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A neural network based monitoring system for safety in shared work-space human-robot collaboration

Hemant Rajnathsing (College of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing, China)
Chenggang Li (College of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing, China)

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Article publication date: 15 August 2018

Issue publication date: 29 August 2018

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338

Abstract

Purpose

Human–robot collaboration (HRC) is on the rise in a bid for improved flexibility in production cells. In the context of overlapping workspace between a human operator and an industrial robot, the major cause for concern rests on the safety of the former.

Design/methodology/approach

In light of recent advances and trends, this paper proposes to implement a monitoring system for the shared workspace HRC, which supplements the robot, to locate the human operator and to ensure that at all times a minimum safe distance is respected by the robot with respect to its human partner. The monitoring system consists of four neural networks, namely, an object detector, two neural networks responsible for assessing the detections and a simple, custom speech recognizer.

Findings

It was observed that with due consideration of the production cell, it is possible to create excellent data sets which result in promising performances of the neural networks. Each neural network can be further improved by using its mistakes as examples thrown back in the data set. Thus, the whole monitoring system can achieve a reliable performance.

Practical implications

Success of the proposed framework may lead to any industrial robot being suitable for use in HRC.

Originality/value

This paper proposes a system comprising neural networks in most part, and it looks at a digital representation of the workspace from a different angle. The exclusive use of neural networks is seen as an attempt to propose a system which can be relatively easily deployed in industrial settings as neural networks can be fine-tuned for adjustments.

Keywords

Citation

Rajnathsing, H. and Li, C. (2019), "A neural network based monitoring system for safety in shared work-space human-robot collaboration", Industrial Robot, Vol. 45 No. 4, pp. 481-491. https://doi.org/10.1108/IR-04-2018-0079

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited