EIROForum workshop

Remote event

Remote event


The 2022 EIROforum Topical Workshop on Robotics & Remote Operation organised by the Instrumentation Working Group, will be held from 1st-3rd June 2022.

The workshop will be co-hosted by the ESRF & ILL, but due to the current situation, will be held
as an online event.


    • 1:30 PM 2:00 PM
    • 2:00 PM 3:00 PM
      • 2:00 PM
        European XFEL - Remote User Operation at the European XFEL 30m

        The European XFEL is a world leading X-ray Free Electron Laser comprising six scientific instruments for users to conduct research on. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic user participation changed from largely on-site in Hamburg, Germany, to a more hybrid scheme for the week-long beamtimes. In this contribution we will discuss remote user operation at the facility on the example of the HED instrument.

        Speaker: Thomas Preston (EU.XFEL)
      • 2:30 PM
        European XFEL - The FXE Robotic Arm - Integration and Applications 30m

        The Stäubli Robotic Arm is an integral part of the FXE instrument at the European XFEL and allows for flexible positioning of X-ray detectors used for femto-second scale e X-ray diffraction, scattering and spectroscopy experiments. In this contribution we will discuss the integration of the multi-axis robotic arm into the facility’s in-house developed SCADA system, Karabo, and will present key applications at the Experiment.

        Speaker: Wajid Ehsan (EU.XFEL)
    • 3:00 PM 4:15 PM
      • 3:00 PM
        ESO - The challenges of remotely operating an astronomical observatory 25m

        Since a few years, ESO has developed the Garching remote access facility (G-RAF) in its headquarters in Garching, Germany. The use of G-RAF was accelerated during the covid-19 pandemic, and allowed the commissioning of two new instruments to proceed with remote help. Apart from reducing the carbon footprint and travel overhead, the advantages include that more team members can participate in the remote activities. During the covid-19 pandemic, the G-RAF facility's use was expanded, and allowed commissioning activities for several new instruments could be remotely completed, alleviating the impact of the travel restrictions. Most G-RAF users consider this option as a very useful complement to a site visit, especially for short missions less than 5 days. One recurring concern with remote work is the building of a team spirit.

        The pandemic also required ESO to adapt the regular operations of the observatory. To optimally adapt to the variable weather conditions, ESO operates its observatories mostly in service mode, meaning that observatory staff executes previously prepared observing blocks on behalf of the astronomers who proposed the scientific observations. This mode of operations requires very detailed instructions obtained during a phase 2 submission of the observing proposal. These are then executed by the expert observatory staff who travel to the telescope from their duty station in Munich or Santiago, where they closely interact with the local telescope operators and engineers. During the pandemic, only a very limited amount of staff were allowed to travel to the telescopes. As an emergency solution, astronomer support was also done remotely from Europe. I will report on the experience with the Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment (APEX) telescope near San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. The positive effects were that observations could resume earlier thanks to the remote support, while reducing travel and carbon footprint. However, many negative effects of a unavoidably rushed implementation also became apparent. First, remote observing for prolonged periods of 8 hours per day for 14 consecutive days is far more demanding than on-site. Second, logistical issues for night-time and weekend observing from home are putting a lot of stress on work/life balance of the observers. Third, interaction with the observatory staff was incomplete, leading to technical issues going unnoticed, Forth, the internet connection to a very remote site was insufficient, creating latency problems; Fifth, training of new observers is much more complex and less motivating. Sixth, colleagues at the home station of the remote observers often do not realize that other tasks and meetings need to take lower priority during periods of remote observing, while this question hardly ever comes up while the observer is traveling.

        The overall lesson learned is that if remote observing from another continent is to be developed more widely, this needs to be associated with a substantial logistical investment, including a reliable and fast internet connection, a full-scale control room with all monitoring screens, but also lodging and meal service at irregular working times. It is also important to plan team building events, by exchanging team members on both sites.

