdisciplinary problems from robotics, artificial intelligence, informatics, as well as electrical and mechanical engineering, among others. As the central discipline, robots play soccer in different leagues. Additional visionary application disciplines, such as intelligent robots as assistants for rescue missions, in households and in industrial production have been added during the last few years. The vision of the RoboCup Federation: That autonomous humanoid robots beat the reigning soccer world champion in 2050. In addition to the Global Sponsors of the RoboCup (Festo, Flower Robotics, MathWorks, SoftBank Robotics), the 2016 world championships are also supported by Siemens (Gold Sponsor), Amazon Robotics, Festo, KUKA (Silver Sponsors), Schenker, TUXEDO Computers (Hardware Partners), HARTING, Arbeitgeberverband Gesamtmetall / think ING, S&P Sahlmann (Bronze Sponsors), DHL (Logistics Partner) and Autoverwertung Freund, arvato, Donaubauer, Flughafen Leipzig/Halle, GiSA, Metropolregion Mitteldeutschland, Micro-Epsilon and regiocom (Friends).

Pioneer of Collaborative Robots Launches Universal Robots+

Odense, Denmark/Munich, Germany, June 21, 2016:Universal Robots, the Danish pioneer of human-robot collaboration, revolutionizes the automation industry with the launch of Universal Robots+ at AUTOMATICA in Munich. Today, the company presents:

  • Universal Robots+: A showroom of Plug & Play application solutions offering a new level of simplicity for companies that want to hit the ground running when installing their next UR robot application;  By choosing accessories, end-effectors, and software solutions from Universal Robots+, both distributors and end users get high security and predictability that applications will run well from the start, saving weeks and months in the integration process from concept to operation of the UR cobots.
  • +YOU: a unique, free-of-charge developer program, offering a powerful marketing and support platform for the flourishing eco-system of UR-robot application developers.

At the AUTOMATICA kick-off in Munich, Universal Robots+ will – for the first time – be presented in hall B5 (518) as well as to all interested developers at a designated +YOU booth (341).

With Universal Robots+, the company creates its own eco-system enabling applications revolving around the collaborative robot arms UR3, UR5 and UR10 to be developed and showcased. The so-called URCaps, accessory components that extend the UR robots’ capabilities, can be customized hardware components, software plug-ins, or a combination of both. The aim of Universal Robots+ is to reduce implementation periods, increase user comfort and reduce costs for all parties involved.

“With Universal Robots+, we create an unmatched win-win-win situation benefitting the developer community, our distribution partners and our end customers,” explains Esben H. Østergaard, CTO and co-founder of Universal Robots. “The participants in the developer program +YOU will receive free support from Universal Robots when developing URCaps. By integrating the accessory components showcased at the Universal Robots+ showroom, our distribution partners and end users reduce spending on application development and testing when they deploy the URCaps as simple Plug & Play solutions. In short, Universal Robots+ is easy access to efficient, well-proven, and safe automation solutions that we elevate to the next level by collaborating with a crucial component: the developers of today and tomorrow.”

How developers and distributors will benefit

“When developers have received our approval for designing within Universal Robots+, we will support them via our local subsidiaries by providing robots for testing and optimizing URCaps. On request, robots can also be purchased at a reduced price, given that they will be used exclusively for the development and testing of new UR-related components,” says Stefan Tøndering Stubgaard, Manager of Universal Robots’ Corporate Technical Support.

After completion of a URCaps prototype, the developer will send it to Universal Robots for examination. Tøndering Stubgaard explains: “Before a new product can be presented in our showroom, we verify its quality. In comprehensive functionality tests, we test whether the URCap can be implemented and operated easily and if the product conforms to Universal Robots’ quality requirements.”

In addition, developers can also get their URCaps certified by Universal Robots. In order to receive this additional quality certificate, developers must document that their solution is already operating in a real application and used successfully by a customer.

Having capabilities featured in the Universal Robots+ showroom is free of charge for developers. In providing this, Universal Robots offers all developers a professional marketing platform granting them access to an ever expanding, global customer network. Sales of all products and capabilities revolving around the UR-robots’ universe will continue to be provided through Universal Robots’ established network of distribution partners. In this way, distributors also benefit from this central platform, where they can both offer and access applications developed specifically for the use with UR robots. Universal Robots+ is the toolbox that tailors the optimal solutions for their individual customer needs.

Entering the Universal Robots+ Community

Developers need only complete a few steps to get their application solutions featured in the Universal Robots+ showroom. Registration for developers is free in the +YOU community forum where developers can submit their application ideas. In order to become a member of the +YOU community, the following conditions must be met:

  • Submission of a first draft detailing which type of capabilities is being developed. The following categories of URCaps can be chosen:
    • End-effectors:All types of end-of-arm-tooling (EOAT) such as grippers, force-torque-sensors, screwdrivers, and many more.
    • Accessory components:hardware products, which do not belong into the category of end-effectors – for instance, cable guidance, protective covers, communication modules, vision systems, HMI-panels, etc.
    • Software:These are either software plug-ins, which have been developed with the URCaps Software Development Kit (SDK), PC programs, for example, for the simulation of robot systems or programming, or UR-Library Plug-ins for the software of third parties such as the PLC programming suite.
  • Moreover, the developer needs to offer an established support service with a response time of maximum 24 hours on week days.
  • The developers must present a website with valid contact data.

