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Effectiveness and acceptability of a virtual environment for assessing human–robot collaboration in manufacturing

  • Elias Matsas
  • George-Christopher Vosniakos
  • Dimitrios Batras
ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Abstract

A highly immersive and interactive virtual environment was constructed as an experimentation platform for human–robot collaboration in constricting panels from preimpregnated carbon fibre fabrics. The application involves highly collaborative tasks such as handover, removal of adhesive backing strip and fabric layup in a mould. Furthermore, the user is expected to be most of the time within the robot’s workspace, jointly working as teammates on collaborative manufacturing tasks. The environment embeds two interaction metaphors for complex tasks and advocates use of cognitive aids to cultivate proactive behaviour of the user, thus promoting situation awareness, danger perception and enrichment of communication between human and robot. The application was put under test by a group of users. Their experience was registered scholarly through questionnaires and objective observation and is reported in the paper to explore the effectiveness and acceptability of such an environment. Overall, the application was judged positively, especially the use of cognitive aids which, under circumstances turned into alarms and readily provided mental association of collision danger to its cause. Furthermore, some deficiencies were identified pertaining to lack of hand-tracking performance and need to improve the layup metaphor.

Keywords

Human–robot collaboration Virtual environment Cognitive aids Interaction metaphors Situation awareness Composites manufacturing 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elias Matsas
    • 1
  • George-Christopher Vosniakos
    • 1
  • Dimitrios Batras
    • 2
  1. 1.National Technical University of Athens, School of Mechanical EngineeringAthensGreece
  2. 2.University Paris 8, EA 4010—AIAC, INReVSaint-DenisFrance

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