Mixed reality interface to facilitate cobot work

Meet Natalia Sempere Maciá and Celia Redondo Verdú. They’ve been working on developing an accessible and easy-to-use interface for cobot programming. The work has been done within VF-KDO together with ABB and Skandia Elevator. Earlier this week Natalia and Celia presented their interface for researchers and industry.

Natalia and Celia, both 21 years old, came here from Spain via the Erasmus+ program in their third year. Quite soon, VF-KDO noticed the engagement from the two in robotics and engineering and offered them positions as research assistants so that they would have time to keep developing the interface they’d started.

– And we decided to stay; we really felt that our work here made a difference and wanted to finish what we started. It is a very friendly environment where we can trust each other, says Natalia.

Mixed reality applications

During their stay, they built a mixed-reality interface. The purpose is to make the programming of cobots easier and to build safer robot stations. The interface covers several different aspects:

  • Programming
  • Education
  • Hands-on work
  • Saftey

– For example, as a feature in the safety aspect, we have built-in sensors that would trigger if you get too close to the robot. The robot will stop moving and will not start until you leave the trigger zone, says Celia.

Next, the interface has three different modes to meet different competence levels, all from experts in robot programming, to beginners in programming, to the ones who want to build real case scenarios.

– Because we have a demonstrator here at ASSAR, we can get direct feedback from the people who demonstrates the interface, and that has been great. I mean, really good. We have been able to evolve the interface as we go, says Natalia.

Next step for the interface

The interface is built with the help of VF-KDO partners ABB and Skandia Elevator. Mixed reality expert Tommy Svensson at ABB Robotics has provided Celia and Natalia with the script for communicating with RobotStudio and has had weekly meetings with them since the start of the project.

– Mixed reality is a brand-new area for ABB Robotics. Having Celia and Natalia working for us has been very inspiring. I mean, their generation has another view of technology and how it can be used. On top of that, they are both excellent programmers and hard-working. ABB Robotics’ goal now is to implement their interface to customers in the industry, says Tommy Svensson, ABB Robotics.

Skandia Elevator has supported the project by providing welding pieces to have a real case of study.

What the future holds

When this interview is posted, both Celia and Natalia will be back in Spain, but their demonstrator will be available at ASSAR for researchers and industry to take part in. During the interview, we started talking about the future and what happens after they have returned back to Spain.

– We have one year left in school before we graduate. Both during and after, I’d say that we are both interested in keeping discovering robotics and the industry, says Celia.

Both Celia and Natalia are thinking about taking a master’s degree to deepen their knowledge. On the question if they would be considering coming back to Sweden, Natalia is quick to answer:

– Yes, I have loved it here. We have both loved it here. We have learned so much and felt so welcome, so I could absolutely consider coming back to Sweden and the University of Skövde, concludes Natalia.

Celia and Natalia present the interface

If you would like to know more about the interface, watch this video.

Link to Youtube video:
Robot programming
Saftey features

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