After verification of the URCaps by Universal Robots, the developers will receive access to the +YOU online forum, where they can exchange questions and ideas. In addition, all members of the community will receive access to the company-internal developer support, which will assist (if necessary) in developing a market mature application. Additionally, the URCaps Software Development Kit can be downloaded free-of-charge.

 

First URCaps developed

The first approved capabilities developed by the developer community will accompany the Universal Robots+ launch at AUTOMATICA. One new URCap is the vision-guided Pick & Place solution of Robotiq, the Canadian manufacturer of flexible robot grippers and sensors. Samuel Bouchard, CEO of Robotiq, explains: “The UR robot arms can be equipped with our new camera and vision system and deployed right into assembly within five minutes. There is no need for an external computer to set up, program, or operate the camera. Everything can be done within the robot’s user interface. In developing this solution, we managed to meet the need of Universal Robots and our customers demanding an easier and faster implementation of a camera and vision system that can be deployed by anyone.”

Software release reduces implementation time

Alongside the launch of Universal Robots+, a new update for the robot arms’ operating software has been published. The new release (Software Version 3.3) includes updates such as the Profinet IO device functionality. The new compatibility with Profinet protocols opens up numerous additional areas of deployment and activities for robots. “A key feature of the update supporting the Universal Robots+ platform is the ability for providers to now offer solutions that interface seamlessly with the UR software,” says Østergaard.

Until now, the software enabling communication between developer applications and the UR robot arms had to be implemented by using relatively complex script code, which is time consuming and a difficult task for the majority of end users to handle. As the Software Version 3.3 now consists in parts of open source software, the developers can implement their software as an add-on, reducing the time needed for implementation at the end customer’s premises significantly, thus reducing both price and potential risks.

Availability

Universal Robots+ and the +YOU forum are accessible online from today in English. The first URCaps are already on display in the Universal Robots+ Showroom.

UR+ 2

About Universal Robots

Universal Robots is the result of many years of intensive research at Denmark’s successful robot cluster, which is located in Odense, Denmark. The company was co-founded in 2005 by the company’s CTO, Esben Østergaard, who wanted to make robot technology accessible to all by developing small, user-friendly, reasonably priced, flexible industrial robots that are safe to work  with and  on their own can be used to  streamline processes in the industry. The product portfolio includes the collaborative UR3, UR5 and UR10 robotic arms named after their payload in kilos. Since the first UR robot launched in December 2008, the company has experienced considerable growth with the user-friendly robots now sold in more than 50 countries worldwide. At just 195 days, the average payback period for UR robots is the fastest in the industry. The company, a part of Boston-based Teradyne Inc., is headquartered in Odense and has subsidiaries and regional offices in the U.S., Spain, Germany, Singapore, Czech Republic, India, and China. Universal Robots has more than 270 employees worldwide. Learn more at: www.universal-robots.com, www.universal-robots.com/plus/ and on the company-owned blog.

RoboCup: The world comes to Leipzig

It is the meeting place of the international research elite. From 30 June to 3 July, 3,500 participants from more than 45 countries and regions will be in Leipzig for RoboCup. Many of them have been a part of the global community for years. And they are all excited to engage in an inspiring dialogue on the current state of robotics.

RoboCupMajor

b-it-bots, Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg, Sankt Augustin, Germany

Liga: [email protected] und [email protected]

“We have participated in RoboCup since 2012. “After first competing in [email protected], we added [email protected] to our list of competitions in 2012. With our 16 team colleagues – all of whom are studying Autonomous Systems – we take on the RoboCup challenge every year. In 2009, we were the [email protected] world champion, and won second place in [email protected] in 2014. What is so special about this event: Our team members are from all corners of the globe, including Mexico, India, Congo, Ukraine, Pakistan, Canada and Vietnam, and we all practice the idea of RoboCup. We look forward to an inspiring environment with the opposing teams, some of which are also close friends.”www.b-it-bots.de

Nao-Team, Hochschule für Technik, Wirtschaft und Kultur, Leipzig, Germany

Liga: RoboCup Standard Platform League

“Our team consists of 17 informatics students. We have been enthusiastic participants of RoboCup for years, and look forward to welcoming the competition to Leipzig this year. At RoboCup, we use innovation and creative software to push hardware to its limits – something that motivates us every year.” http://htwk-robots.de

Tech United Eindhoven, Eindhoven University, Eindhoven, Netherlands

Liga: Soccer, Midlle Size League

“We have been coming to RoboCup since 2005 – with much success. In the Middle Size league, we have always reached the finals in the past few years, and even won the coveted trophy in 2012 and 2014. What is so special about RoboCup? Despite its competitive character, everyone is working on the same goal – to promote research in robotics. The community spirit is really noticeable!” www.facebook.com/techunited

UT Austin Villa, University of Texas, Austin, USA

Liga: Soccer, 3D Simulation League

“We have competed at RoboCup for more than ten years. Participating in different RoboCup leagues since 2003, we won the 3D Simulation League title four times in the past five years. 3D simulation unites robotics, multiagent systems and artificial intelligence – something that really motivates us. RoboCup is an excellent opportunity to meet up with friends and colleagues and talk about the newest results, share ideas and test the latest advances.”

http://www.cs.utexas.edu/~AustinVilla/sim/3dsimulation/

WrightEagles, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China

Liga: [email protected]

