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Upgrading the “Franka Emika Panda” robots to support teaching and research activities

„Die Lernfabrik“ (the Learning Factory) at TU Braunschweig, especially the flexible and modular production system xCell, is currently being reconfigured and upgraded to improve the teaching and simulation environment. The “Franka Emika Panda” cobots will eventually be used for the intralogistic transport of goods from one production station to another and may support with handling while conducting the process step.

These intralogistic tasks of the robots will be part of the teaching environment. For this reason, we connected the motion planning software MoveIt with the robots. The kernel had to be patched to enable real time communication. The new setup allows a direct control from MoveIt via ROS to plan and exectute the movement of the robot. This setup is the first step to control the robots utilizing AR/VR input.

The second step ist the interconnection with Unity. Therefore, we are connecting the robots to unity using the rosbridge server. Live feedback from the real world is already availabe. The setup within Unity will be completed soon and the robots can then be used for different kinds of teaching and research activities. Eventually, this setup will be included in the virtual learning factory environment showing real time status of the whole process chain of the xCell.



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