HoLLiE – The Assistance Robot

A Flexible and Mobile Service Robot as a Support for Everyday Tasks

The robot HoLLIE

The combination of robust state-of-the-art industrial components with a flexible software framework for environment perception and robot control enables HoLLiE to manage complex tasks easily and support people in everyday situations.

General Information

HoLLiE is a mobile, bi-manual service robot that was developed at the FZI Karlsruhe as part of the “House of Living Labs” (HoLL). In the future the robot will carry out different tasks within the HoLL to accompany visitors, provide assistance and be of service. It comes as no surprise, then, how we arrived at the robot’s name: HoLLiE is an Acronym for “House of Living Labs intelligent Escort“. HoLLiE’s mobile platform has a footprint of 80 x 80 cm so she fits through almost all doors. Standing upright, the robot is 142 cm tall. Thanks to its active torso, the shoulder height can vary between 96 and 124 cm. The complete weight including all batteries is approximately 160 kg. Nevertheless, the slim design gives HoLLiE a graceful appearance. With, arms, hands and shoulders stretched out, HoLLiE can span up to a width of 250 cm. The 49 active degrees of freedom offer an impressively huge workspace (yellow area in the image on the right).

Innovations and targeted objectives

One of HoLLiE's outstanding features is her ability to reach the floor by bending the body forwards, allowing her to pick up objects from the ground. This requires a motion planning software that not only considers potential collisions but also the tip-over stability of the robot.

The extensive functionality of the hardware components gives us a basis for conducting a wide range of research topics. Amongs other things, HoLLiE is a test platform for cutting-edge GPU-based real-time motion planning algorithms. These allow the robot to quickly adapt her motions to a dynamic environment. Quick reactions allow us to employ HoLLiE next to humans.

With the help of speech synthesis software, a microphone array and an innovative LED-based information system within the body, HoLLiE offers possibilities for human-machine interaction that goes well beyond simple information services. New tasks can be commanded to the robot via intuitive 3D gesture recognition. This also enables users to teach HoLLiE new trajectories, as the robot can mimic and store human motion sequences.

By constantly enhancing the abilities that make HoLLiE an universal service robot, we can realize plenty of new interesting research opportunities.

Specifications and facts

  • Omnidirectional, mobile platform with Mecanum wheels
  • 2 Schunk Powerball lightweight arms with 6 degrees of freedom each
  • 2 DLR/HIT II Anthropomorphic hands with 15 degrees of freedom each
  • 3 additional degrees of freedom in the torso, two are actively actuated
  • 2 joints in the neck to freely pan and tilt the head with the cameras
  • 2 powerful embedded onboard computers
  • 2 SICK LMS 100 laser range finders just above ground
  • Microsoft Kinect 3D Sensor and stereo vision system for user interaction and environment perception
  • 360° LED ring within the lower torso, displaying 2 million colors to visualize information intuitively
  • Pleasing Design with 3D printed covers combined with soft fabric surfaces
  • Wireless operation time of several hours through large internal batteries, or continous operation via external power supply. On-the-fly switching is possible.
  • Virtual testing of all functionalities within a software simulation environment for safe development of new features

Application Scenarios


HoLLie showed off her capabilities of gesture based control for the first time at the international CeBIT fair 2012 in Hanover, Germany. At ICRA 2013 in Karlsruhe, we demonstrated the vast improvement of HoLLiE’s workspace using her new actuated torso to grasp laundry from the floor.

Further application scenarios include:

  • Pick-up and delivery services in domestic environments, e.g. in Smart Homes of the future
  • Support for nursing and care services by taking over repetitive standard tasks, transportation jobs or acting as a telemedicine interface
  • Information and attendant services in larger public facilities such as museums, fairs, etc.

In the video HoLLiE demonstrates one of its outstanding features: The articulated body that enables the robot to grasp rigid objects and clothes from the floor.


Dipl.-Ing. Arne Rönnau

Department Manager



Arne Rönnau studierte von 2002 bis 2008 Elektrotechnik und Informationstechnik an der Universität Karlsruhe (TH). Die Schwerpunkte des Studiums lagen in den Bereichen der Regelungs- und Steuerungstechnik sowie Robotik. Seine Diplomarbeit befasste sich mit der Steuerung und 3D-Umweltmodellierung für den sechsbeinigen Laufroboter LAURON. Diese führte er in Kooperation mit der Technischen Universität Karlsruhe in der Abteilung Interaktive Diagnose- und Servicesysteme (IDS) am Forschungszentrum Informatik (FZI) durch. Seit November 2008 ist er wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter in der Abteilung IDS und arbeitet an der Optimierung von technischen Laufvorgängen (Laufroboter LAURON), 3D-Datenerfasssung und Umweltmodellierung sowie der Entwicklung innovativer Serviceroboter.

Seit April 2011 leitet er die Abteilung Interaktive Diagnose- und Servicesysteme (IDS).


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