“We were the first Chinese team to compete at RoboCup in 2009. We now have 15 students who have been competing for the top spots in the [email protected] league for several years, and we won the title in 2014. What we find exciting about RoboCup? During the event, members have an opportunity to advance their technologies and test their inventions in real life. At the end, what counts is not only the ranking, but the insights that have been gained.”http://wrighteagle.org/en/robocup/atHome/

Bit-Bots, Universität Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany

Liga: Soccer, Humanoid KidSize

“We have competed in RoboCup’s Humanoid KidSize league since 2012. Our team consists of 17 members. We have already been able to reach the top spots at the RoboCup German Open and IranOpen several times. RoboCup is a wonderful opportunity for gaining practical experience as part of our academic course of studies. We are very excited to discuss the newest robots with the other teams in Leipzig.” www.bit-bots.de

Solidus, Höhere Fachschule für Technik, Mitteland, Switzerland

Liga: RoboCup Logistics

“We started competing at RoboCup in 2010. Last year, our nine-member team garnered the second place. For us, RoboCup is the ideal setting for networking, exchanging ideas and expanding our social and technical competence.”https://www.facebook.com/hftmrobotics

Hector, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany

Liga: RoboCup Rescue

“We have participated in the RoboCupRescue league since 2009. The objective of this league is to search for buried victims in simulated disaster scenarios – an exciting task, since these technologies are supposed to be used in real life very soon. Our autonomous rescue robots already achieved some success in this area, and we have won the “Best in Class Autonomy” award in every one of the last four years. In 2014, we were the first team with a focus on autonomy that won the world championship title in Brazil. Therefore we will work hard to again achieve a top ranking in the “home game” in Leipzig. We are excited about RoboCup because it gives us an opportunity to test our robots at a world class level. The intensive exchange with the other teams is another exciting aspect of the world championships.“www.teamhector.de

RoboCupJunior

FRT – FIRST RoboCup, Alexander von Humboldt Gymnasium, Berlin, Germany

Liga: Soccer

“Our team was created in 2006, and has competed at many robotics world championships in the RoboCupJunior Soccer leagues. This year, we became the German champion, and are of course looking forward to Leipzig. Our team is characterized by its passion and friendships. We look forward to exciting days!“ www.frtrobotik.de

RoboCup at a glance

Participants: approx. 3,500 from 45 countries

Junior participants: 1,155

Major participants: 1,540

Volunteers: 248

Amazon Picking Challenge: 100 participants

RoboCamp: 160 participants

Representatives of the RoboCup Community: approx. 300 participants

Home geographical regions Egypt, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil

of the participants: Chile, China, Germany, Ivory Coast, Estonia, France, United Kingdom, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Canada, Columbia, Croatia, Macau, Mexico, Netherlands, Austria, Pakistan, Panama, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Hungary, Uruguay, USA

Geographical regions with Germany (620), Iran (356), China (227), Japan (230),

the most participants: USA (162)

Participants who have travelled University of New South Wales, Sydney

the longest way: (Air-line distance: 16,195.25 km)

About RoboCup

RoboCup is the leading and most diverse competition for intelligent robots, and one of the world’s most important technology events in research and training. The World Cup of robots combines a variety of interdisciplinary problems from robotics, artificial intelligence, informatics, as well as electrical and mechanical engineering, among others. As the central discipline, robots play soccer in different leagues. Additional visionary application disciplines, such as intelligent robots as assistants for rescue missions, in households and in industrial production have been added during the last few years. The vision of the RoboCup Federation: That autonomous humanoid robots beat the reigning soccer world champion in 2050. The 20th RoboCup will be held in Leipzig from 30 June to 4 July 2016. More than 500 teams from 40 countries with 3,500 participants are expected to compete at this event. In addition to the Global Sponsors of the RoboCup (SoftBank Robotics, Festo, Flower Robotics, MathWorks), the 2016 world championships are also supported by Siemens (Gold Sponsor), Amazon Robotics, Festo, KUKA (Silver Sponsors), Schenker, TUXEDO Computers (Hardware Partners), HARTING, Arbeitgeberverband Gesamtmetall / think ING, S&P Sahlmann (Bronze Sponsors), DHL (Logistics Partner) as well as arvato, Donaubauer, Flughafen Leipzig/Halle, Metropolregion Mitteldeutschland and Micro-Epsilon (Friends).

Gewinnerteams fliegen zum WRO Finale nach Indien – 16 deutsche Teams treten im November in Neu-Delhi gegen 55 andere Länder an

An diesem Wochenende (18./19. Juni) fand das Deutschlandfinale der World Robot Olympiad (WRO), einem internationalen Roboterwettbewerb für Kinder und Jugendliche von 8 bis 19 Jahren, in der Friedrich-Ebert-Halle in Ludwigshafen. Frau Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka, Bundesministerin für Bildung und Forschung, hat in diesem Jahr die Schirmherrschaft für das Finale übernommen.

In den vergangenen beiden Tagen traten über 70 Teams beim Deutschlandfinale der World Robot Olympiad in Ludwigshafen an. Die Teams mussten mit ihren Robotern Aufgaben zum diesjährigen Thema „RAP THE SCRAP – Roboter reduzieren, verwalten und recyceln Müll“ lösen. Dabei nahmen die Teams in drei Wettbewerbskategorien teil.

