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EU Robotics Project Gives Maintenance Workers a 'Second Pair of Hands'

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The ARMAR-6 robot helper.

A new robotic helper was the result of a five-year EU progream to develop a humanoid assistance as a "second pair of hands" for industrial workers.

Credit: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

A five-year EU effort to develop a proactive humanoid assistant as a "second pair of hands" for industrial workers has concluded with the development of a new robotic helper.

The SecondHands project was created to develop a “proactive” robotic assistant that could help technicians lift/carry objects, and generally act as an apprentice-like helper.

The project's final product was the ARMAR-6 robot, which has been tested for several years at U.K. grocery company Ocado's automated customer fulfillment centers for conveyor belt system maintenance as a technician's assistant.

The robot, equipped with sensors and cameras, a telescopic torso, and rotatable arms, hands, and fingers that can grasp, interacts with its environment using visual data, localizing humans and estimating their posture from real-time images alone.

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