        Speaker: Carlos Be Breuck (ESO)
      • 3:25 PM
        ESO - Control and Collision Avoidance with the MOONS Fibre Positioners 25m
        Speakers: Steven Beard (ESO), Bart Willemse (ESO)
      • 3:50 PM
        ESO - Remote Operations of the VLT (TBC) 25m
        Speaker: Stéphane Brilliant (ESO)
    • 4:15 PM 4:45 PM
      Break 30m
    • 4:45 PM 5:45 PM
      Invited Speaker
      • 4:45 PM
        Invited Speaker - Robotics and vision based autonomic systems in challenging environments 1h

        Autonomous underwater robots, situational aware autonomous ships, drones, ocean observing small student-build satellites and drones, warehouse robots, and humanoids, are all powered by the continuous and relentlessly improvement in computational power, tremendous advances in low-cost sensors and sensor systems, as well as enabling technologies, such as computer vision. Reproducing visual sensing and perception capabilities for such robotic systems provide a very powerful and highly desired tool. Ideally, this enables a robot to perceive and interpret its surrounding so that it can use this information to execute different tasks within a real-world environment. As robots in general operate in various environments equipped with different sets of visual sensing devices this makes the generic “interpretation of the world” very challenging. In this presentation I wish to introduce certain aspects within the world of “robotic vision” - where we try to teach robots to understand, plan, learn and act in an intelligent way.

        Speaker: Dr Annette Stahl (NTNU)
    • 1:30 PM 2:30 PM
      • 1:30 PM
        EUROfusion - Meeting the challenges of remote maintenance of Fusion power stations 1h
        Speaker: Nick Sykes (Eurofusion)
    • 2:30 PM 3:30 PM
    • 3:30 PM 4:00 PM
      Break 30m
    • 4:00 PM 5:00 PM
      • 4:00 PM
        ESA - Overview of robotics at ESA 30m
        Speaker: Gianfranco Visentin (ESA)
      • 4:30 PM
        ESA - ANALOG-1 controlling a rover from space 30m
        Speaker: Kjetil Wormnes (ESA)
    • 5:00 PM 6:00 PM
      Invited Speaker: Getting ready for EL3 operations of robotic surface assets on the Moon – Learning by doing
      Convener: Kim Nergaard (ESA)
      • 5:00 PM
        Invited Speaker - Getting ready for EL3 operations of robotic surface assets on the Moon – Learning by doing 1h
        Speaker: Kim Nergaard (ESA)
    • 9:00 AM 10:00 AM
    • 10:00 AM 11:00 AM
      • 10:00 AM
        CERN - Robotics in Future HEP particle detectors 30m

        The search for higher luminosities in the next generation of particle accelerators pushes for more intense and more energetic beams.

        As a result, high levels of radiation are expected in the detector environment.

        In this context, there is an increasing interest in developing robotics and automatic systems that could maintain, inspect and operate on future particle detectors, minimizing personnel exposure to radiation.

        This talk shows the challenges to tackle in designing robotics and automation that will have to work in the particle detectors' harsh environment, with an uncommon background magnetic field, and, for some applications, cryogenic temperatures.
        Furthermore, the presentation highlights also the challenges in designing detector interfaces for smooth interactions between robotic and automatic systems and the detectors themselves.

        Finally, the presentation discusses some design solutions that have been elaborated in the context of the R&D activity in the CERN Experimental Physics (EP) department.

        Speakers: Corrado Gargiulo (CERN), Lorenzo Teofili (CERN)
      • 10:30 AM
        CERN - Robotic Solutions for Remote Maintenance in Accelerators Complex at CERN 30m

        Intelligent robotic systems are becoming essential for harsh environments in general, such as the CERN particles accelerator complex. In order to increase safety and machine availability, robots can perform repetitive, unplanned, and dangerous tasks, which humans either prefer to avoid or are unable to carry out due to hazards, size constraints, or the extreme environments in which they take place. In this presentation, the current status of the robotic activities for particle accelerators remote maintenance, performed by the CEM group at CERN, is presented. Several robotics solutions have been applied in the past years, as well as custom-made robotic devices. Current and future research and development in robotics are described, as well as the results from the commissioning of various novel robotic controls.

        Speaker: Mario Di Castro (CERN)
    • 11:00 AM 11:30 AM
      Break 30m
    • 11:30 AM 12:30 PM
      • 11:30 AM
        EMBL - EasyGrid: automated Cryo-Electron Microscopy sample grid preparation and control 30m
        Speaker: Gergely Papp (EMBL)
      • 12:00 PM
        EMBL - Robotics assisted pipeline for synchrotron based structural biology 30m
        Speaker: Stefan Fiedler (EMBL)
    • 12:30 PM 1:00 PM