The development of a human-robot interface for industrial collaborative system




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Cranfield University



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Industrial robots have been identified as one of the most effective solutions for optimising output and quality within many industries. However, there are a number of manufacturing applications involving complex tasks and inconstant components which prohibit the use of fully automated solutions in the foreseeable future. A breakthrough in robotic technologies and changes in safety legislations have supported the creation of robots that coexist and assist humans in industrial applications. It has been broadly recognised that human-robot collaborative systems would be a realistic solution as an advanced production system with wide range of applications and high economic impact. This type of system can utilise the best of both worlds, where the robot can perform simple tasks that require high repeatability while the human performs tasks that require judgement and dexterity of the human hands. Robots in such system will operate as “intelligent assistants”. In a collaborative working environment, robot and human share the same working area, and interact with each other. This level of interface will require effective ways of communication and collaboration to avoid unwanted conflicts. This project aims to create a user interface for industrial collaborative robot system through integration of current robotic technologies. The robotic system is designed for seamless collaboration with a human in close proximity. The system is capable to communicate with the human via the exchange of gestures, as well as visual signal which operators can observe and comprehend at a glance. The main objective of this PhD is to develop a Human-Robot Interface (HRI) for communication with an industrial collaborative robot during collaboration in proximity. The system is developed in conjunction with a small scale collaborative robot system which has been integrated using off-the-shelf components. The system should be capable of receiving input from the human user via an intuitive method as well as indicating its status to the user ii effectively. The HRI will be developed using a combination of hardware integrations and software developments. The software and the control framework were developed in a way that is applicable to other industrial robots in the future. The developed gesture command system is demonstrated on a heavy duty industrial robot.


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Human-robot interface, gesture control, human-robot interaction, system communication, teleoperation, automation, robot assistant



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