the solution & The HIVE Pavilion – Human-Robot interaction
Autodesk’s Robotics Lab is using Universal Robots’ collaborative robot arms (cobots) to address these challenges in research projects spanning human-robot interactions, machine learning, drawing and smart assembly systems. Four recent projects include:
The HIVE Pavilion – Human-Robot interaction
The HIVE was a pavilion built out of raw bamboo and fiber string in close collaboration between conference attendees at Autodesk University, ICD University of Stuttgart, Autodesk Robotics Lab, and UR robots. The goal was for users to experience a seamless integration between robotic manufacturing, wearables, RFID tracking, and intelligence embedded in the building pieces. It was a formidable challenge. Raw bamboo is a very uneven, bendable material with different lengths and widths. “When we started, we weren’t really sure to what extent we could work with our robot and help it understand the uncertainty and the variability that we were giving it,” explains Heather Kerrick, Senior Research Engineer at Autodesk’s Robotics Lab. “We were really proud of our ability to empower the robot by giving it sensors and decision-making abilities and then act on that accordingly.”
The Hive Pavilion was built at “winding stations” where attendees fastened three random pieces of bamboo onto a Universal Robot that generated the necessary movement sequence to hook fiber on the tips of the bamboo to create a unique, tumble weed-looking tensegrity element. “The UR robots were able to offer very precise movements and very precise measurements that would have been difficult for a human to do on-site, so the human didn’t need anywhere near as many measuring tools or equipment,” says Kerrick, while also emphasizing the safety aspect. “We’re doing experimental research where the robots are moving based on real-time sensor data, so the chance of the robot doing something unexpected is really high,” explains Kerrick, adding that had her team used a larger, more industrial robot, they wouldn’t have been able to engage with the public in the same way and it would have been a much slower research project. “But with the Universal Robots, we were able to be a little more daring with our research because we could trust that the robot wouldn’t break itself, and wouldn’t pose a danger to others.” The Autodesk team successfully built the HIVE in three days.