Human-Mechanical system interaction in Virtual Reality
TARALLO, ANDREA (2009) Human-Mechanical system interaction in Virtual Reality. [Tesi di dottorato] (Inedito)
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The present work aims to show the great potential of Virtual Reality (VR) technologies in the field of Human-Robot Interaction (HRI). Indeed, it is foreseeable that in not too distant future cooperating robots will be increasingly present in human environments. Many authors actually believe that after the current information revolution, we will witness the so-called "robotics revolution", with the spread of increasingly intelligent and autonomous robots capable of moving into our own environments. Since these machines must be able to interact with human beings in a safe way, new design tools for the study of Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) are needed. The author believes that VR is an ideal design tool for the study of the interaction between humans and automatic machines, since it allows the designers to interact in real-time with virtual robotic systems and to evaluate different control algorithms, without the need of physical prototypes. This also shields the user from any risk related to the physical experimentation. However, VR technologies have also a more immediate application in the field of HRI, such as the study of usability of interfaces for real-time controlled robots. In fact, these robots, such as robots for microsurgery or even "teleoperated" robots working in a hostile environments, are already quite common. VR allows the designers to evaluate the usability of such interfaces by relating their physical input with a virtual output. In particular, the author has developed a new software application aimed at simulating automatic robots and, more generally, mechanical systems in a virtual environment. The user can interact with one or more virtual manipulators and also control them in real-time by means of several input devices. Finally, an innovative approach to the modeling and control of a humanoid robot with high degree of redundancy is discussed. VR implementation of a virtual humanoid is useful for the study of both humanoid robots and human beings.
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