Lab of… Robotics

You could easily pass by the small unassuming room in the 3mE building without noticing it, but inside its glass walls, researchers are working hard on some very useful robots.

The newly named TU Delft Robotics Institute is the home of Zebro (Zes Benen Robot), a search and rescue robot. Zebro can navigate through rubble and other rough terrain to search for missing people, a far cry from industrial robots preforms tasks of repetitive motion.

In the TU Delft Robotics Institute, several departments collaborate to find new and creative ways to use robots. The Institute’s focuses on the new challenges faced by a more personable form of robot while keeping in mind safety, responsibility, controllability and usability. It offers a space for researchers from a variety of disciplines, ranging from mechanical engineering to computer science to collaborate. This gives the TU Delft a unique position globally when it comes to robotics.

Originally from India, PhD student, Subramanya Nagreshrao, is currently writing programing algorithms for a robot arm. When explaining his work, he asks, rhetorically, “How do humans work?”  He points out that we learn through observation, but robots obviously do not have that ability. “Whereas humans can learn through doing, robots must be told how to do every tiny thing.”   

While researchers spend much of their time in the lab in front of a computer, writing code and developing algorithms, the Institute offers them something special. Rather than only running his theory through simulations on a computer, Nagreshrao gets to run them straight on a robot in the lab. With the lab in such close proximity to his office, he can easily see his work come to life.  If it’s not quite right, he sees it immediately and can make the necessary changes. All within a few floors of the 3mE building on campus.

Lab of… is a new TU Delta series exploring the university labs.

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