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German-Czech Innovation Laboratory For Human-robot Collaboration Started

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German-Czech Innovation Laboratory For Human-robot Collaboration Started
German-Czech Innovation Laboratory For Human-robot Collaboration Started

Video: German-Czech Innovation Laboratory For Human-robot Collaboration Started

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Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the Czech Republic on August 25, 2016 and met for talks with Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and the President of the Czech Republic Miloš Zeman. Prof. Wolfgang Wahlster, CEO of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence GmbH (DFKI) and one of the fathers of Industry 4.0, presented the Chancellor and her hosts in Prague with the cooperation project: "The term 'robot' comes from the Czech and German terms I coined 'Industry 4.0' in 2011 together with my colleagues Kagermann and Lukas. With the human-robot collaboration innovation laboratory, we want to bring both concepts together and show SMEs in both countries how methods of human-technology interaction enable sensible collaboration.”

The aim of the launched MRK 4.0 laboratory is to test and implement human-robot collaborations for Industry 4.0. MRK 4.0 wants to implement "a combination of human characteristics such as creativity and empathy with the precision, power and repeatability of machines", as stated in the specialist book "Innovation potential of human-machine interaction". "Learning machines adapt to people and their individual skills and needs."

Czech Industry 4.0 initiative wants to promote stronger cooperation

The previous day, the Czech government, initiated by the Czech Minister of Economy and Trade Jan Mládek, launched a national Industry 4.0 program - Czech Průmysl 4.0. The Průmysl 4.0 program aims to maintain and further increase the long-term industrial competitiveness of the Czech Republic. The concept of the Czech Industry 4.0 initiative and the opportunities for cooperation were discussed at a workshop organized by the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics, and Cybernetics (CIIRC) in 2014. The DFKI and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) were also involved. A follow-up workshop is scheduled for December 2016 at the BMBF in Berlin.CIIRC and DFKI are already successfully cooperating in the field of human-robot collaboration in the EU project TRADR (Long-Term Human-Robot Teaming for Robot Assisted Disaster Response). The DFKI spinoff duck tea is also based in Prague and offers intelligent software solutions for industrial applications.

Neighborly cooperation is also historically obvious. Germany and the Czech Republic are industrialized countries with a strong production core. In 1920, the Czech Josef Čapek created the term robot - from Czech “robota”, which means “front-line service” in German. In 2011, the Federal Government's high-tech strategy developed the concept for "Industry 4.0" - together, these two terms should stand for key aspects of the fourth industrial revolution. The implementation of Industry 4.0 - and in particular the focus on medium-sized companies - is forward-looking in both countries: production should be more flexible, products more individualized, production more time-critical and therefore more local. This can result in enormous potential for SMEs and the chancethat production facilities from low-wage countries will be relocated again because the customer expects a quick delivery for products that he has configured himself - which excludes long delivery routes.

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The concept of the innovation laboratory human-robot collaboration provides that German and Czech scientists work together on solutions for human-machine interaction. This innovation laboratory is not concerned with the development of new robots, but only with the interaction in human-robot teams. The lightweight robots used are supplied by different manufacturers and have different capabilities. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research is funding the initial equipment of the innovation laboratory in Saarbrücken with 1 million euros.

The main topics of the cooperation agreement between DFKI and CIIRC are:

  • Intelligent human-machine collaboration in cyber-physical production environments
  • Semantic technologies for service orchestration and process optimization in smart factories
  • Multimodal, proactive and situation-conscious production assistance using VR, AR and mixed reality technologies
  • Real-time production planning for Industry 4.0

The connection of technology drivers such as multimodal sensors, wearables, augmented reality - but also virtual and mixed reality as well as multimodal interaction - with robotic systems plays an outstanding role.

In order to realize the flexible manufacturing of individualized products that is characteristic of Industry 4.0, the innovation laboratory will set up a heterogeneous environment in which human-robot collaboration can be implemented and tested in different scenarios. Ability modeling is used to identify the robotic systems to be used that match the production tasks and the skills of the employees.

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