Creating a Better (Safer) Robot and Human Partnership

Jun 15, 2011

Each year the robotic technology continues to advance and increase the precision and repeatability on the production line. Industrial robots bring a lot of strength and humans have the ability to now safely and collaboratively work together. Collaborative robot technology is helping to improve the productivity on the production line and bring the human and robot relationship closer.


Robot tech­nol­o­gy is on the brink of yet anoth­er major advance­ment. The goal is increased coop­er­a­tion between robot­ic and human work­ers. Find out what this will mean for robot tech­nol­o­gy and robot users.

Rea­sons for Head­ing in the Direc­tion of Col­lab­o­ra­tion:
Robots and humans bring dif­fer­ent strengths to the table. Indus­tri­al robots are capa­ble of per­form­ing with pre­ci­sion and repeata­bil­i­ty. They are also extreme­ly strong. Humans, on the oth­er hand, offer the abil­i­ty to rea­son and to adapt to ever chang­ing sce­nar­ios and chal­lenges.

If robots and humans can work togeth­er safe­ly, their respec­tive strengths will def­i­nite­ly com­pli­ment one anoth­er. Such col­lab­o­ra­tion will open up new hori­zons for man­u­fac­tur­ing. Thanks to advance­ments in tech­nol­o­gy, it won’t be long before this dream of robot and human coop­er­a­tion becomes a real­i­ty.

Pre­vi­ous­ly, the tech­nol­o­gy has not been suf­fi­cient­ly advanced to accom­mo­date safe robot and human col­lab­o­ra­tion. Robots have been restrict­ed to heav­i­ly safe­guard­ed cell enclo­sures (work­cells).

A safer, adap­tive indus­tri­al robot will be able to work along­side a human — feed­ing parts back and forth, hold­ing some­thing steady while it is worked on, etc. Plus, pro­gram­ming could become more adap­tive and quick if humans could inter­act direct­ly by phys­i­cal­ly guid­ing the robot­ic arm to teach it.

How the Robot Will Evolve:
Changes to the robot manip­u­la­tor, tool­ing, sen­sors, pro­gram­ming, soft­ware, and vision hard­ware, will be nec­es­sary before robots can work along­side humans. Some of these devel­op­ments have already tak­en place.

Already, sev­er­al robot man­u­fac­tur­ers have devel­oped safer robots capa­ble of work­ing in clos­er prox­im­i­ty with humans. KUKA Robot­ics cre­at­ed the LWR (light­weight robot) and ABB Robot­ics built FRI­DA, a dual-arm robot. It’s just a mat­ter of time before oth­er robot man­u­fac­tur­ers cre­ate addi­tion­al manip­u­la­tors. Researchers at the Tech­ni­cal Uni­ver­si­ty at Munich have made sig­nif­i­cant head­way with a project called JAHIR: Joint-Action for Humans and Indus­tri­al Robots.

In addi­tion, advance­ments in EOAT, such as the Robo­t­iq Adap­tive Grip­per, are lead­ing the way to more ver­sa­tile robot­ic abil­i­ties and human-robot col­lab­o­ra­tion. A num­ber of dif­fer­ent vision hard­ware and soft­ware options have appeared on the mar­ket recent­ly (for exam­ple: Motoman’s Moto­Sight 3D).

For more infor­ma­tion con­tact the experts at Robots​.com today online or at 8777626881.

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