On the development of an ergonomic approach for the design of an industrial robotic coworker
Authors: Ana Colim, André Cardoso, Estela Bicho, Luís Louro, Carla Alves, Pedro Ribeiro, Débora Pereira, Sérgio Monteiro, Nélson Costa, Paula Carneiro, Sacha Mould, João Oliveira, Duarte Fernandes, Pedro Arezes
Abstract: As industries push for continuous technological innovation to boost their competitiveness, the need to balance techno-economical goals with emerging societal needs is now more pressing than ever. Inspired by the novel paradigm of Industry 5.0, we aim to place human physical and cognitive needs at the center of the production process, introducing proactive and human-aware robots capable of collaboration as co-workers. Although Human-Robot Collaboration (HRC) has successfully permeated different industrial sectors, they still have a relatively limited role as agents that share the human workspace mostly executing pre-programmed actions. Based on this gap a research project is ongoing, including researchers in Ergonomics and Robotics. The current article presents the first stage related to the design of a workstation prototype that emulates industrial tasks and will allow us to explore the different HRC scenarios. The selection of the assembly task was supported by ergonomic assessment (Rapid Upper Limb Assessment), and questionnaires focused on the workers' psychophysical and cognitive overload perceived. Then, the CoppeliaSim simulation software was used to allow us to accurately reproduce both the visual and the physical aspects of the prototype, including the model of a humanoid abstract avatar. In addition, a set of ergonomic and safety requirements were defined to support the human-centered design of the prototype. The results of this research phase will be important for the next steps of our project and for other researchers/industrial practitioners focused on the human-centered design of HRC scenarios.
Keywords: Human-robot collaboration, Human-centered design, Ergonomics and Human Factors
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