The Swiss public broadcaster showed and explained Robo-Mate modules as part of its coverage of the "Cybathlon". The journalist who tried the active arms apparently did like the experience: she wanted them to move house. However, Massimo Di Pardo from Centro Ricerche Fiat sees some other, slightly more urgent application areas.
Cybathlon was a competition, organised by ETHZ on 8 October in Zurich, for people with disabilities and their assistive devices – like exoskeletons. While the focus of the events was on powered wheelchairs, protheses and exoskeletons for people with disabilities, Robo-Mate was included in the broadcast to show the potential of exoskeletons in addition to medical applications.
As Massimo Di Pardo says in the broadcast, workers appreciated all three of Robo-Mates modules during tests, mainly in three situations:
- They have to work with constantly lifted arms – a typical application area for the passive arms.
- They have to lift and position a relatively heavy load like a brake disc. This is when the active arms become useful.
- They have to work with a bent back. This is when the trunk module is most useful.
In sum, the developed technology is "promising". Maybe not exactly for the application area that the journalist had in mind, but certainly for tasks in industry that involve lifting, carrying and working in static positions.
The Swiss public broadcaster "SRF" produced a whole programme on the topic of human-robot collaboration or interaction, called "SRF Menschmaschine" [SRF Men-Machine]. The broadcast on Robo-Mate and a few other highlights from the programme (all in German/Swiss-German):
- Robo-Mate in action at Cybathlon and at CRF (click on "UT" to see subtitles in German).
- Robotic highlights: Short pieces on four extraordinary robots. The first can play table soccer, the second supports paraplegics, the third supports workers in industry, and the fourth can build walls.
- Schedule of the programme.
- Qualifications, finals and other selected moments of the Cybathlon.