June 7th 2010 – Cologne-based industrial design studio Frackenpohl Poulheim designed the
humanoid robot “Myon”, which was created by the Neurorobotics Research
Laboratory at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin within the framework of the
European research project ALEAR. Myon represents the M-Series, which consists
of five similar robots that are based on a novel and fascinating modular
construction principle. Third party in creating the external appearance of “Myon”
is Bayer MaterialScience.
At a very early stage within the development process of the robot,
Frackenpohl Poulheim and the Neurorobotics Research Laboratory started with
their close cooperation. The result of the first phase of workshops was to define
the nature and character of “Myon” together with the scientists. Thereafter,
the appropriate proportion for the stature needed to be designed and aligned
with the construction team. “This step has an enormous impact on the
impressions, that a robot gives to its beholder”, says André Poulheim, who
agreed with Thorsten Frackenpohl to work on the project even without
compensation. “Robots easily appear menacing, if for instance shoulders are
designed too massive. Myon was supposed to look friendly. Analogue to its
actual body height that equates the size of an eight year old child, it shall not
stand for danger”, says Poulheim. All project partners conformed that no copy
of a human being should be created, but a product combining a biological human
format with a technical appearance.
Besides its creative-symbolic functions, the housing of the robot has to
meet technical applicatory functions as well. If “Myon” tumbles, his skin
protects the sensitive endoskeleton. Similarly, the unproblematic handling and
transport of the robot becomes possible only after mounting the external,
thermoformed shells. Bayer MaterialScience succeeded in developing a special
material for this application which at the same time meets design requirements
and technical specifications. A transparent top layer from Makrolon provides a
favoured depth effect while fibre-glass reinforced polycarbonate as the base
layer gives the necessary strength.
Launching the newly developed robot “Myon”, the Neurorobotics Research
Laboratory introduces the worldwide first humanoid robot whose body parts can
be demounted and mounted during operation mode. During this process, all body
parts keep their functions as they are fully autonomous concerning three
aspects: energy supply, processing power and neural network are arranged
locally on the robot.
„Myon“ is a system with an outstanding high complexity.
Nevertheless, its behavior does not collapse when damage occurs. Cutting a
cable or removing an electronic part therefore won´t lead to malfunction of the
robot. The body parts have multiple cross-links and work together