Germany-based Han’s Robot GmbH has announced that it is rebranding itself as Neura Robotics. The company also announced its new LARA collaborative robot arm, which it claimed is the cheapest one currently on the market in Europe.
Han’s Robot is a wholly owned subsidiary of Shenzhen, China-based Han’s Laser Technology Industry Group Co. and includes more than 100 people from Han’s Motor Research Institute. The business unit was founded in 2017 and makes its own motors, servo drives, motion controllers, and machine vision systems. It also makes Cartesian robots, automated guided vehicles (AGVs), and SCARA robots. Neura Robotics said its systems serve manufacturing, healthcare, logistics, and services applications.
“We’ve developed our own components and software,” said David Reger, founder and CEO of Han’s Robot, at its Future Days online event this month. “LARA, which stands for ‘Light Agile Robot Assistant,’ is a six-axis cobot that is designed to be low-cost and easy to maintain.”
LARA cobot designed to use in-house parts
“LARA is different from most collaborative robots because she is made to work in different environments and offer precision in path and repeatability,” Reger said. “She has a higher speed and a longer reach [than the previous Elfin model].”
The new cobot comes in two versions: LARA 5 has a 5 kg (11 lb.) payload capacity and 800 mm (31.4 in.) reach, and LARA 10 has a 10 kg (22 lb.) capacity and is coming soon, said Reger. The cobot’s kinematics include an integrated encoder developed in house.
In addition, LARA includes three different axis modules, with a torque sensor at each axis. The robot has status LEDs at each joint. “Our teach pendant includes a clean user interface,” Reger said. “You can click and move each axis and teach LARA by pushing a button and moving between positions. You can record functions and drag and drop them.”
The new cobot is rated IP66 for water and dust resistance, he added. “We’re getting certifications for medical,” said Reger.
LARA has a common connector for end effectors including GPIOs, Modbus, IO-Link, TCP/IP, EtherCAT, and CANbus. It can accommodate different force-torque sensors, Reger said.
“Our calibration model includes classical algorithms with new artificial intelligence to improve day by day,” said Hendrik Susemihl, chief technology officer at Han’s Robot. “It’s a self-calibration system in the field.”
Mobile Autonomous Vehicle designed with low profile
Neura Robotics also announced MAV, for “Mobile Autonomous Vehicle,” a collaborative autonomous mobile robot (AMR). The company said MAV is intended to minimize production interruptions and can be used with other products.
MAV is 910 cm wide by 1,530 cm long by 293 mm high (35 x 60 x 11.5 in.), and it can carry a 1.5-ton payload. The AMR has four lifting units and is designed to carry pallets, said Reger.
“He has a low profile and can move at 2 m/sec. [4.47 mph],” he said. “It has 500 mm [19.6 in.] accuracy for positioning, and it is rated for indoor applications. With new battery technology, customers can use MAV for 12 hours without breaks, and it can recharge within one-and-a-half hours.”
The AMR has cameras on three sides in addition to laser scanners for safety. As with LARA, MAV includes user-friendly interface features, said Neura Robotics. MAV’s side LEDs can show its status, and it can be controlled with gestures.
“You can teach it an environment and give instructions with a smartphone,” Reger said. “It can cooperate with other vehicles via fleet-management software, which could have hundreds of robots in one system. You can define priorities, which is perfect for logistics.”
Neura combines robots
Neura Robotics offered a combination of LARA and MAV for automotive manufacturing and other industries. The cobot is mounted on the AGV so that it has two more axes to reach around to shelving. This is similar to Han’s Robot previously mounting on an Elfin cobot on an AGV.
“It is made to fully automate processes and save space and the cost of conveyance,” said Reger. “The system can put parts in a rack and pick and exchange trays.”
He said the mobile manipulator could also be useful for restocking stores and in food service. “It’s not just two products — it’s plus our cognitive product,” Reger said, alluding to Neura’s AI software.
When asked about integration with the Robot Operating System (ROS), Susemihl responded: “We have APIs and developer interfaces not only for exchanging data, but also for integrating signal data, GUI, or directly computing on our robot. Our controller includes not only the CPU for control but a GPU for AI and calculations.”
MIRA built for fast but safe collaboration
Neura Robotics also previewed its MIRA, or Multi-sensing Intelligent Robotic Assistant, during its Future Days. MIRA includes a seven-axis collaborative robot arm mounted on a smaller mobile base than the MAV-LARA combination.
“We try to simplify the problem,” said Milad Malekzadeh, head of AI at Han’s Robot. He said Neura Robotics’ products are the culmination of years of laboratory research plus fast-moving teamwork.
“We have people from 20 different nations and technical and creative backgrounds,” said Susemihl. “It’s different from KUKA’s structure and roles.”
“MIRA has 3D vision sensors in its ‘head’ for intelligent object recognition,” said Reger. It creates 3D meshes from point clouds, and users can set restricted zones for safe movement, he added.
“The robot can autonomously adjust its trajectory to slow when a human is present or to go full speed, following its original programming when humans are absent,” Reger said. “MIRA also has force-torque sensors in each axis and center point to decouple forces from the robot, gripper, or surroundings. We have a safety bus going through the whole robot to calculate cartesian [positioning] for safety.”
The robot has a 1.4 m (4.5 ft.) reach and a 14 kg (30.8 lb.) payload capacity. “It’s able to have more dynamic payloads, and it can give more or less, depending on the distance,” said Reger. “That’s the same as humans, where the amount we hold depends on speed and reach. MIRA can move 12 kg [26.4 lb.] with more speed, or less at greater distances. We get high speed from new motor designs and have many IMUs for more accuracy and sensitivity.”
MIRA has IP65 waterproof protection, and Neura is working on IP67 rating. “For the food and life-sciences markets, the screws and all axes are covered,” Susemihl said. “We want industrial robot performance but smaller, more flexible designs.”
Neura offers multiple versions, ways to interact
He said MIRA will come in multiple versions, including a shorter version with 18 kg and 1 m reach and a longer one with 10 kg and 1.6 m (5.2 ft.) reach. With sensors on its base and a honeycomb alloy structure for stiffness and strength, MIRA can move up to 4.5 m/sec. (10 mph), “closer to industrial robots,” Reger said.
For ease of use, MIRA includes built-in voice recognition, drag-and-drop programming through a teach pendant, a human-machine interface (HMI) button, and touch “skin.”
“All sensors are not only for perception but also to interact with people,” said Reger. “Each person could program MIRA in a different way, and we provide up to six. You could teach by moving it to a position in Zero Gravity mode or by voice, and you can also record functions, forces, or actions.”
“In Zero Gravity, you can divide forces for precision in force recording,” he added. “The integrated force-torque sensor is ideal for grinding applications.”
Reger added that all Neura’s robots include human-detection safety systems and integrated cables for different grippers, including air. MIRA is intended to make it easy to move collaborative applications from simulations to real environments, he said.
What about combining MIRA and MAV? “We already have LARA and MAV,” Reger told Collaborative Robotics Trends. “The best combination would be MIRA and MAV, and it’s one of our highest priorities right now. The abilities for household robots are coming closer.”
“We want a real partner; we want the best assistant,” said Sugeeth Gopinathan, head of robotics applications at Han’s Robot. “Eventually, every home will have a robot to do difficult chores for older adults.”
LARA is available now, and MAV will be available by the end of the year, said Neura Robotics, which is looking for partners and more customer feedback.