Filippo Sanfilippo, Lars Ivar Hatledal, Houxiang Zhang, Massimiliano Fago and Kristin Ytterstad Pettersen. Controlling Kuka Industrial Robots: Flexible Communication Interface JOpenShowVar. IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine 22(4):96-109, December 2015.
Filippo Sanfilippo, Lars Ivar Hatledal, Houxiang Zhang, Massimiliano Fago and Kristin Ytterstad Pettersen. JOpenShowVar: an Open-Source Cross-Platform Communication Interface to Kuka Robots. (Best Student Paper) in Proceeding of the IEEE International Conference on Information and Automation (ICIA), Hailar, China. 2014, 1154–1159.
JOpenShowVar is a Java open-source cross-platform communication interface to Kuka robots that allows for reading and writing variables and data structures of the controlled manipulators. This interface, which is compatible with all Kuka robots that use KR C4 and previous versions, runs as a client on a remote computer connected with the Kuka controller via TCP/IP. JOpenShowVar opens up to a variety of possible applications making it possible to use different input devices and to develop alternative control methods.
JOpenShowVar is an open-source project and it is available on the Internet under a Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) license at https://github.com/aauc-mechlab/jopenshowvar, along with several detailed class diagrams, all the mechanics, hardware schematics and demo videos.
To show the potential of the proposed interface, two case studies are presented in the video above. In the first one, JOpenShowVar is used to control a Kuka KR 6 R900 SIXX (KR AGILUS) robot with an Android mobile device. In the second case, the same manipulator is controlled with a Leap Motion Controller that supports hand and finger motions as input without requiring contact or touching. Related simulations are carried out to validate efficiency and flexibility of the proposed communication interface.
I gratefully acknowledge the contribution of Massimiliano Fago, an Italian colleague from the IMTS S.r.L. Company, Taranto, Italy and of Lars Ivar Hatledal, a colleague from the Mechatronics Lab at Aalesund University College, Norway.