It is no surprise that the sophisticated calculations for the best movement of a pair of robot arms to accurately direct a tool involve highly challenging optimization tasks.

This complexity also increases considerably when the tool itself is not stiff, but rather flexible in all directions and also bends in a different way based on its movement and position.Simon Dünser from Stelian Coros’ research team from the Institute for Intelligent Interactive Systems has collaborated with other scientists to design a hot-wire cutter robot with a wire that bends flexibly while working.

This enables the robot to produce relatively more complex shapes in considerably fewer cuts when compared to the earlier systems, in which the electrically heatable wire is stiff and, therefore, can only cut ruled surfaces from fusible plastics that have a straight line at each point.

Carving Rabbits and Designing Façades

On the other hand, the RoboCut developed by the ETH computer scientists is not merely restricted to cones, cylinders, planes, or saddle surfaces, but can also produce grooves in a plastic block.

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