A new approach to the anthropocentric design of human-robot collaborative environments
This paper deals with collaborative robotics by highlighting the main issues linked to the interaction between humans and robots. A critical study of the standards in force on human-robot interaction and the current principles on workplace design for human-robot collaboration (HRC) are presented. The paper focuses on an anthropocentric paradigm in which the human becomes the core of the workplace in combination with the robot, and it presents a basis for designing workplaces through two key concepts: (i) the introduction of human and robot spaces as elementary spaces and (ii) the dynamic variations of the elementary spaces in shape, size and position. According to this paradigm, the limitations of a safety-based approach, introduced by the standards, are overcome by positioning the human and the robot inside the workplace and managing their interaction through the elementary spaces. The introduced concepts, in combination with the safety prescriptions, have been organised by means of a multi-level graph for driving the HRC design phase. The collaborative workplace is separated into sublevels. The main elements of a collaborative workplace are identified and their relationships presented by means of digraphs.