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The coexistence of humans and industrial robots in a common workspace provides the advantage of increased flexibility in production or longer system up-time during maintenance. However, it is fundamentally necessary to guarantee the safety of the human. This paper presents an approach that uses a specialized tracking-vision-chip to realize a high-speed emergency-stop for safe human-robot-coexistence. The presented approach uses the ability of the vision-chip to perform pixel-parallel masking and fast summation-operations on binary images to detect whether the robot and human are too close. After initial evaluation in a (semi)-simulation, the approach was realized in an experimental system. Even with only a small 8-bit microcontroller controlling the vision-chip and the communication, a cycle time of more than 500Hz was achieved.
Date of Conference: 2-6 Aug. 2005