Robotics & Automation

A number of robotic projects have been carried out by the MRU, many concerned with robotic prehension. These include the development of the worlds first electroadhesive microgripper. More recently, grippers using magnetoactive elastomers combined with other smart materials are being researched. With regard to robotic instrumentation, techniques developed to prevent object slippage through the detection of pre-slip have been very successful.

A DFG sponsored research project (REPOROBO) into robots in surgery resulted in an impactive gripper with absolutely zero degrees of post prehension freedom. This was coupled with force/torque and tilt sensors to allow the robot to follow potential patient movements and limit applied forces.

Mobile robots have long been a part of the MRU portfolio with the development of the holonomic Trilopede. A robotic system for the cleaning and inspection of photovoltaic cells in free land solar parks was built as part of a large EU Framework-7 research project PV-Servitor.

The most recent invention from the MRU is 6D printing. The necessity to print multi phase smart materials led to the need to apply a graded diffusion of particulate content withing a 3D polymer matrix. Taking traditional 3D printing as the basis, the printing procedure is augmented with precisely controlled particle infusion resulting in structures with 3 physical dimensions and 3 degrees of anisotropy.

6D printing has made possible the fabrication of the first magnet which adheres to everything (not just ferrous materials). The magnetoactive electret is a fusion of magneto- and electro-adhesion forces in one element.