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Robot colleague recognizes touch

robot at work © J. Zinner, Vienna University of Technology

The spin-off of the Vienna University of Technology, “Blue Danube Robotics”, has development a sensor system called “AIRSKIN" enabling industrial robots to react to touch. This serves as the basis for a new type of working environment, enabling people and robots to safely work together simultaneously. For example, if a heavy battery has to be lifted into a hybrid vehicle, a robot can take care of the lifting, and a person can connect the battery.   

AIRSKIN is an air-filled, soft plastic skin covering the industrial robot. Intelligent air pressure sensors are inside the AIRSKIN. “When the robot’s arm covered in AIRSKIN confronts an obstacle, the AIRSKIN is pressed together, the air pressure inside rises and the air pressure sensor immediately sends a corresponding signal to the robot control”, explains Walter Wohlkinger, CEO of Blue Danube Robotics. In this way, the movement can be stopped before danger arises.

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