1. Product Summary

In recent years, various industries have been promoting the implementation of collaborative robots. However, because there are still few approaches from service robots, there is a need for rapid and affordable distribution of robots for such research.

CRANE-X7 is a 7-axis arm robot developed for education and research of service robots (Fig. 1). It was developed in collaboration with Hosoda Laboratory, Osaka University. The motors of each axis can be controlled by torque, allowing the user to experience control based on dynamics. These 7 axes provide redundancy, and the high degree of freedom allows the robot to move flexibly like a human arm. The design is based on the size of an adult woman’s arm, and the slender image of the exterior, which is manufactured from a 3D printer, makes it easy for people to approach and touch it. The elbow and arm area are also designed to prevent pinching during operation and to ensure safety.

Fig. 1: CRANE-X7

2. Designed for the research of service robots

It has a simple configuration: A motor unit, cables, and a 3D printer frame. To consider to work and research, the robot can be brought to anywhere because it is lightweight, easy to move, install, and manage, and can be powered by a battery of several tens of Wh. CRANE-X7 has abandoned the advantages of conventional robots in favor of convenience in research such as made of metal, rigid, heavy, durable and fast motion. The simple configuration makes it easy to isolate the cause of a problem. In fact, we kept the repeatability of the experiment guaranteed minimum to ensure reproducibility.

Although the robot has a 7-axis configuration, it can be tested as a robot with various degrees of freedom by fixing specific motors according to the situation.

The color of the chassis can be selected from six colors (white, black, red, blue, yellow, and green) for each part, which can be used for masking by color in image processing. This is for visual manipulation to distinguish between robots and objects. In addition, the hardware information such as CAD data and the assembly manual are disclosed so that users can modify and repair the robot.

3. Support for education and research

CRANE-X7 has various libraries to develop samples of control packages in C language and compatible with ROS middleware (Kinetic, Melodic, and Noetic). ROS has been widely used as a robot development platform in recent years. ROS provides RViz for visualizing robot status (shown in fig. 2), and MoveIt as a library for kinematics calculation and trajectory planning for manipulators. By releasing these rich sample codes and packages, not only can users develop ROS programs easily, but also apply them to research and development of advanced processing. These samples boost up the speed of research.

Fig. 2: Screenshot of CRANE-X7 visualized by RViz.

We have also published a textbook in Japanese “Practical Robot Control: From Basics to Dynamics” (Author Prof. Hosoda, Osaka Univ.) from Ohmsha Ltd. Students are able to learn the theory and real robot motion. Technical blog released from RT Corp. shows the program and application referring to the textbook (Fig.3.).

Fig. 3: Example of an image posted on the technical blog.

4. Sales results

CRANE-X7 was released in 2018. It has sold approximately 80 units up until Feb. 2021. The main customers are the Japanese Universities and the research division of companies.


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