Enabling robots for interaction with humans and unknown environments has been one of the primary goals of robotics research over decades. I will outline how human-centered robot design, nonlinear soft-robotics control inspired by human neuromechanics and physics grounded learning algorithms will let robots become a commodity in our near-future society. In particular, compliant and energy-controlled ultra-lightweight systems capable of complex collision handling enable high-performance human assistance over a wide variety of application domains. Together with novel methods for dynamics and skill learning, flexible and easy-to-use robotic power tools and systems can be designed. Recently, our work has led to the first next generation robot Franka Emika that has recently become commercially available. The system is able to safely interact with humans, execute and even learn sensitive manipulation skills, is affordable and designed as a distributed interconnected system.
Biography: Sami Haddadin is Full Professor and Director of the Institute of Automatic Control at Leibniz University Hannover, Germany. He received degrees in EE, CS and Technology Management from TUM and LMU. He obtained his PhD from RWTH Aachen. He organized/edited several international robotics conferences and journals and published more than 120 scientific articles. His research topics include physical Human-Robot Interaction, nonlinear robot control, real-time motion planning, real-time task and reflex planning, robot learning, optimal control, human motor control, variable impedance actuation, and safety in robotics. He received numerous awards at the top international robotics conferences and journals. Among other things, he is a recipient of the 2015 IEEE/RAS Early Career Award, the 2015 RSS Early Career Spotlight, the 2015 Alfried Krupp Award and was selected in 2015 and 2016 as 2015 Capital Young Elite Leader under 40 in Germany for the domain ``Politics, State \& Society''.