Manipulation LAB at FZI

In the Manipulation laboratory at FZI, research and development is being carried out on two ROBDEKON demonstrators. The demonstrator "Retrieval of Hazardous Materials" can navigate teleoperated or autonomously through unknown terrain, picking up localized objects through shared autonomy strategies. At the demonstrator "Sorting from Conveyor", different objects, e.g. batteries, are classified autonomously and subsequently sorted by a manipulator. In addition, the FZI "Living Lab Service Robotics" has a large equipment with different robotic arms, numerous grippers and human-like hands as well as mobile autonomous robotic systems. The Lab offers many opportunities for hardware-related developments, feasibility studies and real experiments.

Control station, communication unit and Husky in the field at FZI to recover hazardous materials. © FZI
View of the laboratory area for the "Sorting from Conveyor" demonstrator © FZI

An all-terrain Clearpath Husky with an UR5 robotic arm serves as the mobile platform. The manipulator is additionally equipped with a force-torque sensor, an RGBD camera and a 3-finger hand for robust gripping of unknown objects. For teleoperation and autonomous navigation, a 32-line LiDaR, a 360° camera for all-round vision and a D-GPS module are installed. Communication with the control station is ensured via a high-performance and long-range WLAN connection. The control station is equipped with six monitors and two computer systems for visualization of sensor data, localization of objects and a UI for command and control. The demonstrator "Sorting from Conveyor" is equipped with a 2.5 x 0.3 m conveyor belt. Objects are classified and localized using a single-line LiDaR as well as a global shutter camera. The manipulation and sorting of the objects is performed by an industrial robot arm with a pneumatically controlled magnetic gripper or a suction gripper.

Description of the components of the all-terrain mobile manipulator for the retrieval of unknown hazardous materials. © FZI
Sorting colorful wooden blocks at an early stage of the demonstrator at Robdekons opening ceremony. © FZI
Rendering of the demonstrator "Sorting from Conveyor" with two sensor bridges and two manipulators for sorting diverse objects © FZI
Segmentation and classification of the wooden blocks using CNN incl. the classification probability © FZI
Shared autonomy gripping strategy: The operator receives the RGB point cloud of the hand-held camera at the control station. This can be used to intuitively select the gripping pose and the gripping parameters. A force-based gripping algorithm performs the gripping autonomously and corrects the gripping pose if it was not specified correctly manually. © FZI
Sorting batteries with a suction gripper © FZI