Optimization techniques for an ergonomic human-robot interaction

Abstract : Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) is a growing field in the robotic community. By its very nature it brings together researchers from various domains including psychology, sociology and obviously robotics who are shaping and designing the robots people will interact with ona daily basis. As human and robots starts working in a shared environment, the diversity of tasks theycan accomplish together is rapidly increasing. This creates challenges and raises concerns tobe addressed in terms of safety and acceptance of the robotic systems. Human beings havespecific needs and expectations that have to be taken into account when designing robotic interactions. In a sense, there is a strong need for a truly ergonomic human-robot interaction.In this thesis, we propose methods to include ergonomics and human factors in the motions and decisions planning algorithms, to automatize this process of generating an ergonomicinteraction. The solutions we propose make use of cost functions that encapsulate the humanneeds and enable the optimization of the robot’s motions and choices of actions. We haveapplied our method to two common problems of human-robot interaction.First, we propose a method to increase the legibility of the robot motions to achieve abetter understanding of its intentions. Our approach does not require modeling the conceptof legible motions but penalizes the trajectories that leads to late or mispredictions of therobot’s intentions during a live execution of a shared task. In several user studies we achievesubstantial gains in terms of prediction time and reduced interpretation errors.Second, we tackle the problem of choosing actions and planning motions that maximize thephysical ergonomics on the human side. Using a well-accepted ergonomic evaluation functionof human postures, we simulate the actions and motions of both the human and the robot,to accomplish a specific task, while avoiding situations where the human could be at risk interms of working posture. The conducted user studies show that our method leads to saferworking postures and a better perceived interaction.
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Baptiste Busch. Optimization techniques for an ergonomic human-robot interaction. Robotique [cs.RO]. Université de Bordeaux, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018BORD0027⟩. ⟨tel-01728902v2⟩

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