Publications / 2019 Proceedings of the 36th ISARC, Banff, Alberta, Canada

Implementation of an Augmented Reality AR Workflow for Human Robot Collaboration in Timber Prefabrication

Ondrej Kyjanek, Bahar Al Bahar, Lauren Vasey, Benedikt Wannemacher and Achim Menges
Pages 1223-1230 (2019 Proceedings of the 36th ISARC, Banff, Alberta, Canada)

In this paper, we present a set of enabling technologies developed for the KUKA Innovation Award to facilitate Human Robot collaboration targeted for the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) sector. Critically, little progress has been made in the usability of user interfaces for industrial robots [1]. We targeted our investigation explicitly towards human-robot collaboration (HRC) in wood based prefabrication production. Although wood is a sustainable material with abundant processing possibilities, it is also a material system where process knowledge remains critically important, making highly automated workflows unfeasible and inefficient. We propose an interactive fabrication process where a user such as a construction worker could wear an augmented reality head mounted display (ARHMD) as an interface to plan robotic trajectories, influence production sequencing, and view superimposed diagnostic feedback. We describe necessary system components including a robotic workcell consisting of a KUKA LBR iiwa, flexFELLOW mobile platform, a Robotiq 2-finger gripper and a custom platform and material feeding station. In addition, we describe a communication framework and set of protocols connecting a CAD digital design environment, a user interface (UI) for Microsoft HoloLens, a ROS server for backend path planning and coordination, and a 3D graphical web interface for downstream visualization of construction status. We conclude with an outlook on enabling technologies for human-robot collaboration in construction, and the importance of increasing digital integration and accessibility in characteristic production workflows through accessible and intuitive digital interfaces.

Keywords: Human-robot Collaboration; Timber Construction Prefabrication; Robotic Fabrication; Augmented Reality; Digitalized Construction; Hardware-Software Interoperability