KUKA small robot introduces students to the latest technology

A KUKA robot is available to students at the Westphalian University of Applied Sciences for teaching events. The robot is able to fend off the balls autonomously. KUKA supports the project in the context of KUKA Education.

April 20, 2017

KUKA robot provides practical knowledge

“The goal of the robot application is to bring students closer to the latest technology,” says Prof. Dr.-Ing. Markus Rüter from the department of Control and Regulating Technology at the Westphalian University of Applied Sciences in Gelsenkirchen. The KUKA KR 6 R700 robot used here fends off balls thrown at it from a distance of about five meters using a bar on the robot arm. The robot used, the robot controller and the corresponding software were made available by KUKA as part of KUKA Education – an offering for schools and universities.
KUKA robots brings students at the Westphalian University of Applied Sciences in Gelsenkirchen closer to the latest technology.

Exact height calculation using light barriers

In the application, two light barriers configured one behind the other capture the velocity and the height of the thrown tennis ball. Using these two values, the throwing velocity, the flight trajectory and contact height are calculated. The information is then transmitted as an “analog value”. In addition, a current of between 0 and 10 volts passes from the light barriers to the robot. Each current is assigned to a specific contact height. The robot thus knows which height to move to.
1.Wehrt geworfen Bälle ab: KUKA Roboter an der WH Gelsenkirchen.
Fends off balls thrown at it: a KUKA robot at the Westphalian University of Applied Sciences in Gelsenkirchen

KUKA small robot is pushed to the limits.


“The robot is tested to the maximum extent. After all, it must process the incoming signal within milliseconds and move to the corresponding height,” explains Prof. Rüter, who already has plans to expand the application. So far, the robot only fends off balls in a spatial dimension. “In the next step, the robot will not only be able to adjust its height, but to move to the side as well,” promises Rüter. When that happens, the robot may be a better backstop than many soccer goalies.

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