Now, control robotic arm with hand-held input device

The input device contains various movement sensors, also called inertial sensors.

Updated: May 14, 2011, 16:37 PM IST

Washington: Catching a ball with hands might not be a problem for most people but getting a robotic arm to hold the ball using a catcher attachment might be.

Researchers are all set to present an industrial robotic arm in a trade show, which has six joints with a catcher at the end.

People can control the arm using a hand-held input device: When they move the hand holding the device, the robot emulates their movement.

"The input device contains various movement sensors, also called inertial sensors," said Bernhard Kleiner of the Fraunhofer Institute for

Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Stuttgart, who led the project.

"We have developed special algorithms that fuse the data of individual sensors and identify a pattern of movement. That means we can detect movements in free space," added Kleiner.

This system could be used to simplify the programming of industrial robots. To date, this has been done with the aid of laser tracking systems but with the new input device employees need only pick up the device and show the robot what it is supposed to do.

The system has numerous applications in medicine as well.

The presentation will be made in Sensor+Test trade fair in Nuremberg.