Human-robot-environment interaction interface for robotic grit-blasting of complex steel bridges

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Journal Article
Automation in Construction, 2012, 27 pp. 11 - 23
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This paper presents a human-robot-environment interaction (HREI) interface using haptic feedback for a grit-blasting robot operating in close proximity to a complex steel bridge structure. The productivity requirements dictate the need for efficient algorithms for mapping, exploration, and collision-free motion planning. While a large portion of the grit-blasting operation can be automated, a tele-operation is essential to deal with some difficult to access sections such as edges, complex corners, and surfaces which can only be approached through hole. A 3-dimensional virtual force field (3D-VF 2) method is developed for capturing the relationship between the robot and its environment. A novel haptic force generation method and a workspace mapping algorithm allow intuitive interaction between the operator and the robot through haptic feedback. The strategies presented are verified in extensive simulations and experiments conducted on a steel bridge with a prototype grit-blasting robot. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
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