Once upon a time, in 1981 we participated at the UPM in the development of one of the first robots in Spain, the DISAM-0, a 3 DOF robot built with aluminum windows’ frame pieces, with trucks’ motors and bicycle wires. The robot had a strong Parkinson but using simple P controller implemented in the 8 bits Z-80 microprocessor, the position error was eliminated. Later, in 1982 we published our first paper in robotics. It was really the golden start days!
Since these days several research and projects have been done, some of them in DISAM of the UPM where we worked several years ago. One of the first industrial implementation of robotics was the SIRO project (1984) for the aeronautical company CASA (now EADS) for inspection of carbon fibber parts of the Airbus aircrafts. The system, with some modifications, works up today. Other developments were robotics picking in a tobacco warehouse (BUBI, 1986) and automatic pre-fab manufacturing for construction industry (GRC-Auto, 1992).
In 1989 we started the research activities in first stages of the European Union projects. The Robotics Lab members are pioneers in the European Union R&D projects in the field of robotics. During earlier 90s several EU project were developed: Esprit II project PANORAMA (Perception and Navigation Systems for Mobile Applications), and Eureka projects SAMCA (Flexible shoe factory), AMR (Advanced Mobile Robot for Public Safety) and GEO (Big Range Robotized System). In 1992 the Esprit III project ROCCO (Robot Assembly System for Computer Integrated Construction) was started.
More basic research projects also started at the beginning of 80s. Several projects funded by Spanish R&D governmental and private agencies were: FMS/2 (Flexible Manufacturing Systems, 1982), first FMS prototype system developed in Spain; VAD-1 (1983), our first mobile robot (it had one ultrasound sensor!);
DISAM E-65 (Scara type robot, 1984), first industrial prototype of the robot; and Coco (Coordinated multirobot system, 1989), two arms robotic system with force/torque control. These projects permitted us to obtain fundamental knowledge in robotics.
In 1994 several EU projects with participation of Robotics Lab’s members began: Esprit IV project CEROS (Cost Effective Robot Control System, 1994), INTAS project DYROS (Dynamical Robot 3D Simulation for Structures Assembly in Space, 1994) and Brite-Euram projects PSYCHO (Powerful Systems for Identification and Control of Highly Non-Linear Processes Using Neural Networks). Since these days the history became nowadays, that is viewed in our web page. During these earlier years we obtained big knowledge and experience in robotics, and remember these hard and funny days as unforgettable.