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Robotnik Enters Mobile Manipulator Market With RB-1

Now is an excellent time to be in the market for a mobile manipulator

2 min read
Robotnik Enters Mobile Manipulator Market With RB-1
A computer-generated image of the RB-1.
Image: Robotnik

It’s a good time to be in the market for a mobile manipulator. After recent announcements by both PAL Robotics and Fetch Robotics, Spanish company Robotnik has stepped up with their take on an affordable robot that can move around and actually, you know, do things for you: RB-1.

Once again, we want to mention up front that any resemblance that the RB-1 might have to other mobile manipulators is likely just because they are designed around a set of capabilities that they all have in common, leading to unavoidable similarities in appearance. The RB-1 looks kind of like Tiago, which looks kind of like Fetch, which looks kind of like UBR-1, which looks kind of like Platformbot, which looks kind of like Toyota’s Partner robot, which itself (and we unforgivably neglected to mention this before) is based on one of the greatest mobile manipulators of them all, Georgia Tech’s EL-E.

So, let’s have a look at RB-1. What’s unique about it is that it’s built mainly using Dynamixel Pro servos: they’re powering the 7-DoF arm, the gripper, and the pan-and-tilt head. The torso also elevates nearly 40 centimeters. The arm has a total reach of 70 centimeters (enough to pick stuff up off the floor), and it can lift 2 kilograms. RB-1 has a 3.5 hour battery life, but I can’t tell if it comes with a dock or not.

In terms of sensors, there’s an Asus Xtion RGBD in the head, and a Hokuyo laser in the base, which is a pretty standard setup for mobile manipulators. Powering all of this is an Intel Core i7 with 8 GB of RAM and a 200 GB of disk, running Linux and ROS.

Robotnik’s website doesn’t seem to be updated to reflect the new robot yet, but the spec sheet we have puts the price at €46,200 (about US $52,000). We’ve contacted the company for more images and videos, and we’ll let you know if we hear back.

[ Robotnik ]

Thanks ROS News!

The Conversation (0)

The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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