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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Mobile robot arm from KUKA

After desktop computing and desktop 3D printing now it´s time to think desktop manipulation and tele-manufacturing. In a near future thousands of students and entrepreneurs will get access to new design and production tools to learn, experiment and realize their product and service dreams. A new era of small scale production and tele-operated manufacturing may be at the horizon, a renaissance for local production and new craftsmen and women?

German industrial robotics manufacturer KUKA Robotics has developed a mobile manipulator for education and research that could become instrumental for promoting and accelerating research in mobile manipulation. The robot is called „youBot“ and has the weight and size to fit on a regular desktop although this is not intended to be the primary work space.

In a student project of the Bavarian elite graduate program Software Engineering at the University of Augsburg an early prototype of the KUKA youBot was connected to the Nintendo Wii controller. Motions of the controller are translated into motions of the youBot arm which holds a wooden marble labyrinth game. Different game modes are possible, where two players can play cooperatively or against each other. 

The omni-directional mobile platform with a 5 DOF manipulator mobile robot is prized € 19.990 excl. VAT and shipment. First KUKA youBots will ship in December 2010. Universities and research facilities are eligible for a 20% academic discount on KUKA youBot hardware. Early bird discount of 25% on KUKA youBot hardware is available until 15. September 2010. 

Locomotec, the official KUKA youBot distributor, has registered the robot in the ECHORD hardware list. Based on the listed robotics hardware European universities and research labs can propose so-called experiments. Experiments are small-scale focused research projects with a strong focus on industrial relevance.

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