Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Human arm sensors make robot smarter

Date:
January 16, 2014
Source:
Georgia Institute of Technology
Summary:
Using arm sensors that can “read” a person’s muscle movements, researchers have created a control system that makes robots more intelligent. The sensors send information to the robot, allowing it to anticipate a human’s movements and correct its own. The system is intended to improve time, safety and efficiency in manufacturing plants.

The Georgia Tech system eliminates the vibrations by using sensors worn on a controller’s forearm. The devices send muscle movements to a computer, which provides the robot with the operator’s level of muscle contraction.
Credit: Georgia Institute of Technology

Using arm sensors that can "read" a person's muscle movements, Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have created a control system that makes robots more intelligent. The sensors send information to the robot, allowing it to anticipate a human's movements and correct its own. The system is intended to improve time, safety and efficiency in manufacturing plants.

It's not uncommon to see large, fast-moving robots on manufacturing floors. Humans seldom work next to them because of safety reasons. Some jobs, however, require people and robots to work together. For example, a person hanging a car door on a hinge uses a lever to guide a robot carrying the door. The power-assisting device sounds practical but isn't easy to use.

"It turns into a constant tug of war between the person and the robot," explains Billy Gallagher, a recent Georgia Tech Ph.D. graduate in robotics who led the project. "Both react to each other's forces when working together. The problem is that a person's muscle stiffness is never constant, and a robot doesn't always know how to correctly react."

For example, as human operators shift the lever forward or backward, the robot recognizes the command and moves appropriately. But when they want to stop the movement and hold the lever in place, people tend to stiffen and contract muscles on both sides of their arms. This creates a high level of co-contraction.

"The robot becomes confused. It doesn't know whether the force is purely another command that should be amplified or 'bounced' force due to muscle co-contraction," said Jun Ueda, Gallagher's advisor and a professor in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. "The robot reacts regardless."

The robot responds to that bounced force, creating vibration. The human operators also react, creating more force by stiffening their arms. The situation and vibrations become worse.

"You don't want instability when a robot is carrying a heavy door," said Ueda.

The Georgia Tech system eliminates the vibrations by using sensors worn on a controller's forearm. The devices send muscle movements to a computer, which provides the robot with the operator's level of muscle contraction. The system judges the operator's physical status and intelligently adjusts how it should interact with the human. The result is a robot that moves easily and safely.

"Instead of having the robot react to a human, we give it more information," said Gallagher. "Modeling the operator in this way allows the robot to actively adjust to changes in the way the operator moves."

Ueda will continue to improve the system using a $1.2 million National Robotics Initiative grant supported by a National Science Foundation grant (1317718) to better understand the mechanisms of neuromotor adaptation in human-robot physical interaction. The research is intended to benefit communities interested in the adaptive shared control approach for advanced manufacturing and process design, including automobile, aerospace and military.

"Future robots must be able to understand people better," Ueda said. "By making robots smarter, we can make them safer and more efficient."

The research team also includes Associate Professor Minoru Shinohara (Applied Physiology), Assistant Professor Karen Feigh (Aerospace Engineering) and Professor Emeritus Wayne Book (Mechanical Engineering).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Georgia Institute of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Georgia Institute of Technology. "Human arm sensors make robot smarter." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140116112720.htm>.
Georgia Institute of Technology. (2014, January 16). Human arm sensors make robot smarter. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140116112720.htm
Georgia Institute of Technology. "Human arm sensors make robot smarter." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140116112720.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Computers & Math News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Apple iPhone 6 Screen Hits Snag Ahead of Launch

Apple iPhone 6 Screen Hits Snag Ahead of Launch

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 22, 2014) — Reuters has learned Apple is scrambling to get enough screens ready for the iPhone 6. Sources say it's unclear whether this could delay the launch. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apple's iMessage Really Being Overrun By Spammers?

Is Apple's iMessage Really Being Overrun By Spammers?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — A report says more than one third of all SMS spam over the past year came from a "single campaign" using iMessage and targeting iPhone users. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Families Can Now Ask Twitter To Remove Photos Of Deceased

Families Can Now Ask Twitter To Remove Photos Of Deceased

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — In the wake of a high-profile harassment case, Twitter says family members can ask for photos of dying or dead relatives to be taken down. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ballmer Leaves Microsoft's Board, Has Advice For Nadella

Ballmer Leaves Microsoft's Board, Has Advice For Nadella

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — In a letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Ballmer said he's leaving the board of directors and offered tips on how the company can be successful. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins