High‐level programming and control for industrial robotics: using a hand‐held accelerometer‐based input device for gesture and posture recognition

Pedro Neto (Department of Mechanical Engineering – Polo II, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal)
J. Norberto Pires (Department of Mechanical Engineering – Polo II, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal)
A. Paulo Moreira (INESC Porto – Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering of Porto, Porto, Portugal Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal)

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Publication date: 8 March 2010

Abstract

Purpose

Most industrial robots are still programmed using the typical teaching process, through the use of the robot teach pendant. This is a tedious and time‐consuming task that requires some technical expertise, and hence new approaches to robot programming are required. The purpose of this paper is to present a robotic system that allows users to instruct and program a robot with a high‐level of abstraction from the robot language.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents in detail a robotic system that allows users, especially non‐expert programmers, to instruct and program a robot just showing it what it should do, in an intuitive way. This is done using the two most natural human interfaces (gestures and speech), a force control system and several code generation techniques. Special attention will be given to the recognition of gestures, where the data extracted from a motion sensor (three‐axis accelerometer) embedded in the Wii remote controller was used to capture human hand behaviours. Gestures (dynamic hand positions) as well as manual postures (static hand positions) are recognized using a statistical approach and artificial neural networks.

Findings

It is shown that the robotic system presented is suitable to enable users without programming expertise to rapidly create robot programs. The experimental tests showed that the developed system can be customized for different users and robotic platforms.

Research limitations/implications

The proposed system is tested on two different robotic platforms. Since the options adopted are mainly based on standards, it can be implemented with other robot controllers without significant changes. Future work will focus on improving the recognition rate of gestures and continuous gesture recognition.

Practical implications

The key contribution of this paper is that it offers a practical method to program robots by means of gestures and speech, improving work efficiency and saving time.

Originality/value

This paper presents an alternative to the typical robot teaching process, extending the concept of human‐robot interaction and co‐worker scenario. Since most companies do not have engineering resources to make changes or add new functionalities to their robotic manufacturing systems, this system constitutes a major advantage for small‐ to medium‐sized enterprises.

Keywords

Citation

Neto, P., Norberto Pires, J. and Paulo Moreira, A. (2010), "High‐level programming and control for industrial robotics: using a hand‐held accelerometer‐based input device for gesture and posture recognition", Industrial Robot, Vol. 37 No. 2, pp. 137-147. https://doi.org/10.1108/01439911011018911

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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