Roboy, who was showcased at formnext powered by TCT last year, has received support from EOS.
Roboy is a 3D-printed humanoid robot, designed to mimic the human musculoskeletal system and replicate life-like human movement. The main aim of Roboy is to advance humanoid robotics to the capability of human bodies, until its performance is comparable to the dexterity, robustness and flexibility of people.
Roboy Junior, the first prototype, has muscles and tendons rather than motors in the joints. Developed by the Technical University of Munch, the complete skeletal body structure has been built with EOS systems for plastic additive manufacturing. This brings several key advantages, among them the possibility of building complex functional geometries as well as sustaining a fast and iterative hardware development.
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Lukas Grillmayer, an Informatics Masters Student from the Technical University of Munich, discusses Roboy with TCT editor, Dan O'Connor live from the formnext powered by TCT showfloor
Additive manufacturing has allowed for highly complex, lightweight structures and provides a high degree of design freedom, optimisation and integration of functional features. Building complex functional geometries without classical fabrication constraints allows the Roboy team to implement functionality directly into the geometrical parts. Consequently, build complexity is reduced, and many of the otherwise necessary assembly steps can be dispensed of. For example, Roboy’s hands and forearms are manufactured in one piece, including several joints and individual phalanxes for each finger.
Validating some project requirements in simulation is impossible, due to Roboy’s maximal mechatronic complexity on a minimal space. Additive manufacturing allows the development team to test the Roboy itself, ensuring the fast manufacturing of individual components and the modularisation and parameterisation of the robot’s construction, enabling an iterative hardware development.
“In software development, rapid development cycles allow software improvement by testing it ‘in the wild’. Additive manufacturing allows us to apply this approach to robotics, enabling a rapid development to find optimal functional parts in a fraction of the time,” said Rafael Hostettler, Roboy project leader. “EOS’ AM technology is a key component for doing this as it enables the iterative hardware development that is crucial for our project.”
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Roboy's complete skeletal body structure has been built with EOS systems for plastic additive manufacturing.
Such are the increasing advances in Artificial Intelligence and robotics, innovations like Roboy will begin to become more commonplace in society and at work, to the point that more dangerous and repetitive tasks will be carried out by robots. With this in mind, building robots with similar morphology to the human body yields critical advantages over classical robotic approaches. For one, the human musculoskeletal system is a proven solution that leads to dexterous, dynamic and robust robots. While, a more human-like robot eases interaction between human and machine, making it seem more intuitive and natural.
Through the years, humans have adapted the environment to fit their needs. Humanoid robots can therefore fit into this environment more easily. Furthermore, building robots that are compatible with the human anatomy can help to augment and repair human mobility, with the use of exoskeletons and prosthetics, for example.
“While a large number of companies focussed on AI development, only a very small number of projects worldwide develop humanoid robotics,” said Dr Adrian Keppler, Chief Marketing Officer at EOS. “Therefore, we are all the more proud to support the renowned Roboy project and see its meaning. As the strengths of additive manufacturing lie in those areas where conventional manufacturing reaches its limitations, EOS’ technology is the ideal solution for a research project as ambitious as Roboy. We are happy that the Roboy team is trusting in EOS to realise their vision.”
Roboy was showcased by the Technical University of Munich at the 2016 formnext powered by TCT show in Frankfurt.
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