Conference paper Open Access

MOCA-MAN: A MObile and reconfigurable Collaborative Robot Assistant for conjoined huMAN-robot actions

Kim, Wansoo; Balatti, Pietro; Lamon, Edoardo; Ajoudani, Arash

The objective of this paper is to create a new collaborative robotic system that subsumes the advantages of mobile manipulators and supernumerary limbs. By exploiting the reconfiguration potential of a MObile Collaborative robot Assistant (MOCA), we create a collaborative robot that can function autonomously, in close proximity to humans, or be physically coupled to the human counterpart as a supernumerary body (MOCA-MAN). Through an admittance interface and a hand gesture recognition system, the controller can give higher priority to the mobile base (e.g., for long distance co-carrying tasks) or the arm movements (e.g., for manipulating tools), when performing conjoined actions. 
The resulting system has a high potential not only to reduce waste associated with the equipment waiting and setup times, but also to mitigate the human effort when performing heavy or prolonged manipulation tasks.
The performance of the proposed system, i.e., MOCA-MAN, is evaluated by multiple subjects in two different use-case scenarios, which require large mobility or close-proximity manipulation.

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