Lightweight Robots and Soft Robotics

General information

As the use of service robots becomes more widespread, they are increasingly being implemented in areas requiring direct interaction with humans. Accordingly, service robots need to meet certain requirements, e.g. easy adaptability to new environments and, above all, compliance with relevant safety standards. Inspired by biology, new compliant robot kinematics called soft robotics, offer the potential to make cooperation safer. This paves the way for the development of new applications in which soft robots physically aid the operator, either as autonomous assistants (cooperation robots) or as devices worn on the body (portable robotics, e.g. exoskeletons or exosuits). These technologies enable you to optimize the efficiency of your applications.

Expertise and sample projects

 We developed a toolkit, called Myorobotics, that has the potential to significantly cut development costs for service robot applications. It allows newly-developed functionalities to be tested as part of an application’s overall concept. Furthermore, experimental setups and feasibility studies can be implemented faster and more efficiently. The systems are constructed as modules, which makes them cost-effective and customizable. The various hardware components are easy to assemble, which is why lightweight biomimetic robots are of interest to a wide circle of customers.


Our technological priorities are on:

  • Patented cable drive technologies (Do-Helix and Quad-Helix)
  • Integrated, cable-driven, lightweight robot arm modules with multiple DOF
    (ISELLA 2 and 3)
  • Low-cost robot toolkit for constructing lightweight compliant robots (Myorobotics)


From the development of mechatronic key technologies right up to the design and implementation of end-to-end soft robotics systems, Fraunhofer IPA can help you realize your vision:

  • With our extensive expertise in cable drive technologies, we help you develop new drives – tailored to your requirements.
  • We supply low-cost, ready-to-use robot modules (available as modular lightweight structures, joints and compliant actuators), which enable you to build your own soft robot and implement your own applications systematically. If desired, we can also help you further develop or integrate additional functions that you need for your application.
  • We develop, realize and integrate soft robotics platforms designed specifically for your application.
  • We provide support and advice on the mechatronic development of your own soft robotics systems and components, therefore facilitating your entry into this new field of robotics.

Sample projects

  • ISELLA 2 & 3 – 4 DOF modular lightweight arm with QuadHelix actuators
  • Prodo – prosthetic foot with QuadHelix actuator
  • Myorobotics – a modular system for developing musculoskeletal robots (EU project in FP7-ICT)

Fraunhofer IPA ISELLA 2