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W. Kim, M. Lorenzini, P. Balatti,et al.: "Adaptable Workstations for Human-Robot Collaboration: A Reconfigurable Framework for Improving Worker Ergonomics and Productivity", IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine (RAM), March 2019.

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Musculoskeletal disorders, the single largest category of work-related injuries in many industrial countries, are associated with very high costs in terms of lost productivity. In high-volume production facilities, large parts of the workstation should ideally be adapted to individual workers in real time to prevent such injuries. However, in smaller production lines, especially those found in small and medium enterprises (SMEs), regularly adapting the entire workstation to accommodate flexibility is a major challenge. A solution to the problem is the development of reconfigurable human–robot collaboration (HRC) workstations and frameworks. These are key to enabling agile manufacturing, by merging the dexterity, flexibility, and problem-solving ability of humans with the strength and precision of robotics. In this direction, we propose a novel HRC framework that enables real-time adaptation to human dynamic factors and intentions. The first is associated with the overloading of the body joints, while the latter determines whether or not a certain part is intended to be manipulated, whether the worker is left or right handed, or that the worker has moved within the workspace. Robot responses are then framed to help the worker perform the intended manipulation task in configurations where the effect of external loads on body joints is at a minimum. An experimental evaluation of the proposed framework on 10 subjects is provided to demonstrate the potential for industrial applications.