Smart AGVs and mobile manipulators

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) are serving (intra-)logistics by autonomously transporting goods through factory environments. AGVs equipped with a manipulator, I.e. an industrial robot arm, are mobile manipulators which flexibly perform tasks at different locations within the factory. This supports the requirements of flexible production lines and constant utilization of the manipulators.

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Stefan
Inventory Assessment System

Temporarily storing goods is an unavoidable task in nearly every company, which deals with manufacturing, processing, trading or selling and the need to perform. Whereas huge corporations can invest into highly automated warehouses and support "just in time" and "just in sequence" production in order to minimize efforts, small and medium companies typically rely on pragmatic storing solutions still within non-digitalized (distributed) environments.

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Stefan
AI-Empowered Flexible Robot Handling

Smart adaptability of production systems is the key to cope with smaller lot-size and a broader range of products as well as mass customization. We enable adaptable automation systems with the objective to overcome statically programmed robotic applications in order to provide a maximum of flexibility. Our AI-based robotic skills could be implemented towards industrial and collaborative robots from arbitrary manufacturers supported through adequate sensor setups.

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Stefan
Efficient Pipeline for Image Classification

Camera-based recognition systems are widely-spread in manufacturing, logistics, robotics as well as retail and the public sector. Image recognition systems enable measurement of object flows, surveillance and monitoring, quality control and inspection and also automatic check-in/out systems. Machine Learning and its advancements are the current state of the art for image classification on the software side.

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Stefan
Augmented Reality & Spatial Interaction

In a previous era of robotics before Augmented Reality, there was only the reality of the factory & shop floor on the one hand and the Desktop-PC-based (offline) simulation, typically used in office environments, on the other hand. Augmented Reality (AR) is a game changer fusing both worlds, bringing spatial visualization and simulation to the shop floor. This technology matured during the last years with the inception of novel display technologies, tracking algorithms and software frameworks for mobile devices.

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Stefan
Virtual Reality & Immersive Interaction

Virtual Reality (VR) became quite popular in areas, where the goal is to gain experience remotely. More specifically and related to robotics, it is considered a great benefit to experience a digital factory design, a robot simulation and the tele-operation of robots. The first application of a tele-operated robot was demonstrated on the ISS about fifteen years ago. Modern tele-operation robots you can buy, enable you today to show your face on a screen and to help to attend a meeting as a mobile platform remotely. The challenge in both cases, on the ISS and on earth, is that direct real-time control of a robot requires a high-speed, low-latency connection, which is impractical.

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Stefan
Gesture-based Interaction

In addition to facial expressions and haptics, gestures are a type of intuitive nonverbal human communication and can be used in combination with or independent from other types and modalities of communication. Gestures are characterized as intended movements, usually using arms and hands, with a manipulative or communicative character.

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Stefan
Graphical User Interfaces & User-centric Interaction

Our thoughts on future user interfaces are mostly shaped by media and films. Whether you have Star Trek, Minority Report or another motion picture in mind, you can find media-shaped influences in the design of modern user interfaces. Even though interaction via speech and spatial manipulation is getting more and more popular, traditional Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) are still the way to go and will probably prevail for the time being. What looks good on the silver screen, like Tom Cruise elegantly skimming through crime-databases in a ballet-like fashion, will understandably never be feasible for anyone who ever tried to hold their arms up in front for more than mere minutes.

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Stefan
Spatio-Temporal Memory

The ability to process complex spatio-temporal information is a fundamental cognitive process underlying the behavior of all higher organisms. When we as humans review known photographs, we are able to recognize objects and people, but typically also remember when and where the photo has been taken. We are basically aware of our personal objects and where we typically store them in our environment. This is achieved thanks to the long-term memory. According to medical and psychological sciences, the spatio-temporal memory (STM) is an important part of the long-term memory involving information about time and space based on our perception.

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Stefan
SLAM

Imagine it's 1733, you get off the coach somewhere in Siberia. The reason for your stay is to create a map of the countryside no one has ever mapped yet. Robots usually face a very similar task when they wake up without any information about their surrounding but are required to automatically generate a map for later navigation. The actual question to be solved is: How to localize yourself without having a map and how to create a map without knowing your location? Thus, the goal is to perform Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM). The core idea of SLAM is to imitate the human way of sensing space e.g. while moving around a building and observing it.

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Stefan
Path Planning

Path planning facilitates global and local planning algorithms in order to find a feasible route to target coordinates, using both real-time sensory information and environment maps. It is the basic requirement for directed motion of a mobile robot to its target within the context of autonomous navigation. Global planning focuses primarily on devising a rough path towards a target, based on a map of the environment. Local planning takes dynamic obstacles and collision avoidance into account.

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Stefan
Advanced Control

Using sensors and actuators is the fundamental principle of robotics – and the processing between stimulus and response the intelligence that defines the robot. The general term Cybernetics describes the trans-disciplinary approach governing the control of machines, organisms and organizations. In robotics we basically distinguish between open-loop and closed-loop (feedback) control systems. Whereas open-loop control is not capturing its output, in closed-loop control the output is continuously fed back through sensor measurement.

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Stefan
Semantic Segmentation

Detecting obstacles is the first step in avoiding them. However, knowing the location and the rough size of an object is often not sufficient. Rather, we require an exact knowledge of its shape and boundaries. For example, if a robot described an archway with a bounding box, it would not be able to find the passable area. A segmentation would be able to distinguish between passable and impassable regions.

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Stefan
Object Detection

Imagine the following situation: you are standing in a room and want to find out what has happened: You spot some cups, dishes and a refrigerator. This makes you come to the conclusion that you are in the kitchen. A group of empty bottles and bags indicate that there has recently been a party. Just in that moment, a person comes in wearing a tie. Probably this is the kitchen of a working space, which has hosted this event.

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Stefan
Pose Estimation

The posture of people and objects reveal a lot of information about their internal state. Humans adopt postures and gestures to non-verbally convey information or intent. Ergonomics teaches us that our posture can indicate possible health issues. Capturing one's pose or posture is a step towards automated understanding of the environment.

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Stefan