Just learn how to use a robot? With the “Education Robot System” from OrangeApps GmbH, it works. The small robot made up of system modules behaves like a real KUKA robot but is much cheaper and above all much lighter. The six-axis robot is therefore well suited for training purposes. OrangeApps CEO Daniel Schmidt explains in an interview how the idea came about and what the robot is now to be used for.
Mr. Schmidt, how did you come up with the idea of this robot?
To be honest, it was initially intended to be fun. My girlfriend was on a business trip and I had time to pursue my childhood hobbies once again. The game then turned into a real project that lasted a whole year, including the linking to the KUKA software. At the company, we optimized the robot in just a few weeks so that it could be easily rebuilt. What started out as fun was so well received by customers that we added the robot to our portfolio.
Who is the robot particularly interesting for?
The kit is primarily aimed at schools and universities, which can use it for practice purposes. We are in contact with the German Aerospace Center (DLR), for example. There, various stations for scientific experiments should be created in the “School Lab”. The problem is that even the smallest robots from the industrial environment cost several thousand euros and handling them requires safety training. Our robot does not need that. It can be used in direct contact with the user, which also reduces the fear of contact. Respect for a real robot is usually greater without prior experience.
What can pupils and students learn from it?
The robot offers an easy introduction to six-axis robotics. After all, you can do the same thing with our plastic model as with a real industrial robot from KUKA. It even runs with the same software. Pupils and students learn a lot about kinematics, gears, motors and other mechatronic components.
What can the robot do?
That depends entirely on how you program it. For example, you can have it sort different colored table tennis balls with the help of a color sensor. Together with DLR and some students, we had planned to develop various applications. Unfortunately, Corona got in the way. But we had many ideas, among other things we wanted to equip the robot with chess software. You see: Many things are possible.
Let’s be honest: How much previous knowledge is needed to assemble the robot yourself?
Not much at all. It’s not child’s play, but young people aged 13 or 14 can do it in four to five hours with a little skill. The robot consists of 1,010 plastic system components, of which there are more than 100 different ones. Our construction kit, including wiring of the robot, consists of 180 steps. It is not simple, but it is feasible. And the fun factor is great.