Uc3m RoboticsLab and their Robotics Projects
They are pioneers in developing robotics projects in collaboration with the European Union since the 90’s. During all these years, the RoboticsLab at Carlos III University has managed to make a name for themselves, becoming one of the most important research and development centres for the robotics field in Spain and Europe.
As an internationally recognized center in the robotics field thanks to their robotics projects, they have been selected to organize the most important robotics event in the world, the IROS, which will take place in October 2018 in Madrid, Spain.
We have spoken with the Systems Engineering and Automation professor Carlos Balaguer, who told us they are now working on many different nature projects. These projects are oriented especially to the construction, services and healthcare sectors and include the development and implementation of their ideas. He showed us three very interesting examples:
BADGER: Robot for autonomous underground trench-less operations, mapping, and navigation
Project BADGER objective, scheduled to be completed by 2019, is designing and developing an autonomous underground robotic system equipped with tools for constructing stable bores and pipelines that can drill, man-oeuvre, localize, map and navigate in the underground space. The BADGER project, which is lead by RoboticsLab together with partners from different universities and companies, was one of the few funded projects in the last LEIT ICT 25 2016 Call, where only 7,4% of the projects raised funds.
The proposed system will integrate different mechatronic concepts together with robust drilling tools to yield advanced motion capability; will include perception, localization and mapping techniques to be able to interpret the surrounding environment. It will also merge the mentioned underground data with digital maps to track the motion of the robot with respect to physical landmarks.
After this project, the proposed system will work on different domains of high societal and economic impacts. Its main application is for trench-less construction of subterranean small-diameter and highly curved tunnels for water & amp; gas pipes and telecoms cables
Robo-Spect: Robotic system with intelligent vision and control for tunnel structural inspection and evaluation
The Robo-Spect project, which was successfully finished last year, consists on a robot for tunnel inspection processes, up until now performed manually by qualified operators. With Robo-Spect, many uncomfortable or even dangerous activities such as working among dust and absolutely no light environments or exposition to toxic substances are done by robots that can give an objective and quality inspections by collecting different types of data.
The developed robot, integrates different robot control, machine learning, sensing and computer vision technologies resulting in a robotic system that automatically scans the intrados for potential defect and detects and measures radial deformation in the cross-section, distance between parallel cracks and open joints (everything with millimetric accuracy) that can affect the tunnel stability and could result in a tunnel collapse.
In sum, Robot-Spec allows an automatic, reliable, and quick assessment of the structural condition and safety of a tunnel.
RoboHealth-A: Development of assistive and rehabilitation robots for the improvement of the patients’ well-being
The RoboHealth-A project, which is intended to be finished this year, has targeted people with limited mobility, reduced cognitive abilities, and people with chronic diseases (all together amount to approximately 10% of the EU population). For them, the project is developing a different kind of assistive and rehabilitation robots in order to improve their way of living. The project is now following four paths:
- Full-size humanoid assistive robot to augment the abilities of the patients in their Daily Life Activities (DLA)
- Upper-body exoskeletons for rehabilitation, focusing on low-cost solutions with novel interfaces
- New actuators and nano-materials with flexible sensors to make robots safer, more robust and lighter
- New intelligent environments for patients that live with robots in hospital
In order to deal with this complex task, an interdisciplinary consortium has been created, in which another UC3M robotics group, a group on intelligent environments from UPM and the Hospital of Alcorcon (Madrid) are working together with RoboticsLab.
Here we have seen some of the latest and most advanced projects that RoboticsLab is working on. Do you know about another Lab doing a similar job? Would you like to work at this Lab? Take a look at the ennomotive section devoted to all things robotics and automation.