Human-robot collaboration (HRC): from modular robotic grasping to obstacle aided locomotion for search and rescue
Human-machine interaction studies people’s behaviour and attitudes towards machines, to facilitate the emergence of interactions that are at the same time efficient, but also acceptable to people, and meet the social and emotional needs as well as respecting human values. Machines interacting with humans are being introduced in safety-critical infrastructure across a growing number of applications. In this perspective, a robust control framework for safe control of industrial robotic manipulators is needed.
Regarding this aspect, JOpenShowVar, a Java open-source cross-platform communication interface to KUKA industrial robots, is presented. Based on this interface, a digital twin simulation model is developed. When designing a workspace where human and machine work hand in hand, it is very relevant to design safe grasping mechanisms. A possible solution consists in developing gasping manipulators that can be safely operated and controlled with human-friendly interfaces. This can be inspired by the way humans grasp objects. Specifically, a synergistic control method is adopted in order to mimic not only the “hardware” but also the “software” that characterises the human hand. This novel control method opens up to a variety of possible applications such as controlling the developed robotic manipulators with an electroencephalography (EEG) headset. This make human-machine interaction more immersing and intuitive.
During human-robot interaction, it is often necessary for human users to command the robot’s locomotion in different types of environments. In nature, limbless organisms such as snakes may exploit rocks, stones, branches, obstacles, or other irregularities in the terrain as a means of propulsion to achieve locomotion. This remarkable ability allows biological snakes to be exceptionally adaptable to various types of environments. Snake robots that can replicate this range of behaviour could enable a variety of possible applications for use in challenging real-life operations and hazardous or confined areas that conventional robots (i.e., wheeled, tracked and legged) and humans are unable to access, such as explorations of earthquake-hit areas, pipe inspections for the oil and gas industry, fire-fighting operations, and search-and-rescue activities (SAR). To give researchers a novel snake robot that is inexpensive to manufacture, easily customisable, and fast to fabricate, Serpens, a newly-designed low-cost, open-source, and highly-compliant multi-purpose modular snake robot with series elastic actuators (SEA) is presented. Regarding SAR, the cooperation between robots and humans is crucial since it involves both potential victims as well as first responders. To achieve an effective human-robot collaboration the manipulation capability of robotic manipulators and the flexible locomotion mobility of snake robots could be transparently combined in the future.
Filippo Sanfilippo holds a PhD in Engineering Cybernetics from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway, with a focus on alternative and flexible control approaches for robotic manipulators. His research interests include robotics, wearables, software engineering, human-robot interaction, artificial intelligence and control theory. He is currently appointed as an Associate Professor at the Dept. of Engineering Sciences, University of Agder (UiA), Norway, as well as a Professor 2 at the Dept. of Machine, Electronics and Chemistry Electronics and IT, Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway. He carries a vast experience in participating to European research programs and various national projects from the Research Council of Norway (RCN), Norway.
He is an IEEE Senior Member. He is currently the Membership Development Officer for the IEEE Norway Section. He is also the treasurer of the IEEE Robotics and Automation, Control Systems and Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Chapter. He is also the treasurer of the Norsk Forening for Kunstig Intelligens (NAIS), the Norwegian Association for Artificial Intelligence. He has authored and co-authored several technical papers in various journals and conferences. He is a reviewer for several international conferences and journals.
Chair: Prof. Fabrizio Lamberti