The good folks at the AI and Robotics Blog have posted an entertaining video of a Kuka Light-Weight Robot (LWR) arm climbing a ladder -- an impressive feat for such a large arm. Those who read Hizook will recognize these arms as descendants of the DLR-III lightweight arms (featured frequently), also with a 1:1 mass-payload ratio, that have been employed on the Justin research platform. According to the AI and Robotics Blog posting, the arms are now available for purchase, though they still do not appear to be listed as an "available product" on Kuka's website. However, Kuka is certainly moving forward with these arms -- they have been in numerous demonstrations at recent trade shows; for example, I saw them featured at IROS 2008, and they recently appeared atop Kuka's new mobile manipulator, the OmniRob robot. Check out the video below.
Cool video -- very impressive. I do chuckle when I notice the long power and control cable sneaking away behind the demo. Though I'm not familiar with this particular product, I have seen Kuka power-control boxes that are bigger than the arms themselves.
I would be curious to learn more about the relationship between the Kuka and DLR-III arms. Is this a licensing agreement between Kuka and DLR, or were they jointly developed? I seem to recall that the DLR-II hand has a similar story -- the Schunk Anthropomorphic Hand (SAH) appears to be a direct descendant of the DLR-II hand (press release). Is DLR driving the development and licensing their robotics tech for commercialization, or is it a case of co-development?