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As a result of intensive research over the last few decades, several robotic systems are approaching a level of maturity that allows robust task execution and safe interaction with humans and the environment. Particularly when considering the aging of the population, service and household robotics is expected to play an important role in future domestic environments. To provide the ability to accomplish a huge range of tasks with different requirements, it appears to be inevitable to equip the robot with a large number of degrees of freedom (DoF). Just imagine an ostensibly simple service task like filling a glass with water and placing it on a table. A variety of constraints has to be dealt with simultaneously: No liquid should be slopped, collisions with the environment must be avoided, and possible interactions with humans residing in the workspace of the robot have to be handled properly.
Date of Publication: June 2012