Working safety in work places is essential for everyone. However involvement of robots in the surrounding makes it relatively harder for a good level of safety to be achieved. Moreover, working safety does not only revolve around processes but also context. This denotes that it is crucial to understand the work environment and circumstances involved. If robots have the ability to predict what people will do next, it might help make work environments less accident prone.
In order to achieve this, researchers have developed a new system that would empower robots with a good level of context awareness. This is a ground-breaking advancement for Collaborative Robot Market as now robots would be able to work side-by-side with humans on assembly lines with better efficiency and without any unnecessary interruptions.
The newly developed human-robot collaboration system can easily judge distance between itself and its human co-workers. Moreover, it has additional functions as well, such as; it can identify each worker it works with and his skeleton model (abstract body mass). With the help of such information, the context-aware robot system can determine a worker’s given body posture and can simultaneously predict the next pose. These powers within the robot enable it to have a context and be aware while interacting with fellow workers.
The team revealed that the new system operate through AI (Artificial Intelligence) that needs less computational power and compact datasets, in contrast to the traditional machine learning systems. The context-aware robot system rather depends on machine learning referred to as transfer learning. This form is known for reusing the knowledge developed during training and then adapted into an operational model.
The researchers stated that the technology is novel and way ahead of its time and the standards set by ISO (International Organization for Standards) for collaborative robot safety. Thus, implementation of such a technology would need industrial action. As per standards of ISO and technical specification, a robot needs to be aware enough that it slows down whenever a human comes to it and if the person gets too close then it completely stops. In addition, it should also be able to restart working when the person moves away from it. The team believes these specifications to be quite level which might result in low productivity.
They compared the context-aware robots with self0driving cars that have the ability to stop when the light is red and then again move when it goes green. It does not only slow down and stop but adjusts its cruising while at an intersection. Similarly, researchers provided that with context, a robot can also operate with more efficiency and safely without losing production level. This was proved through a test, wherein, something intercepted the robot’s path and instead of slowing down or stopping, it adjusted its speed. The robot was able to anticipate the suture trajectory of the hand and its arm moved around the hand accordingly.
The team is optimistic that this new system will be safe when it comes to the technical point of view in avoiding accidents and workplaces. If robots are able to recognize it will also provide an extra layer of safety in the assembly line, which will be highly beneficial for the market.
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