Meet your new helper: igus unveils prototype of a humanoid low-cost robot

Meet your new helper: igus unveils prototype of a humanoid low-cost robot article image

Robots have become an integral part of our everyday lives.

Since the transition to Industry 4.0, more and more tasks have been automated – and new forms of robotics are benefiting.

But robots can also make things easier in our daily routines. A humanoid that is both functional and friendly and has human features can support humans not as a machine, but as a partner. There has been steady progress in humanoid robotics research and development.

Humanoid robots are no longer science fiction, they are reality. igus has been researching humanoid robotics for some time and has now presented a prototype of the motion plastics bot – a humanoid robot that combines the advantages of high-performance plastics and Low Cost Automation.

The robotics components are available now in Australia from Treotham Automation.

“With the igus ReBeL and our drytech range, working components were already available to enable a robot to move,” says Alexander Mühlens, Head of the Automation Technology and Robotics Business Unit at igus.

“The humanoid robot is a project we worked on with the robotics experts from TruPhysics, a Stuttgart-based start-up, who assembled the intelligent humanoid from our motion plastics and other components,” he says. “It is available there under the name Robert M3.

“We hope the bot will demonstrate the interplay between integrated intelligence and our products made of high-performance plastics – at an affordable price.”

Lightweight, maintenance-free low-cost humanoid

For a long, trouble-free service life without maintenance, the igus tribo-polymers in the motion plastics bot offer a clear advantage: no lubricants needed.

At the same time, high-performance plastics allow a lightweight design. They reduce the motion plastics bot’s weight to just 78kg at heights of up to 2.7m and a span of 1.5m.

The motion plastics bot features a self-propelled AGV (automated guided vehicle), a telescopic body and a head with an integrated screen and avatar for interactive communication.

Another central component is the igus ReBeL, a service robot with cobot capabilities that is used as the bot’s arms.

The fully integrated tribo strain wave gear with motor, absolute-value encoder, force control system and controller constitute the core of the ReBeL. The motion plastics bot moves at a walking pace and has a load capacity of 2kg per arm. It is controlled as an open-source solution via the Robot Operating System (ROS). This is because the entire igus Low Cost Automation product range can be mapped in the ROS.

By studying the motion plastics bot, igus is combining the advantages of their high-performance plastics for movement and their Low Cost Automation expertise to further advance the development of the next generation of robots.

Not just a machine, but a lifelong companion

“We see a lot of potential in humanoid robots,” says Mühlens.

“But our world is built by people for people. So instead of just using individual automation parts, it makes sense to study humanoids and androids.

“The question is when the market will be ready.”

Mühlens says human-like robots can perform dangerous as well as simple and monotonous tasks.

“In a professional environment, work can go beyond the mere pick & place performed by robot arms.

In the household sector, a bot can replace several robots: it could vacuum autonomously, mow the lawn, go shopping, cook, do laundry and perform all sorts of other tasks – even caring for the sick.

“It would be not just a machine, but a companion that could provide people relief for a long time.”

For more information about the igus humanoid robot contact:

Treotham Automation Pty Ltd

1300 65 75 64



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