Robot Arm

So… a topic has come up for me to research: Robot arms in theater.

I know of the Kuka robots (even found a guy that can sell me a few) and their ability to be programmed for complex movement. I also know that some people are controlling them real-time. Through TD even.

I work at a university and I have to dive in to this topic, in order to see the viability of purchasing one.

now is there anyone that can link me to some info to start with?
so far I know there is the Kuka FRI (Fast robot interface) that can potentially control the arm real time. it is (to my knowledge) split into to protocols: one for slower commands, one for faster commands below 4ms.

I would really like to get started on this, with the end goal of linking one to our Mocap System to actually start interacting with it.

who can help me?

I worked on this a bunch a few years ago.

We got it to work by repeatedly feeding a coordinate to the kuka. The program on the KRC4 looped and we would change the coordinate in real time over the network.

This was workable however it didn’t include any speed control or anything specific about it’s motions. We had feedback from the location variables also over the network. I can confirm that this was < 4ms but not too bad.

In the end we pre-programmed the motions on the controller to move the robot in the way we wanted, then used that motion path in Touchdesigner to render the real-time visuals.
We had a projector on the Kuka at the time and calculated the projections dynamically.

I think the FSR was the eventual better way to go but we never got there. Keep me posted!

Well, the project will go further however the Kuka I could get was a KR150 with a KC1 controller. so far I have come to understand that the KC1 is a no go.

If/When I can get my hands on a KC2 (10K€) I can use jOpenShowVar to control it. should not be hard to feed OSC data in to that program and pipe data from TD to jOpenShowVar.

The project has shifted towards using a different brand of arm right now. also it is a little smaller. Going to get the specs on that and see if I can control it, with the ultimate goal being realtime interaction.

I will keep you guys posted and thanks for thinking with me.

Late to the game now, but does anyone here have any hints on this topic :slight_smile: ?

I am researching the interfacing with Kuka arms, and afaik it hast to be either a KRC-2 or KRC-4 system to have the ability to access the machine in realtime, but there is actually zero information out there on how the interfacing would look like.

Also curious to hear if anyone had any success with UFactory xArm robots, since these are way more affordable than Kuka

I have no extra experience in this. Since my employer decided that it would be impossible to do this with students because of Insurance.

the reason there is very little info on realtime interaction is because it is ridiculously dangerous. the forces these things move with are extreme. the only way to do realtime interaction is to disable all security measures and hack into the software.

however there are people that have done it. search the depths of the interwebz and you will find a few bits and pieces of information.

I know has experience with robot arms, also full size ones, from a performance perspective. Also URLAND – live art in digital times has some experience with arms, not kuka.

1 Like

I should have mentioned that I have a studio space with enough room for such a unit :sweat_smile:

Anyhow thank you very much for the two contacts, I might reach out to them whenever I have researched if this is really the only solution for my project, or if there is an alternative