The talk will address several implications resulting from the paradigm of putting the humans in the center of robot design. First, assistance robots are supposed to closely interact with their human user. Therefore they need to be compatible to humans in terms of size and weight, but also regarding velocity and power. They need to be safe and compliant, able to perceive human motions and fast changing environments in real time and to also plan and execute their reactions at human compatible time scales. This poses substantial challenges in terms of hardware and algorithms design, as well as in term of system integration. I will present here the evolvement of DLR robot design and control from compliantly controlled robots with joint torque sensing to intrinsically compliant systems with variable compliance actuation.
Second, putting the human in the center of robot development also means to use robotics research in order to better understand human motion and intelligence in a synthetizing way by using the analytic tools of robotics. I will particularly highlight in this respect the interplay of biomechanics and neuro-control with robot design and advanced robotics control. Humans can also directly benefit from this research through the development of better human-machine interfaces, robotized medical procedures, and prosthetic and rehabilitation devices which will even more reduce the barrier between humans and robots in the future.