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SecondHands – developing the world’s most advanced collaborative robots

SecondHands – developing the world’s most advanced collaborative robots

Recently we kicked off an exciting project to develop an autonomous humanoid robot. It will use artificial intelligence, machine learning and advanced vision systems to understand what human workers want, in order to offer assistance.

For example, it will be able to hand tools to maintenance technicians, and manipulate objects like ladders, pneumatic cylinders and bolts.

The ultimate aim is for humans to end up relying on collaborative robots because they have become an active participant in their daily tasks. In essence, the robot will know what to do, when to do it, and do it in a manner that a human can depend on.

The project is called SecondHands as it will literally provide a second pair of hands, and is part of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme. We are leading the research, working with four other European institutions.

The tasks our robot will carry out will increase safety and efficiency, and require us to focus on key areas of robotics including:

Proactive assistance – the robot will have cognitive and perceptive ability to understand when and what help its operator needs, and then to provide it.

Artificial intelligence – to anticipate the needs of its operator and execute tasks without prompting, the robot will need to progressively acquire skills and knowledge.

3D perception – advanced 3D vision systems will allow the robot to estimate the 3D articulated pose of humans.

Humanoid form and flexibility – SecondHands will feature an active sensor head, two redundant torque controlled arms, two anthropomorphic hands, a bendable and extendable torso, and a wheeled mobile platform.

For more information, see the project’s website.

Dr Graham Deacon

Robotics Research Team Leader

UPDATE: If you think that sounds interesting, we’re looking for a talented Robotics Research Software Engineer to join the team. Take a look at the role now.

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