Bendy robotic arm transformed into shape with the help of augmented reality

Bendy robotic arm transformed into shape with the help of augmented reality

The malleable arm is mostly bent, with a hard part at the end (P6–P5). credit: Imperial College London

Imperial researchers have designed a malleable robotic arm that can be guided into shape by a person using augmented reality (AR) goggles.

The flexible arm, which was designed and built at Imperial College London, can be twisted and twisted in all directions, making it easily adaptable for potential applications in manufacturing, spacecraft maintenance and even injury rehabilitation She goes.

Rather than being constrained by rigid limbs and rigid joints, the versatile hand is easily bendable into a variety of shapes. In practice, people working with the robot will manually bend the arm into the exact shape needed for each task, a level of flexibility made possible by the slippery layers of mylar sheets inside, which slide over each other. and can be locked in place. However, configuring the robot to a specific shape without guidance has proved difficult for users.

To enhance the robot’s user-friendliness, researchers in Imperial’s REDS (Robotic Manipulation: Engineering, Design and Science) lab have designed a system for users to visualize in AR how to configure their robot. Wearing mixed reality smartglasses and through motion tracking cameras, users see in front of them templates and designs applied to their real-world environments. They then adjust the robotic arm until it matches the template, which turns green upon successful configuration to lock the robot in place.

credit: Imperial College London

The paper’s senior author, Dr. Nicolas Rojas from Imperial’s Dyson School of Design Engineering, said: “One of the major issues with accommodating these robots is the accuracy in their new position. We humans are not great at making sure the new positions match. eats template, which is why we looked to AR for help.

“We have shown that AR can make our flexible robots easier to work with. The approach gives users easy-to-build robot positioning for all kinds of applications, without requiring that much technical expertise.”

The researchers tested the system on five men aged 20-26 with experience in robotics, but no experience manipulating specifically malleable robots. Subjects were able to adjust the robot accurately, and the results are published in IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine,

Although the pool of participants was narrow, the researchers say that their initial findings suggest that AR could be a successful approach to the adoption of malleable robots after further testing and user training.

Bendy robotic arm transformed into shape with the help of augmented reality

The AR template turns green to indicate successful configuration. credit: Imperial College London

bent into shape

Potential applications include manufacturing, and building and vehicle maintenance. Since the arm is lighter, it can also be used on spacecraft where low-weight devices are preferred. It is also gentle enough that it can be used in injury rehabilitation, helping one patient perform exercises while their physiotherapist performs another.

Co-first author Ph.D. Researchers Alex Rane and Angus Clark, from the Dyson School of Design Engineering, said: “In many ways it can be seen as a separate, twisted, third hand. It can help in many situations where an extra limb may come in handy. and help spread the workload.”

Researchers are still in the process of perfecting the robot as well as its AR component. Next, they will focus on introducing tactile and audio elements to AR to boost its accuracy in configuring the robot.

They are also looking at strengthening the robot. Although their flexibility and softness make them easier to configure and perhaps even safer for humans to work with, they tend to be less rigid in the locked position, which can affect accuracy and precision.

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more information:
Alex Rane et al, Augmented Reality-Assisted Reengineering and Vertical Views of Flexible Robots: Vertical Modification via Holographic Guidance, IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine (2022). DOI: 10.1109/mra.2022.3141973

Provided by Imperial College London

Citation: Bendy Robotic Arm Transformed into Shape with the Help of Augmented Reality (2022, March 4), published March 29, 2022 at Retrieved from .html.

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