The four founders of Vienna-based startup Blue Danube Robotics - Dr. Walter Wohlkinger, Andreas Baldinger, Tobias Ferner and Dr. Michael Zillich - are back at HANNOVER MESSE 2017, rekindling fond memories. After all, it was at the world's leading trade fair for industrial technology that a Samsung manager recognized the potential of their idea of covering service robots with a sensory skin. He advised the team of TU Wien graduates to focus their innovation on industrial robots - and they have done so extremely successfully. The Airskin they are now showcasing at HANNOVER MESSE 2017 is the first tactile skin for industrial robots.
Its name reflects how the smart robot skin avoids accidents by measuring changes in air pressure. A two-millimeter dent in the polyurethane skin is all it takes for Blue Danube's sensor technology to register the contact and halt the robot in ten milliseconds. Dr. Wohlkinger and his team can custom-fit the 3D-printed Airskins to any conventional industrial robot when they have the original CAD model to work with. Airskins are generally around one centimeter thin and are certified to TÜV safety level E. This makes them an attractive, more affordable alternative to conventional camera safety systems when upgrading existing industrial robotic systems for human-machine collaboration. What's more, Airskins go one step further by keeping things safe in places where a camera’s line of sight is restricted.