Archive for the ‘Podcast’ Category

July 15th, 2011

Robots: Demining and Defusing

In this episode we speak with Frédéric Guerne, director of Digger DTR, and with Paul Bosscher, chief robotics engineer at Harris Corp., about robots which assist us in demining land-mine fields and defusing IEDs.

Frederic Guerne

Frederic Guerne is passionate about building machines. An engineer by training, he spent several years building motors for Sonceboz SA. In 1994, he became ardently aware of land-mine problems. Convinced to help eradicate land-mines, he joined Prof. Nicoud at the EPFL, who was at the time working on state-of-the-art demining technologies. For two years, they worked on the detection of mines, until one day Frederic Guerne was contacted by the founder of the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action. This meeting led to the creation of Digger, which is now a major, non-profit demining company based in Switzerland. In our interview, we will talk about the process of demining, Digger’s D-2 and D-3 demining robots, and also about the challenges of running a non-profit based humanitarian company.

Paul Bosscher

Paul Bosscher is a chief robotics engineer at the Government Communication System Division at Harris Corp. in the USA. Dr. Bosscher received the B.S. degree in mechanical and electrical engineering from Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI, in 2001, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), Atlanta, in 2003 and 2004, respectively.
Before joining Harris Corp., Dr. Bosscher was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ohio University, Athens.
In our interview, we talk about the unmanned ground vehicle he is currently developing together with his team at Harris Corp., with the goal of providing the intuitive dexterous manipulation capabilities necessary to surgically defeat IEDs remotely.

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June 17th, 2011

Robots: Schunk Manipulators

In this episode we speak with Henrik Schunk, Managing Partner of SCHUNK GmbH & Co. KG and Chairman of EUnited Robotics.

Henrik Schunk

Henrik Schunk is managing partner of SCHUNK GmbH & Co. KG, family run business out of Germany with over 1800 employees and presence in 50 countries. As such, he is responsible for the Business Unit Automation and the cross-divisional departments Sales, Marketing, Continuous Improvement and IT. SCHUNK is one of the leaders in clamping and gripping technology featuring more than 10’000 specialized products.

In this episode, we look at recent developments in gripping technology, challenges that still remain after over 70 years of development, and the need for task-adapted systems and high-end products including anthropomorphic robotic hands.

Henrik Schunk also discusses his hopes for service robotics as one of the main areas of development in automation. To drive the field forward, his company organizes the SCHUNK Expert Days that bring together some of the main actors in service robotics. He also presents his view on European Robotics as Chairman of EUnited Robotics.

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May 6th, 2011

Robots: European Robotics (Part 2)

The European Robotics Forum, jointly organized by the European Robotics Technology Platform (EUROP) and the European Robotics Research Network (EURON), was hosted this year on April 6-8, in Västerås, Sweden by Robotdalen. Thanks to an invitation by EUnited Robotics, we got a chance to be there and talk to some of Europe’s major players in the field, from both industry and research.

Today’s episode is the second of a two part series on the event, in which we talk to Bernd Liepert CTO of KUKA AG and president of EUROP and Rich Walker from Shadow Robot.

Bernd Liepert

Bernd Liepert is the Chief Technical Officer of KUKA AG, a german company founded over 100 years ago. It is now one of the world’s leading suppliers in the field of robot technology as well as in plant and systems engineering. Most well known for its industrial robots initially used in the automotive industry, KUKA is now exploring next generation industrial and service robots. The company has 5,700 employees and generates a business volume of around EUR 900 million.

Liepert joined KUKA Roboter in 1990 as a Mathematician and Software Developer. In 1996 he became the Head of Control Development and in 1998 he was a member of the Board of Management responsible for Development and Design. In 2000, Bernd Liepert served as the CEO of KUKA Roboter and recently in 2010 he joined KUKA AG as its Chief Technical Officer.

Liepert is also the and the President of the European Robotics Technology Platform (EUROP) as of May 2010. EUROP is an industry-driven framework that aims at strengthening Europe’s competitiveness in robotic R&D, as well as global markets, and to improve quality of life.

Rich Walker

Rich Walker is the managing director of Shadow Robot, a UK based company. He tells us about the beautiful history of Shadow Robot, starting from bipedal robots 20 years ago, to carving robot hand prototypes out of maple wood and finally developing dexterous human-like manipulation. Shadow robot now has one of the worlds most advanced robot hands, the Shadow Dexterous Hand, currently in version C6. It provides 24 movements that allow for a direct mapping from a human to the robot, has integrated sensing and position control and can be fitted with touch sensing on the fingertips. To make their hands compliant and user-friendly, Shadow has been investigating new actuation such as pneumatical artificial muscles and artificial tendons driven by a single motor. Mostly research oriented, the robot has been used to study cognitive science, brain computer interfaces, and prosthesis. Some of its famous clients include NASA and BBC.



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