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The integration of industrial robots into the human workspace presents a set of unique challenges. This paper introduces a new sensory system for modeling, tracking, and predicting human motions within a robot workspace. A reactive control scheme to modify a robot's operations for accommodating the presence of the human within the robot workspace is also presented. To this end, a special class of artificial neural networks, namely, self-organizing maps (SOMs), is employed for obtaining a superquadric-based model of the human. The SOM network receives information of the human's footprints from the sensory system and infers necessary data for rendering the human model. The model is then used in order to assess the danger of the robot operations based on the measured as well as predicted human motions. This is followed by the introduction of a new reactive control scheme that results in the least interferences between the human and robot operations. The approach enables the robot to foresee an upcoming danger and take preventive actions before the danger becomes imminent. Simulation and experimental results are presented in order to validate the effectiveness of the proposed method.
Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part B: Cybernetics, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:41 , Issue: 2 )
Date of Publication: April 2011