In der Regular Category mussten die Roboter zu auf verschiedenen Parcours zu Themen „Halte den Schulweg sauber“ (8-12 Jahre), „Mülltrennung“ (13-15 Jahre) und „Recyclinganlage“ (16-19 Jahre) auf einem etwa 2m² großen Parcours verschiedene Aufgaben bewältigen.

Teilnehmerinnen und Teilnehmer der Open Category haben ihre bis zu 2m x 2m großen Robotermodelle zum Umgang mit Müll einer fachkundigen Jury präsentiert. Hierbei überzeugte das Team CreaBotic der Berufsbildenden Schule in Neustadt an der Weinstraße durch ein stimmiges Gesamtkonzept und eine tolle Konstruktion sowie innovative Programmierung. Der mit Hilfe von mehreren Laugebläsen angetriebene Luftkissenroboter ermöglicht es am Strand verschiedenste Müllarten einzusammeln und zu analysieren.

Ein Highlight und gleichzeitiger Zuschauermagnet des Events war die Football Category (Roboterfußball). Dabei treten zwei Teams mit je zwei Robotern gegeneinander an und ermitteln nach bekannten Fußballregeln im Tabellenmodus die Gewinner.

Bei der Siegerehrung übergaben Dr. Klaus Sundermann, Referent für Schülerwettbewerbe im rheinland-pfälzischen Bildungsministerium sowie Johannes Steiniger, Bundestagsabgeordneter und gleichzeitig Übermittler der Grußworte der Bundesministerin für Bildung und Forschung, die 16 Startberechtigungen zum Weltfinale in den verschiedenen Kategorien und Altersklassen der WRO. Nun haben die besten 16 Teams einige Monate Zeit, sich für die spannende Reise nach Indien und die drei Wettbewerbstage vor Ort vorzubereiten.

Grüße an alle Teams und Glückwünsche an die Siegerinnen und Sieger kamen von der rheinland-pfälzischen Bildungsministerin Dr. Stefanie Hubig. „Der Robotik-Wettbewerb ist ein wichtiger Baustein in unserem Bemühen, Kinder und Jugendliche möglichst früh an die MINT-Fächer und die Ingenieurwissenschaften heranzuführen. Und die spannende, kreative und begeisterte Atmosphäre bei den Wettbewerbsrunden zeigt: Wer erst einmal Feuer gefangen hat, den lassen Technik und Informatik nicht mehr los“, so die Ministerin.

RoboCup Leipzig: Using small robots to learn for the big robots

Most people know robots as machines that accurately perform previously defined processes. Their advantage over other industrial equipment is that they can be used in a variety of situations due to their considerable flexibility. To further increase this level of flexibility, Augsburg-based automation specialist KUKA relies on an intensive exchange with the global robotics community. Competitions such as RoboCup translate tasks from the factory of the future into scientific challenges for the researchers. In this way, competition among the teams gives rise to innovative solutions that are needed to further enhance production towards Industry 4.0. At Leipziger Messe, these approaches can be experienced live at RoboCup from 30 June to 3 July.

A third hand for humans

Even now, increasingly intelligent robots play an important part in modern factories. De-mographic change and steadily growing demand for higher productivity and quality, along with lower costs, have the effect of raising the requirements for future robot-based auto-mation, particularly in the installation area. As an ageing workforce is supported by robotic colleagues, it becomes very important to ensure the safe co-existence of workers and robots, and to develop a correspondingly sensitive robot assistant.

KUKA’s light construction robot LBR iiwa (intelligent industrial work assistant) demonstrates how the knowledge transfer from research and competitions such as RoboCup to the actual production environment works precisely for these types of challenges. The robot’s arm is very sensitive, and therefore optimally suited for this type of task, turning it into the equivalent of a third human hand. The robot can handle fragile and sensitive objects, detects the position of the components to be used, and installs them with the required amount of force. In this way, production rejects or a collisions can be avoided. “Today’s production environment requires a maximum amount of flexibility and transformation due to steadily increasing product and model diversity. LBR iiwa can meet these requirements and thus enables processes that were hitherto inconceivable in terms of automation,” says Dr. Rainer Bischoff, Manager of Group Research at KUKA, and explains: “Its sensors and control technology also make it so safe that humans and robots can work alongside each other without having to be separated by protective walls.”

Flexible through mobility

The considerable demands on robots are especially evident in the area of mobility. That is because stationary robots in particular quickly reach their limit. Dr. Bischoff: “Industrial production in the future will require new, modular, versatile and above all mobile production concepts.” For this reason, KUKA has equipped its LBR iiwa with an autonomous navigating platform and created the KMR iiwa (KMR = KUKA Mobile Robotics), a new intelligent and mobile helper that enables direct, autonomous and flexible collaboration between humans and robots. With its high-performance battery, autonomous navigation, ability to position exactly to the millimeter, and its modular design, the KMR iiwa is an in-dustrial production assistant for many logistics and production processes.

Interface for the future of robotics

Since each innovation always starts with a first small step, KUKA will bring the youBot to RoboCup on the Leipziger Messe exhibition grounds. The robot is an omni-directional mobile platform that features a five-axis robot arm with a two-finger grip. The device can be used to realize control systems and application ideas. Its biggest advantage: The youBot can be run with many open source software packages and other software (C++ API, ROS, Orocos, LabView and many more). “The KUKA youBot offers researchers, teachers and students, as well as research and development departments in industry a hardware basis for trying new things and for scaling the insights to other applications. In this way, the KUKA youBot can be used to research the important issues of the factory of the future on the way to Industry 4.0 on a smaller scale,” explains Dr. Bischoff.

