Small- and medium sized enterprises (SME) are currently in a challenging situation. On one hand, they are small, flexible and have low overhead costs. On the other hand, they are dependent on manual work force which makes their competitiveness dependent on the wage level. Due to this, the SMEs have a high pressure to invest in industrial robot systems to reduce the wage. To lower the threshold for SMEs to invest in robot systems, the robots have to be easy to use and be capable to utilize human knowledge during run time. However, this puts high requirements on efficient and intuitive communication between the operator and the industrial robot. The current robot technology, offers a good solution for large volume production. However, small series productions, requires frequently reconfiguration, and requires a more efficient and intuitive interface for man-machine communication. This PhD will develop new technology for man-machine communication which is utilizing multiple human senses in parallel, i.e., vision, audio, haptic etc. By this, the intuitiveness and the efficiency of man-machine communication is intended to be brought to a new level. The Industrial PhD project, will focus on basic research on multi-modal man-machine communication and demonstrate it on selected industrial related robot applications. The focus will be industrial applications where the bottleneck is the man-machine communication, such as man-in-the-control loop, robot systems where the human operator is interacting in real time with a running robot system. This project, Interactive robot operation using multi-modal man-machine communication, is a collaboration between the University of West England and the high tech, industrial robot system integrator, PPM AS in Trondheim. The project is intended to run during September 2016 - August 2019.
Project leader: Trygve Thomessen
Institution: PPM ROBOTICS AS