Collaborative robots, or cobots, are one of the fastest growing segments in the robotics market due to their ability to integrate into various procedures without eliminating human assistance. Franka Emika, a Munich-based robotics company, recently revealed their newest robotic arm that drastically increases safety for human-robot interaction. The arm includes a force-sensing control scheme; a complex safety feature traditionally only offered in expensive industrial robots. This force-sensing feature creates a user-friendly robot that operates alongside humans to assist them in tasks without any risk of injury.
Specifications of the Franka Emika robotic arm include 7 axes of motion, an 80 centimeter of reach, a 3 kilogram payload, and 0.1 millimeter accuracy rate. For the utmost in safety, Franka Emika uses torque-controlled technology to measure the force on each of the seven joints as it operates. This allows the arm to self-detect even the slightest of collisions, preventing any human injury.
Currently, the robotic arm is able to perform tasks such as drilling, buffing, sewing, assembling, and inspecting, with direct physical contact in a controlled manor. With backing from robot manufacturers, including KUKA, Franka Emika is bringing this technology to the public at an affordable price, for at-home or business use. Furthermore, the company has begun programming the robot to completely clone itself, creating duplicate systems without any assistance.
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Source: IEEE Spectrum