Virtual Lead-through Robot Programming: Programming Virtual Robot by Demonstration

This report describes the development of an application which allows a user to program a robot in a virtual environment by the use of hand motions and gestures. The application is inspired by the use of robot lead-through programming which is an easy and hands-on approach for programming robots.

This method saves on the economy and prevents contamination of the environment. To convey hand gesture information into the application which will be implemented for Robot Studio, a Kinect sensor is used for entering the data into the virtual environment. Similar work has been performed before where, by using hand movements, a physical robot’s movement can be manipulated, but for virtual robots not so much.

The results could simplify the process of programming robots and supports the work towards Human-Robot Collaboration as it allows people to interact and communicate with robots, a major focus of this work. The application was developed in the programming language C# and has two different functions that interact with each other, one for the Kinect and its tracking and the other for installing the application in Robot Studio and implementing the calculated data into the robot. The Kinect’s functionality is utilized through three simple hand gestures to jog and create targets for the robot: open, closed and “lasso”.

A prototype of this application was completed which through motions allowed the user to teach a virtual robot desired tasks by moving it to different positions and saving them by doing hand gestures. The prototype could be applied to both one-armed robots as well as to a two-armed robot such as ABB’s YuMi. The robot’s orientation while running was too complicated to be developed and implemented in time and became the application’s main bottleneck, but remained as one of several other suggestions for further work in this project.
Source: University of Skovde
Author: Boberg, Arvid

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