Speaking of Industry 4.0: Visitors can experience the current state of research for the fac-tory of the future at the RoboCup competitions in the [email protected] league, in the ini-tiation of which KUKA played a key role. Differently from the soccer-playing and service robotics-oriented competitions, the participants in this competition focus on researching and developing the use of robots in industrial settings. In this context, robots are supposed to perform complex tasks in collaboration with humans, e.g. in production, automation or general logistics processes. Real-life industrial challenges are supposed to form the basis for robust mobile manipulation, which can be scaled and therefore can be used on a much larger scale.

To ensure even better comparability for competition participants, and in order to run the competitions in several rounds at different times and in different locations (similar to the Champions League in soccer), KUKA initiated the establishment of the European Robotics League with other science partners and with the help of subsidies from the European Commission. The RoboCup in Leipzig marks the official starting point for this European league which – using the three robotics areas industry, services and rescue, all of which have societal relevance – will give rise to ground-breaking developments, even better training for tomorrow’s engineers and computer scientists and higher acceptance in the population for supportive robot technologies. Dr. Bischoff: “Constant competition is a key prerequisite for innovation. RoboCup in Leipzig is the perfect interface between the current state of development and the pioneering solutions for the challenges of the future.”

About RoboCup

RoboCup is the leading and most diverse competition for intelligent robots, and one of the world’s most important technology events in research and training. The World Cup of robots combines a variety of interdisciplinary problems from robotics, artificial intelligence, informatics, as well as electrical and mechanical engineering, among others. As the central discipline, robots play soccer in different leagues. Additional visionary application disciplines such as intelligent robots as assistants for rescue missions, in households and in industrial production have been added during the last few years. The vision of the RoboCup Federation: That autonomous humanoid robots beat the reigning soccer world champion in 2050. The 20th RoboCup will be held in Leipzig from 30 June to 4 July 2016. More than 500 teams from 40 countries with 3,500 participants are expected to compete at this event. The 2016 world championships is supported by global RoboCup sponsors (SoftBank Robotics, Festo, Flower Robotics, MathWorks) as well as Siemens (Gold Sponsor), Amazon Robotics, Festo, KUKA (Silver Sponsors), Schenker, TUXEDO Computers (Hardware Partner), HARTING, Arbeitgeberverband Gesamtmetall / think ING, S&P Sahlmann (Bronze Sponsors), DHL (Logistics Partner) and arvato, Donaubauer, Flughafen Leipzig/Halle, Metropolregion Mitteldeutschland und Micro-Epsilon (Friends).

RoboCup Leipzig: Von kleinen Robotern für die großen lernen

Meistens kennt man Roboter als Maschinen, die vorher festgelegte Abläufe exakt ausführen. Ihr Vorteil gegenüber anderen Industriegeräten besteht darin, dass sie aufgrund ihrer hohen Flexibilität vielfältig einsetzbar sind. Um diese Flexibilität noch weiter zu steigern, setzt der Augsburger Automatisierungsspezialist KUKA auf den intensiven Austausch mit der weltweiten Robotik-Community. Über Wett-bewerbe wie den RoboCup werden Aufgabenstellungen aus der Fabrik der Zukunft in wissenschaftliche Herausforderungen für die Forscher überführt. So entstehen im Wettstreit der Teams innovative Lösungen, die zur Weiterentwicklung der Pro-duktion in Richtung Industrie 4.0 gebraucht werden. Auf der Leipziger Messe wer-den diese Ansätze im RoboCup vom 30. Juni bis zum 3. Juli live zu erleben sein.

Die dritte Hand des Menschen

Schon jetzt leisten immer intelligenter werdende Roboter einen wichtigen Beitrag in mo-dernen Fabriken. Der demografische Wandel und der stetig steigende Bedarf nach höhe-rer Produktivität und Qualität bei sinkenden Kosten lässt die Anforderungen an zukünftige roboterbasierte Automatisierung vor allem im Bereich der Montage steigen. Eine älter werdende Belegschaft soll vom Kollegen Roboter unterstützt werden, und so kommt es zunehmend auf eine sichere Co-Existenz von Werker und Roboter sowie das entspre-chende Feingefühl des robotischen Assistenten an.

Dass genau bei diesen Herausforderungen der Wissenstransfer von Forschung und Wettbewerben wie dem RoboCup bis hin zur tatsächlichen Produktion funktioniert, zeigt der Leichtbauroboter LBR iiwa (intelligent industrial work assistant) von KUKA. Der Robo-terarm ist aufgrund seiner Feinfühligkeit optimal für diese Aufgabenstellung geeignet und wird so zur dritten Hand des Menschen. Der Roboter kann mit zerbrechlichen und emp-findlichen Objekten umgehen, erkennt die Lage der zu verwendeten Bauteile und montiert diese mit dem dafür benötigten Kraftaufwand. Auf diese Weise wird Produktionsausschuss oder eine Kollision vermieden. „In der heutigen Produktionslandschaft sind aufgrund stetig zunehmender Produkt- und Variantenvielfalt größtmögliche Flexibilität und Wandlungsfähigkeit gefragt. Der LBR iiwa bringt diese Voraussetzungen mit und ermög-licht so Prozesse, die bisher in der Automatisierung nicht denkbar waren“, sagt Dr. Rainer Bischoff, Leiter der KUKA Konzernforschung und erläutert: „Seine Sensorik und Steue-rungstechnik machen ihn darüber hinaus so sicher, dass Mensch und Roboter miteinander arbeiten können, ohne von Schutzzäunen getrennt zu sein.“

