Gleeson, B., MacLean, K. E., Haddadi, A., Croft, E., and Alcazar, J. “Gestures for Industry: Intuitive Human-Robot Communication from Human Observation,” in Proc. of ACM/IEEE Int'l Conf on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI '13), Tokyo, Japan, pp. 349-356 2013.
Human-robot collaborative work has the potential to advance quality, efficiency and safety in manufacturing. In this paper we present a gestural communication lexicon for human-robot collaboration in industrial assembly tasks and establish methodology for producing such a lexicon. Our user experiments are grounded in a study of industry needs, providing potential real-world applicability to our results. Actions required for industrial assembly tasks are abstracted into three classes: part acquisition, part manipulation, and part operations. We analyzed the communication between human pairs performing these subtasks and derived a set of communication terms and gestures. We found that participant-provided gestures are intuitive and well suited to robotic implementation, but that interpretation is highly dependent on task context. We then implemented these gestures on a robot arm in a human-robot interaction context, and found the gestures to be easily interpreted by observers. We found that observation of human-human interaction can be effective in determining what should be communicated in a given human-robot task, how communication gestures should be executed, and priorities for robotic system implementation based on frequency of use.