Can the use of virtual tools improve Human Robot Collaboration?

One reason why implementing human-robot collaboration (HRC) is a challenge is the extensive background work involved. What tasks should collaborative robots take over from humans? If only there was a tool that could do this for us. But there is, at least in the making. Former Ph.D student Niklas Land and professor Anna Syberfeldt from the University of Skövde, with the help of VF-KDO partner Volvo Group looked into this question and the outcome is a virtual simulation tool.

The actual case

The case Niklas Land and Anna Syberfeldt was provided with concerned the lifting of a valve cover onto a truck engine, a task with ergonomic problems, causing strain including shoulder injuries to humans. This was a case that provided the researchers with valuable input for the development and evaluation of the tool.

The virtual simulation tool

What this tool, based on the case supplied by Volvo Group, does is to allow the user to test the potential HRC task over and over again in VR. A task that is constructed in the virtual model of the production line. The user can easily move things around to make sure the robot and human are positioned optimally, as well as evaluate and practise the work sequence in a safe environment.

Demonstrator development ahead

The next step is to develop a demonstrator at ASSAR Industrial Innovation Arena to allow for further evaluation of the tool using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Then the tool will be verified in an actual production environment.

Watch the presentation

Former Ph.D student Niklas Land and professor Anna Syberfeldt gave a presentation of the case in November of last year. If you have not watched it, here is your chance.