Abstract: This paper presents a user-centered physical interface for collaborative mobile manipulators in industrial manufacturing and logistics applications. The proposed work builds on our earlier MOCA-MAN interface, through which a mobile manipulator could be physically coupled to the operators to assist them in performing daily activities. The new interface instead presents the following additions: i) A simplistic, industrial-like design that allows the worker to couple/decouple easily and to operate mobile manipulators locally; ii) Enhanced loco-manipulation capabilities that do not compromise the worker mobility. Besides, an experimental evaluation with six human subjects is carried out to analyze the enhanced locomotion and flexibility of the proposed interface in terms of mobility constraint, usability, and physical load reduction.
Authors: Juan M. Gandarias, Pietro Balatti, Edoardo Lamon, Marta Lorenzini, Arash Ajoudani (Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia)