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ETRI wins iF Design Award for mobile cobot

by Pieter Werner

The Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) has secured a prize at the iF Design Award 2024, held in Germany. The recognition was for their Teach Pendant software for the autonomous mobile collaborative robot (MOBY), in the User Experience (UX) category. This award is one of the top three global design accolades, alongside Germany’s Red Dot Design Award and the United States’ IDEA.

The winning project, a collaborative effort between ETRI, Neuromeka, and Professor Seung-Heon Yoo’s research team from Korea University’s Department of Art and Design, focuses on the MOBY SW, a teach pendant designed for mobile robots and manipulators. The Teach Pendant is an interface that simplifies the control of autonomous mobile manipulators, integrating both movement and manipulation functions within a single software.

ETRI led the UX design and development, while Korea University contributed to the UX/UI design, and Neuromeka developed the hardware and framework. The innovative design addresses previous challenges by allowing simultaneous instruction of both the mobile robot and the manipulator, streamlining operations and enhancing user convenience.

A teach pendant typically aids in controlling industrial robots in environments where traditional input devices are impractical. The MOBY SW’s user-friendly design has been validated through usability studies at Keimyung University’s Usability Evaluation Research Center, demonstrating that even non-experts can efficiently use the system without prior programming knowledge.

ETRI’s achievement in the iF Design Award highlights the significance of integrating user-centered design in advanced robotic technology. The institute plans to commercialize this technology, targeting its application across various industries, including manufacturing, logistics, and service sectors. This advancement is expected to simplify automation processes and broaden the adoption of robotic technologies.

According to Dr. Jeyoun Dong from ETRI’s Robotics & Mobility Research Section, the user-friendly teach pendant aims to make robot usage accessible to both experts and the general public. Professor Seung-Heon Yoo emphasized the importance of UX design in technology-intensive products like robots, noting the collaborative effort’s success in integrating user-focused design principles.

The iF Design Award, managed by the International Forum Design in Germany, honors excellence across multiple categories, including Product, Packaging, Communication, Concept, Interior Architecture, Service Design, User Experience (UX), and User Interface (UI).

Photo: credit Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute(ETRI)

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