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Design of a virtual reality training system for human–robot collaboration in manufacturing tasks

  • Elias Matsas
  • George-Christopher Vosniakos
Original Paper

Abstract

This paper presents a highly interactive and immersive Virtual Reality Training System (VRTS) (“beWare of the Robot”) in terms of a serious game that simulates in real-time the cooperation between industrial robotic manipulators and humans, executing simple manufacturing tasks. The scenario presented refers to collaborative handling in tape-laying for building aerospace composite parts. The tools, models and techniques developed and used to build the “beWare of the Robot” application are described. System setup and configuration are presented in detail, as well as user tracking and navigation issues. Special emphasis is given to the interaction techniques used to facilitate implementation of virtual human–robot (HR) collaboration. Safety issues, such as contacts and collisions are mainly tackled through “emergencies”, i.e. warning signals in terms of visual stimuli and sound alarms. Mental safety is of utmost priority and the user is provided augmented situational awareness and enhanced perception of the robot’s motion due to immersion and real-time interaction offered by the VRTS as well as by special warning stimuli. The short-term goal of the research was to investigate users’ enhanced experience and behaviour inside the virtual world while cooperating with the robot and positive pertinent preliminary findings are presented and briefly discussed. In the longer term, the system can be used to investigate acceptability of H–R collaboration and, ultimately, serve as a platform for programming collaborative H–R manufacturing cells.

Keywords

Virtual reality Human–robot collaboration Safety  Manufacturing training Interaction Serious game 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research has been co-financed by the European Union (European Social Fund—ESF) and Greek national funds through the Operational Program “Education and Lifelong Learning” of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF)—Research Funding Program: Heracleitus II. Investing in knowledge society through the European Social Fund. The authors would also like to thank Dimitrios Batras, MSc, for his generous help in programming, his motivation and his helpful comments during the development of the application.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag France 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Mechanical EngineeringNational Technical University of AthensZografou-AthensGreece

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