Safety is of uttermost importance in human-robot collaboration, especially where high payload robots for industrial applications are involved. Building on the results of previous projects (including the EXECELL experiment of the first ECHORD programme), the SAPARO experiment proposes a novel solution for safeguarding collaborative human-robot workplaces. The objective of the experiment is to combine a pressure-sensitive tactile floor, detecting the position of the human worker, with a projection system, visualizing safety relevant information like the dynamic boundaries of the safety zones by appropriate colors.
In contrast to current fenceless safeguarding technologies such as laser scanners and camera-based workspace monitoring, which have static safety zones, the proposed safety system will provide dynamic safety zones that are based on current joint positions and velocities of the robot and will offer a maximum of free space to the user at any time. As this system will allow both co-existence as well as certain degree of collaboration between humans and robots, it acts as a baseline technology for eventual use with other systems to allow for a deeper level of collaboration with force limiting approach.