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A new method for off-line robot programming: applications and limitations using a virtual environment

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2 Author(s)
Boud, A.C. ; Birmingham Univ., UK ; Steiner, S.J.

Virtual reality (VR) is an evolving technology being adopted by manufacturing in areas (such as operator training, and the virtual testing of new products before manufacture), where it is now becoming a widely accepted industrial tool. Of particular note are applications in off-line programming of robots. However, before this concept finds acceptance in industry, countless problems need to be resolved. Several problems are addressed within this paper, including the requirement of an acceptable interaction device, and the subject of haptic and tactile feedback. As manufacturing continually moves to become a more responsive environment, with products having shorter life cycles and batch quantities reducing in size, robot programming times become critical, and hence an area to be addressed in order to seek improved productivity. Off-line programming is one approach, where for example off-line programming within a virtual environment could reduce the required skill levels of a programmer, reduce the programming times, allow the operator a `natural' interface with which the operator would conduct the task in the real world, and reduce the boredom factor. This paper discusses the development of a new approach or method for the off-line programming of robotic devices, indicating some of the potential applications, and highlighting some of the restricting limitations that need to be overcome. The paper also includes a review of previous published work on the off-line programming of robots using VR

Published in:

Factory 2000 - The Technology Exploitation Process, Fifth International Conference on (Conf. Publ. No. 435)

Date of Conference:

2-4 Apr 1997