Robots: Humans' Dependable Helpers

Technologies in Robotic Systems

Workplace Monitoring Sensors

Sensor Systems that Monitor the Safety of Human-Robot Collaboration

Along with the elimination of their strict separation, future flexible and dynamic work and production environments will require cooperation and collaboration of humans and robots in shared work areas. Humans’ safety will have to be guaranteed. Current developments in projects such as ViERforES and EXECELL include optical monitoring system that both detect potential collisions between humans and robots and respond with appropriate strategies (path planning, change of speed).

© Fraunhofer IFF, Dirk Mahler
© Fraunhofer IFF
© Fraunhofer IFF

Multi-sensor System for Optical Workplace Monitoring

A sensor system consisting of a combination of a stereo camera and time-of-flight (ToF) camera compensates for the weaknesses of single systems and generates a robust three-dimensional map of the area monitored. Imaging processes are employed that both filter and classify data measured by the ToF camera and reduce the stereo system’s computational complexity by intelligently processing domains full of attributes.

Sensor-based workspace monitoring with dynamic planning of safety zones using a hybrid sensor system.

Planning Algorithm for Dynamically Establishing Safeguarded Areas

We have developed algorithms, which dynamically generate safe zones as a function of a robot’s geometry, current location and position and planned trajectory, to generate safeguarded areas. They are optimized on the motion sequences subsequently executed by the robot and clear as much of the space for use by humans as possible. A monitored area is discretized and additionally structured hierarchically to facilitate real-time responses to intrusions detected in a safeguarded area.

Projection and Camera-based System for Optical Workplace Monitoring

Our patent pending safety system based on classic projector and camera equipment is an innovative monitoring solution. Monitored safeguarded areas (safe and/or danger zones) are projected direct into an environment, e.g. onto the floor. The surrounding cameras reliably detect Interruptions of the projected beams indicating intrusions in the safeguarded zones. The system responds in real time. Intrinsically safe, it monitors the function of its components. It uses modulated and pulsed light to reduce the influence of dynamically changing ambient conditions. When the system is connected with robot controllers, the shape, location and size of safeguarded areas can be modified dynamically as a function of the robots’ location and speed. Additional information or information on the robot’s condition can be overlaid at the same time for users.

Sensor-based workplace monitoring using an active projection system.