End Effectors and the Haptic Feedback System RePlaLink


End Effectors

End effectors serve as a tool for performing a function of a robot or handling device. This can be, for example, a gripper in industrial plants, a sewing head in textile technology, a welding head or printing head in multidirectional-additive manufacturing as well as hands and grippers in the context of human-robot collaboration scenarios.

In the research topic of gripper technology, we develop methods and tools that take into account and optimize the aspects of safety and functionality during product development. We are thus driving the development of flexible, adaptive and inherently safe grippers.


Human Robot Collaboration

Diagram Inclusive Human-Robot Collaboration Copyright: © IGMR

In the research field of transmission technology, the topics of haptic feedback, ergonomics, motion technology implementation for task fulfillment and operation by users are in the foreground in human-robot collaboration.

In addition to innovative solutions from current research projects, classical methods from motion technology are also used.

In the area of transmission technology, the research focus on inclusive human-robot collaboration is also addressed. The goal is to generate the best possible support through robotic systems in inclusive workplaces and to match it to the requirements of the people and work environments.

The research topic Human-Robot Collaboration is treated interdisciplinary at IGMR. In addition to the consideration of human-robot collaboration from the focus of mechanism theory, the research field of robotics also deals with this topic. The research results are bundled in the cross-cutting topic MRTeam.


Gripper Technology

Human Robot Collaboration, short HRC in future industrial assembly scenarios requires a high level of safety and special skills, such as grasping performance and robustness. For this use case, the IGMR develops robot hands.

The implemented gripper, enabling the robot to perform its task, is an essential component of a robot system. In human-robot collaboration, special requirements are placed on a gripper in terms of safety and functionality. Our goal is to develop methods and tools that take these requirements into account during the product development of a gripper.


Different HRC scenarios have distinct requirements on the implemented gripper. Common to all of them are the requirements on functionality and safety.

The functionality of a gripper is representative of many qualities that can vary depending on the application. Such a quality can be, among others, grip performance or, in the case of robotic hands, the aesthetic aspect. In terms of grip performance is often reflected in HRC applications in the need for an anthropomorphically designed gripper as a robot hand. In terms of grip performance, the ability to grip a variety of different geometries can be described as a requirement. These capabilities will be used in assembly scenarios of the future such as by the Internet of Production project. Another capability is to be able to handle manipulation tasks, such as opening a door. This is used in service robotics, human-robot collaboration in the home environment.

During a collaborative task both the robot system and human are within the same safeguarded space. Depending on the level of interaction, both work together on the same task. Physical contact between human and robot system cannot be ruled out and might be desired depending on the task. Therefore, risk mitigation for contact is an inherent requirement of HRC. This applies especially for grippers, as they interact directly with their environment and humans. To reduce the risk for contact between gripper and human passive as well as active safety design measures are used. As passive safety design measures, the shape and surface of the gripper should be emphasized. Both the shape and surface influence the resulting contact force and surface pressure. However, there have been no methods in the product development of a gripper to assess the risk of physical contact with a gripper.


In the research topic of gripper technology, we develop methods and tools that consider as well as optimize the aspects of safety and functionality during product development. We thus advance the development of flexible, adaptive and inherently safe grippers for usage in Human Robot Collaboration.


For product development of robot hands, capable of HRC, the quality criteria developed at IGMR are used. The quality criteria summarize the different qualities of a robot hand.
For the development, it is assumed that there is no "right" design of a robot hand, but an "optimal" design for a specific use case. Considering the identified qualities, the most appropriate methods are determined for the design process.

For product development of an inherently safe gripper, we are developing a computer-aided method for the risk assessment for contacts between gripper and human. Based on a collision model, the method uses the surface topology of the gripper housing to evaluate its suitability for collaborative use and to identify potential danger points.


Projekte Human Robot Collaboration

Person in Wheelchair with Robot in front of a Van © Copyright: Thomas Knobloch


Mobile robot moves up stairs © Copyright: IGMR

Robot Companion

Person at a Workspace with robotic assistance © Copyright: IGMR

Next Generation

CAD Model of PeTRA Systems © Copyright: IGMR


Employees in production line with robot © Copyright: Ford

HRC Ford


Haptic Feedback System RePlaLink

Person moves simulated cabinet Copyright: © IGMR

The haptic feedback system Reconfigurable Planar Linkage, short RePlaLink, enables haptic simulation and synthesis of hand-actuated mechanisms based on virtual prototypes.