Was flexibel sein soll, braucht Mobilität

Die hohen Anforderungen an die Nutzungsmöglichkeiten von Robotern zeigen sich auch vor allem im Bereich der Mobilität. Denn genau dabei geraten Roboter mit einem festen Standort schnell an ihre Grenzen. Dr. Bischoff: „Die industrielle Fertigung der Zukunft be-nötigt neue, modulare, vielseitige und allem voran mobile Fertigungskonzepte.“ KUKA hat aus diesem Grund seinen LBR iiwa mit einer autonom navigierenden Plattform vereint und so mit dem KMR iiwa (KMR steht dabei für KUKA Mobile Robotik) einen neuen, intel-ligenten und mobilen Helfer geschaffen, der die direkte, autonome und flexible Zusam-menarbeit von Mensch und Roboter ermöglicht. Mit seinen Hochleistungsakkus, einer autonomen Navigation, der millimetergenauen Positionierfähigkeit und dem modularen Aufbau ist der KMR iiwa ein industrieller Produktionshelfer für zahlreiche Logistik- und Fertigungsprozesse.

Schnittstelle für die Zukunft der Robotik

Da jede Entwicklung stets mit einem ersten, kleinen Schritt beginnt, bringt KUKA den y-ouBot mit zum RoboCup auf die Leipziger Messe. Der Roboter ist eine omnidirektionale, mobile Plattform, auf die ein fünfachsiger Roboterarm mit Zweifinger-Greifer montiert ist. Das Gerät ermöglicht es, eigene Steuerungen und Applikationsideen zu verwirklichen. Sein größter Vorteil: Der youBot lässt sich mit einer Vielzahl an Open-Source Softwarepa-keten sowie weiterer Software (C++ API, ROS, Orocos, LabView und viele mehr) ansteu-ern. „Der KUKA youBot bietet Forschern, Lehrenden und Studierenden sowie Forschungs- und Entwicklungsabteilungen der Industrie die Hardware-Basis, um Neues auszuprobieren und Erkenntnisse auf andere Anwendungen zu skalieren. Mit dem KUKA youBot kann so im kleinen Maßstab an wichtigen Themen der Fabrik der Zukunft auf dem Weg zu Industrie 4.0 geforscht werden“, erklärt Dr. Bischoff.

Apropos Industrie 4.0: Den aktuellen Stand der Forschung für die Fabrik der Zukunft kön-nen die Besucher bei den RoboCup-Wettbewerben in der maßgeblich von KUKA mit initi-ierten [email protected] live erleben. Anders als bei den fußballspielenden und ser-vicerobotik-orientierten Wettbewerben befassen sich die Teilnehmer dieses Wettbewerbs mit der Erforschung und Entwicklung des Einsatzes von Robotern im industriellen Kontext. Hierbei sollen Roboter komplexe Aufgaben in Zusammenarbeit mit Menschen erfüllen, beispielsweise bei der Fertigung, Automatisierung oder der allgemeinen Logistik. Reale industrielle Herausforderungen sollen die Grundlage bilden für eine robuste mobile Manipulation, die skalierbar, also in weitaus größerem Maßstab einsetzbar, sein soll.

Um in Zukunft eine noch bessere Vergleichbarkeit der Wettbewerbsteilnehmer zu errei-chen und die Wettbewerbe analog zur Champions League im Fußball in mehreren räum-lich und zeitlich getrennten Runden ablaufen lassen zu können, hat KUKA die Gründung der European Robotics League mit weiteren Partnern aus der Wissenschaft und mit Hilfe von Fördergeldern der Europäischen Kommission initiiert. Der RoboCup in Leipzig markiert den offiziellen Startpunkt für diese europäische Liga, die in den drei gesellschaftlich relevanten Robotik-Bereichen Industrie, Dienstleistung und Rettung für bahnbrechende Entwicklungen, eine noch bessere Ausbildung der Ingenieure und Informatiker von morgen und eine höhere Akzeptanz der Bevölkerung für die Unterstützung mit Robotertechnologie sorgen wird. Dr. Bischoff: „Steter Wettbewerb ist eine Grundvoraussetzung für Innovation. Der RoboCup in Leipzig ist die perfekte Schnittstelle zwischen dem gegenwärtigen Entwicklungsstand und wegweisenden Lösungen für die Herausforderungen der Zukunft.“

