August 17, 2022
3 min read

11 Examples of Robots in Research 

Figure from "A modular mechatronic gripper installed on the industrial robot KUKA KR 60-3.."

Robots and robotic systems continue to grow in use across industries, from manufacturing to construction to medical settings. At universities, professors and graduate students use robots in research across various topics. They are exploring new applications for robots and examining robotic systems and how they can improve society and help humans. The proliferation of collaborative robots has sparked a movement to automate things we never thought possible before, particularly with increased interactions with humans. Robots can also be used to perform repetitive or dangerous tasks within the scope of a research project, allowing researchers to focus on their work.  

Robotic grasping and dexterous manipulation device research with Universal Robots from Shadow Robot

Looking for some robotics research ideas?  

Here are 11 examples of robots in research published in academic journals, presented at academic conferences, or presented in thesis papers: 

1. Robotics Research Topic: Additive Manufacturing 

The aim of this thesis was to create a proof of concept system for 3D printing with a robot.  

2. Robotics Research Topic: Artificial Intelligence 

This article presents an interdisciplinary approach to developing a robot demonstrator, combining the research fields of robot force/torque control, image processing, artificial intelligence, robot programming, and human-robot cooperation.  

3. Robotics Research Topic: Artificial Intelligence 

This paper discussed an experiment to study how AI, Automation, and Robots (AAR) will interact with humans and form a unique symbiotic relationship in art-making.  

4. Robotics Research Topic: Computer Vision 

This paper covers developments in feature detection and description methods for a real-time 3D endoscopic navigation system using simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) for accurate and near real-time registration. 

5. Robotics Research Topic: Digital Fabrication 

This paper proposes the TRAC (Teaching-based Robotic Arm Construction) system, which aims to the intuitive robot-assisted bricklaying process.  

6. Robotics Research Topic: Human-Robot Interaction 

This position paper describes a novel approach to programming industrial robots via conversational dialogue. 

7. Robotics Research Topic: Industry 4.0 

This study aimed to understand and predict garment employees' cognitive, social, and psychological perspectives and behavioral intentions towards Cobot implementations in Vietnam. 

8. Robotics Research Topic: Machine Learning 

This paper presents a proposal for real-time hand gesture recognition for both dynamic and static gestures. 


9. Robotics Research Topic: Manipulator Dynamics 

This paper introduces AURT, an open-source software for modeling and calibration of robot manipulator dynamics. 

10. Robotics Research Topic: Mechatronics 

A Modular Mechatronic Gripper was designed and installed on an industrial robot to demonstrate versatility and dynamism to load and unload items at the same time efficiently and safely. 

11. Robotics Research Topic: Taguchi Method 

This research focuses on using a KUKA robot to spot weld low carbon steel JSC 590RN cold-rolled sheet. This paper aims to determine the influence of welding input factors on T-S strength.  

Robots Used in Research 

You may notice that these research examples include two types of robots: KUKA robots and Universal Robots collaborative robots. These robots each have their advantages for a robotics research lab. Companies worldwide use them to compete, innovate, and improve productivity. Therefore, there are opportunities for research to drive improvements in real-world applications. They are also effective for lab environments with students because they are safe for human-robot collaboration, versatile, and mobile to move around a lab. Here's a little bit more about each robot manufacturer: 

Kuka robot arm

KUKA Robotics  

KUKA is one of the world's leading suppliers of intelligent automation systems for companies in automotive, electronics, metal & plastic, consumer goods, e-commerce/retail, and healthcare.  

KUKA offers an education bundle to research sensitive robotics, HRC, mobility, Industry 4.0, and more. Their industrial robots are lightweight, mobile, and precise. 

Universal Robot 3e with gripper

Universal Robots  

Universal Robots is the leading manufacturer of collaborative robots for production environments around the world. Their robots are helping companies of all sizes address labor needs and increase productivity. 

For researchers, Universal Robots offers a lot of flexibility in integrating end effectors and accessories or creating your own with their SDK and open API. The robots are easy to use and redeploy quickly. 

Are you looking to incorporate robots in research at your higher education institution? AET Labs specializes in partnering with educators in New England to provide end-to-end lab solutions. We can help you design a robotics research lab, get grants to fund your research, choose robots for your lab, and provide training and local service. Contact us today to get started