The humanoid ARMAR robots were developed within the Collaborative Research Center 588: Humanoid Robots - Learning and Cooperating Multimodal Robots (SFB 588). In the year 2000, the first humanoid robot in Karlsruhe was built and named ARMAR. This humanoid had twenty-five mechanical degrees-of-freedom (DOF). It consisted of an autonomous mobile wheel-driven platform, a body with 4 DOFs, two anthropomorphic redundant arms each having 7 DOFs, two simple gripper and a head with 3 DOFs.
In 2002, the second version of the ARMAR series, namely ARMAR-II, was built. Mechanically, this robot consisted of an autonomous mobile wheel-driven platform, a body with 4 DOFs, a two arm system with a simple gripper and a stereo camera head. The anthropomorphic body of the robot was placed on a mobile platform and supported a rotation of about 330 degrees. It also was able to bend forward, backward and sideward.
Since the robot should support a simple and direct cooperation with humans, the physical structure (dimension, shape and kinematics) of each arm was developed as close as possible to the human arm in terms of segment lengths, axis of rotation and workspace. Furthermore, ARMAR-II had two redundant arms each having 7 DOFs and a length of 65 cm.
In the design of our robot ARMAR-IIIa in 2006, we desired a humanoid that closely mimics the sensory and sensorimotor capabilities of the human. The robot should be able to deal with household environments and the wide variety of objects and activities encountered in it. ARMAR-IIIa is a fully integrated autonomous humanoid system. It has a total 43 DOFs and is equiped with position, velocity and force-torque sensors. The upper body has been designed to be modular and light-weight while retaining similar size and proportion as an average person. For the locomotion, we employed a mobile platform which allows for holonomic movability in the application area. Two years later, a slightly improved humanoid robot, ARMAR-IIIb, was engineered.
The Karlsruhe humanoid head was consistently used in ARMAR-IIIa and ARMAR-IIIb. Each possesses two cameras per eye with a wide-angle lens for peripheral vision and a narrow-angle lens for foveated vision. It has a total number of 7 DOFs (4 in the neck and 3 in the eyes), six microphones and a 6D inertial sensor. Throughout Europe, there are already ten copies of this head in use.