Visionary Seminar Smart Robot Technology

Robots appeared for the first time in the industry around 1960 and their tasks were mainly repetitive manipulations. These programmable, arm-like machines were able to transfer objects or tools but they were deprived of any, even elementary, intelligence. The introduction and acceptance of sensors by the industry has been slow and the programmingmainly on line, but changes are underway. Moreover, a major shift is taking place in the deployment of robots, from the industry towards a service environment. This requires extensive, interdisciplinary research into increasing the robots' intelligence and their cognitive abilities, by adding sensors and artificial intelligence.

This seminar, organised by leuven.Inc, Imec and Innovatiecentrum Vlaams Brabant, will first of all present the newest research and development results in service robotics and illustrate them with practical examples. In the second part it will highlight the latest and future developments in industrial robotics, both from a research and from an industrial point of view.

Practical information
Tuesday June 10, 2008

IMEC Auditorium, Kapeldreef 75, B-3001 Leuven (Heverlee)

• 17h15: Registration participants
• 17h45: Welcome and introduction to Service Robotics - Prof. H.Van Brussel
• 18h15: Case study 1: Robot development strategy of Toyota - Toru Miyagawa and Marc Van Loock - Toyota
• 18h45: Sandwich break
• 19h15: 'Industrial robotics: how can academia and industry succeed together?' - Prof. Bruyninckx
• 19h45: Case study 2: State-of-the-art in human machine cooperation - Dr. Wim Persoons, Research & Development Manager - KUKA
• 20h15: Q & A
• 20h45: Drinks


Prof. Van Brussel
Robots are increasingly invading the daily life of people. They are making their appearance in many aspects of our life: health and elderly care, surgery, offices, homes, entertainment. The 'age quake' is a major driver in quite a few countries, particularly Japan, to spend considerable research effort on the development of 'assistive technologies'. These devices have to possess an 'intelligence' (autonomy, learning behaviour) of a much higher level than the intelligence required from industrial robots. If we can communicate with them in a natural way, it will be much easier to accept them in our daily life. This presentation will outline the state of the art and the evolution of service robotics and offer many examples, mainly taken from the research experience of the speaker.

Abstract Toru Miyagawa
With the aging of society, we believe there will be an increasing need to secure a stable labour force and alleviate workloads. As lifestyles change, people will desire relief from the pressure of household chores. We feel that enhanced mobility will also be in demand, using compact personal mobility systems that can move freely both indoors and outdoors, expanding the functions of present-day vehicles. To respond to these future demands, we started the development of Toyota Partner Robots (TPRs), designed to support human beings. The first part gives an overall explanation of the robot development strategy of Toyota. The second part gives an actual case using a real mobile robot.

Abstract Prof.Bruyninckx
The traditional industrial robot is undergoing a dramatic change, from a dangerous production tool behind fences towards a co-worker that will do its job in cooperation with humans, and in the human's normal working environment. This evolution opens up a lot of new exploitation opportunities in Europe, but also still needs a lot of new technologies to be integrated in industrial robot controllers. This presentation gives an overview of what is currently going on in the technology transfer and in common research projects between universities and robot manufacturers, and what is on the European research roadmap for the next two decades.

Abstract Wim Persoons
KUKA is a leading manufacturer of robots and robot systems. The presentation gives an overview of state-of-the-art in safe robots and human-machine cooperation. The main focus is put on the safety requirements in robot installations and modern approaches of using safe robots. One case study shows a robot installation which is working in automatic mode and human controlled mode. The presentation closes with an overview of developments into service robots.

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