The purpose of this paper is to eliminate instability which may occur when a human stiffens his arms in physical human–robot interaction by estimating the human hand stiffness and presenting a modified vibration index.
Human hand stiffness is first estimated in real time as a prior indicator of instability by capturing the arm configuration and modeling the level of muscle co-contraction in the human’s arms. A time-domain vibration index based on the interaction force is then modified to reduce the delay in instability detection. The instability is confirmed when the vibration index exceeds a given threshold. The virtual damping coefficient in admittance controller is adjusted accordingly to ensure stability in physical human–robot interaction.
By estimating the human hand stiffness and modifying the vibration index, the instability which may occur in stiff environment in physical human–robot interaction is detected and eliminated, and the time delay is reduced. The experimental results demonstrate significant improvement in stabilizing the system when the human operator stiffens his arms.
The originality is in estimating the human hand stiffness online as a prior indicator of instability by capturing the arm configuration and modeling the level of muscle co-contraction in the human’s arms. A modification of the vibration index is also an originality to reduce the time delay of instability detection.
Funding: This work was partially supported by National Key R&D Program of China (2017YFB1301600), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (61673136), and the High Level Talent Project of Quanzhou City under Grant No.2017ZT015.
Bian, F., Ren, D., Li, R. and Liang, P. (2019), "Improving stability in physical human–robot interaction by estimating human hand stiffness and a vibration index", Industrial Robot, Vol. 46 No. 4, pp. 529-540. https://doi.org/10.1108/IR-05-2018-0111
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