Über den RoboCup

Der RoboCup ist der führende und vielseitigste Wettbewerb für intelligente Roboter und eines der international bedeutendsten Technologieevents in Forschung und Ausbildung. Die Weltmeister-schaft der Roboter vereint interdisziplinäre Problemstellungen – unter anderem aus den Themen-bereichen Robotik, Künstliche Intelligenz, Informatik, Elektrotechnik sowie Maschinenbau. Als zent-rale Disziplin spielen Roboter in verschiedenen Ligen Fußball. In den letzten Jahren sind weitere visionäre Anwendungsdisziplinen wie intelligente Roboter als vielseitige Helfer bei Rettungseinsät-zen, im Haushalt und in der industriellen Produktion hinzugekommen. Die Vision der RoboCup Federation: 2050 sollen autonome humanoide Roboter den amtierenden Fußball-Weltmeister schlagen. Der 20. RoboCup wird von 30. Juni bis 4. Juli 2016 in Leipzig ausgetragen. Es werden mehr als 3.500 Teilnehmer in 500 Teams aus 40 Ländern erwartet. Neben den Globalen Sponsoren des RoboCup (SoftBank Robotics, Festo, Flower Robotics, MathWorks) wird die Weltmeister-schaft 2016 durch Siemens (Goldsponsor), Amazon Robotics, Festo, KUKA (Silbersponsoren), Schenker, TUXEDO Computers (Hardware Partner), HARTING, Arbeitgeberverband Gesamtmetall / think ING, S&P Sahlmann (Bronzesponsoren), DHL (Logistikpartner) sowie arvato, Donaubauer, Flughafen Leipzig/Halle, Metropolregion Mitteldeutschland und Micro-Epsilon (Freunde) unterstützt.

AUTOMATICA 2016: Robotics – Introducing a new robot generation

For the first time this year, all renowned robotics manufacturers with innovations across the board will be at AUTOMATICA in Munich from June 21 to 24. Gone are the days when progress was defined by improvements in details. This time solutions are signaling a new era of automation with new approaches that do justice to the demands of human-robot collaboration (MRC) and Industry 4.0.

The robotics business around the world is booming. The World Robot Association IFR reported a global sales record of eight percent in 2015 in the industrial robot sector. The number of industrial robots sold worldwide reached the mark of 240,000 units for the first time.

„The worldwide sales of industrial robots in 2015 confirmed that we are in very exciting times for the robot industry,“ Per Vegard Nerseth, Managing Director at ABB Robotics, stated. „With the start into 2016, the traditional drivers in our industry are being complemented by a huge demand for solutions in the Internet of Things (IoT) as well as the services & people areas. I believe that this development will result in a new record year.“

MRC: A new generation of robots is ready for the market
Collaborating robots are paving a revolutionary new way for SMEs to automate their production on an optimum technical level and consequently secure their competitive position while cutting costs. Manufacturers are taking different approaches in developing their collaborative robots. While one faction, including ABB, Kuka, Universal Robots, Yaskawa and Co. relies on special machines for MRC, Stäubli and Fanuc design their standard robots for MRC applications. A big advantage for AUTOMATICA visitors: All major robot manufacturers are represented at the trade fair, which enables a direct comparison of these solutions.

Per Vegard Nerseth, Managing Director of ABB Robotics, expects a new record year for robotics.

Photo: ABB


Industry 4.0 and MRC

Stäubli will highlight the performance of his new TX2 six-axle series in a variety of demonstration applications at its largest ever AUTOMATICA booth. In a realistic smart factory, different TX2 models in several linked cells put their Industry 4.0 compatibility as well as their collaborative skills to the test. The mobile, autonomous robot system HelMo will be employed for the first time, which makes mobile use possible for the TX2 six-axle robot.

AUTOMATICA is the most important trade fair event this year for Gerald Vogt, Managing Director of Stäubli Robotics.

Photo: Stäubli

You can also see the major trends in robotics of highly flexible and tightly networked I4.0 production concepts, intuitive operation of robots and MRC solutions at Kuka. In networked production installed at its booth, Kuka is linking its products designed for Industry 4.0, including the mobile KMR iiwa and the Swisslog shelving system Cyclone Carrier, a prime example of a modern production concept. Via the Swisslog software Warehouse Manager WM 6, all components of the smart factory are able to communicate with each other and provide information about the respective order status.

In addition to solutions for networked production, Kuka is exhibit-ing new six-axis robots, including the small robot KR 3 Agilus.

Photo: Kuka Roboter


Green „CR World“ on the „Yellow Highway“

With 24 system partners, Fanuc is exhibiting the full range of robotics on the „Yellow Highway”. New features include the collaborative robot CR 7iA and the heavyweight M-2000iA with a payload of 2,300 kg. Another highlight is the „Green CR World“, in which simple application examples as well as unusual use ideas for collaborative robots can be seen. There is also plenty of space for the ideas and solutions of system integrators on the 3,000 square meter booth. New integrators have joined the partners of the first AUTOMATICA fairs. „As a result, we expect a record number of participants this year,“ Olaf Kramm, Managing Director of Fanuc Germany, stated with obvious pleasure; he will be accompanied by his international team at AUTOMATICA.

The importance of AUTOMATICA as platform for the robot market and the outstanding success of FANUC Germany have aroused the curiosity of Dr. Yoshiharu Inaba. The President and CEO of FANUC Corporation wants to get a direct overview of the German and European markets, as well as meet customers and system integrators at the „Yellow Highway”. For this reason the top management of FANUC Corporation will visit the AUTOMATICA in Munich for the first time.

The basis of the new collaborative Fanuc CR 7iA is an LR Mate 200iD with 7 kg carrying load.

Photo: Fanuc

Yaskawa is also betting on the known fashionable topics, but it also has new robot on board. Bruno Schnekenburger, Division Director Robotics at Yaskawa Europe, stated: “We are going to introduce a newly developed model for MRC applications for the first time in Europe at AUTOMATICA with the Motoman HC10. The robot is extremely slim, so it can be integrated optimally into cramped spaces.“  The new GP series with the Motoman GP7 and GP8 also has a similar slim design. These robots will score with speed, ranges and interfaces for integration into automation environments on the Industry 4.0 level.

The collaborative robot Motoman HC10 from Yaskawa is celebrating its European premiere.

Photo: Yaskawa


AUTOMATICA shows the complete range of automation

In line with current requirements in the digital manufacturing era, Fraunhofer IPA is presenting different exhibits covering the fields of people at the workplace, products and automation as well as IT infrastructure and networking. Consequently, they demonstrate the added value of production in the sense of Industry 4.0.

In addition to the hot topics, AUTOMATICA is also showing the world of conventional robotics from vision sensors to spot welding guns and all the way to heavy-duty robots. „AUTOMATICA illuminates all facets of automation, and all major exhibitors of the industry are represented. Consequently, this fair is the most important event this year for many exhibitors. It will show the extent to which visions of future automation have become reality,“ Gerald Vogt, Managing Director of Stäubli Robotics, stated.

Industry 4.0 and MRK solutions will be the focus at the booth of the Fraunhofer IPA.

Photo: IPA

Old and new VEX IQ Chickens

Here are pictures and videos of the VEX IQ Chickens I built some time ago for VEX Worlds. You can see the progress from the first version to the latest version with colored parts.

These robot chickens can each be build out of one VEX IQ kit.
But if you add parts in other colors it looks more realistic.

It is moving using only one motor!
The program to make it move is really easy and a great start for robotic beginners.

2014-04-22 14.57.50 (Large)

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Low Cost Walking Robot Makes It Easy To Get Into Robotics

The mePed is a robot kit that was designed from the ground up to be an affordable, easy to build robot for beginners and experts alike.

Spierce Technologies announced today that it is raising funds via a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to finish development and drive down the cost of their flagship walking robot, the mePed. The company has set out to raise at least $5,000 to fund the first batch of mePed kits and give them enough orders to negotiate better pricing and make the kits more affordable for everyone.

The mePed is a four legged quadruped robot that comes in kit form which the user assembles using the included tools. Out of the box, it’s not much more than just a remote control toy but what make the mePed robot special is that it is completely open source and programmable. The source code used to make the mePed work is pre-programmed on the robots controller from the factory. This code can be modified by the user to make the robot do almost anything from navigating mazes, avoiding obstacles, dancing, waving, or even finding a fire and putting it out with the use of additional sensors.

Making low cost, high quality robot kits accessible to as many people as possible is the driving force behind the mePed Kickstarter campaign. When most walking robots cost upwards of $200 or more, with a successful Kickstarter campaign, Spierce Technologies can bring the mePed to market for less than $100.

The mePed kit includes everything needed to assemble a fully functioning, programmable robot. In addition to the robot body and servo motors, the kit include an Infrared Remote for giving the robot commands, an Ultrasonic Range Sensor for measuring the distance from objects in front of the robot, an Arduino compatible micro controller or the brains of the mePed, as well as the nuts, bolts, and wrenches needed to assemble the kit. The user only needs to supply 4 AA batteries.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1881661007/meped-the-mini- quadruped-mobile-robot

Photon – a Child Friendly Code Teaching Robot About to Join Kickstarter

BIALYSTOK, Poland, 10.05.2016 – Photon Entertainment announced a crowdfunding campaign for Photon – world’s first interactive robot that grows up with children while teaching them programming.
The campaign is launching on May 31st and will take place over the course of six weeks. Price ranges from $149 for a super early bird version to $199 for a regular one. Stretch goals include backer exclusive accessories for the robot (such as a jetpack or mouth allowing for speech visualization) as well as donations for various child related charities (cancer wards, orphanages and others).

Photon is a robot meant to educate children through a mixture of storytelling, challenges and latest technology. It comes equipped with a variety of sensors that allow it to see, hear, feel the touch, distinguish between light and dark, measure proximity and more. Programming language used by the robot is inspired by Scratch and Google Blockly, which makes it simple and digestible by even the youngest users.


The robot comes with a paired application adjusted for both smartphones and tablets. Here, children learn the story of Photon – a little robot whose flying saucer crashed on earth. By completing coding related tasks they help him gain his senses back, and rebuild his spaceship. App encourages friendly competition and cooperation thanks to the inclusion of high scores, leaderboards and daily tasks. Experience points gained by progressing allow kids to customize their robot and decide the order in which he develops, making each unit unique.
“In four years there will be a gap of over a million computing jobs and candidates available for grabbing” says Marcin Joka, the CEO of Photon Entertainment. “We want to take part in closing that gap and proving that with a proper set of tools even a six year old can successfully learn how to code, and have a huge advantage in his or her future career”. The idea for creating Photon comes from minds of Marcin Joka, Krzysztof Dziemańczuk, Michał Bogucki and Maciej Kopczyński, four students and one academic lecturer form Bialystok University of Technology, Poland. The creators have received numerous distinctions and honorable mentions for their work. One of team members took part in creating an award winning Mars Rover Hyperion 2.