What is Panda Arm?

Full name
11 Jan 2022
5 min read

Panda Arm is a collaborative robot arm that uses the vehicle simulation model 7-DOF (seven degrees of freedom).Collaborative robots like Panda Arm are engineered to assist various tasks like manipulation. Panda Arm was developed and launched by the German company Franka Emika, which was founded in 2016 and excelling in collaborative robots since then. They have designed Panda Arm in such a user-friendly way that its users have direct control over it and can program the robot as they wish. Panda Arm,furthermore, supports interfacing with external sensors such as C++, ROS, and Movelt for an even better experience.

Key Features

Panda Arm involves state-of-the-art engineering that gives it a variety of features. Firstly, it is a robot that has been designed with force sensing, meaning that it automatically ceases its activity when something unexpected enters the workspace. Secondly, Panda Arm comes with a robot gripper enabling it to exert a continuous grasping force of70N (with a maximum of 140N) and can lift up to 3 kg. This apparatus allows the robot to lift a wide variety of objects as if it had the dexterity and compliance of a human arm. Thirdly, Panda Arm is torque-controlled and uses sensors to measure strain on its seven joints. This safety feature immediately freezes the arm when the measured strain deviates from the default, which,though sometimes overlooked, is crucial for a safe user experience.

Software of the Robot

Pand Arm’s software interface is called Desk, which can easily be accessed from a web browser and does not require any external software installation. The robot’s interface is available for programming for any task. Such programming is done by arranging (dragging or dropping in the desired sequence) available applications integrated into the interface and configuring them via the Pilot or an input device. These applications are Panda Arm’s building blocks for creating tasks. The research version of Panda Arm, also called Panda Research Package, is used by universities and research laboratories and comes with an additional interface called FCI (Franka Control Interface). Franka Control Interface is a software solution that lets the users control and program Panda Arm in C++, and allows integration with ROS/ Movelt too as has been mentioned.

Uses of the Robot

Panda Robotic Arm’s environments of use are non-exhaustive but it is generally used in production lines, hospitals& nursing homes, laboratories and universities, logistics platforms, etc.In all these industrial and research environments, several Panda Robotic Arms can be used to divide complex tasks using a cloud computing system. The Inria Rennes research centre, for instance, chose to use Panda Arm for its ViSP project, as part of a visual servoing SDK. They attached a RealSense camera to a Panda Arm and used it to follow a QR code on a sheet of paper randomly moved around by a researcher. Also, some students from Imperial College London used the Panda Arm for their Technical Robotics Design module. Last but not least, Franka Emilia boasts of being the first-ever robot distributor that offers CE-certified ready-to-use solutions for a list of scenarios. If your robotics project aligns with one of these scenarios that are designated by the company,you will be permitted to use your Panda Arm right away without the need for conducting a risk assessment.

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