Munich-based FRANKA EMIKA gained worldwide acclaim at HANNOVER MESSE 2017 thanks to its Panda "powertool" - a robot system controlled using smartphone-style apps that can be taught new tasks within minutes without users needing any specialist expertise in robotics. The system is so sophisticated it can work hand in hand with human users to learn complex tasks without posing any safety hazards - a feat that secured its place as a major highlight in Hannover this year.
The people behind Panda - Prof. Sami Haddadin, Dr. Simon Haddadin and Sven Parusel - have now been nominated for the 2017 Deutscher Zukunftspreis (German President's Award for Innovation in Science and Technology). For many years, the three scientists worked together at the prestigious Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), before launching a startup dedicated to developing the first system for a completely new generation of cost-effective, reliable and intelligent tools. The 2017 Deutscher Zukunftspreis nominees are also taking into account children and young people - the so-called "robonatives" - in their work. Indeed, following hot on the heels of digital natives, this new generation will have a profound impact on the way society develops. Offering easy, cost-free access to the FRANKA World ecosystem and providing training at the FRANKA Academy from the earliest possible stage, the three colleagues want to establish new value creation opportunities that have never existed before. The idea is for startups and students to be able to develop robot apps without needing to make virtually any financial investment of their own, thus opening up new commercial and non-commercial application areas. The nominees have been working to implement their vision for over ten years now. Sami Haddadin is the Director of the Institute of Automatic Control at Leibniz Universität Hannover and was recently appointed Professor of Robotics and System Intelligence at the Technical University Munich (TUM). He is also the founding director of the Munich School of Robotics, Machine Learning & Artificial Life. Simon Haddadin is the Managing Director at FRANKA EMIKA GmbH, while Sven Parusel heads the department for software and control systems as chief engineer.