Research and innovation
- 2 minutes
Artificial intelligence (AI) and digitisation play an important role in many sectors, offering countless benefits and improving optimisation processes. This has prompted many companies to look for new ways to integrate them. Despite their advantages, AI-based technologies are often difficult to implement as they require operators' experience and special know-how.
The Fluently project, funded by the European Union's Horizon Europe programme*, aims to develop a new AI-based device that, once worn by workers, will enable industrial robots to interpret human language, gestures and emotions and then convert them into executable instructions to improve workers' well-being.
This project focuses on three emerging industrial fields that require high physical and cognitive demands: the disassembly and recycling of batteries for e-bikes and electric vehicles, inspection and assembly processes in the aerospace industry, and the restoration of highly complex industrial parts by laser machining.
"The transformative power of Fluently lies in its ability to make human-robot collaboration similar to that between humans, in a true team effort," explains Dr. Ing. Oliver Avram, lecturer-researcher at the ARM Laboratory and technical-scientific coordinator of the project. "An essential element in ensuring effective collaboration between humans and robots is in fact the way in which both parties interact, using a mixture of implicit and explicit signals, adapting their intensity according to the given task".
In addition to the development of the intelligent interface that will enable industrial robots to understand human behaviour and establish efficient human-machine cooperation, Fluently intends to develop a dedicated training centre (Robo-Gym) where people and robots can train to interact smoothly and improve industrial processes.
Within the Robogym, set up with the support of industrial partner Fanuc and located at the Institute of Systems and Technologies for Sustainable Production (ISTePS), the first stages of implementing collaborative activities and training for each of the four existing robotics stations are already underway.
This opens up an avenue for the training of students, researchers and company employees that has the dual aim of spreading greater sensitivity and awareness of AI and robotics issues and supporting the acquisition of skills needed for the current and future job market.
"In the context of this approach, human skills essential for interacting with AI technologies include collaboration, creativity, adaptability, critical thinking and emotional intelligence. This promotes a shared training experience where humans and robots gradually get to know each other, learning to collaborate effectively and helping to establish personalised team dynamics," the researcher concludes.
* SUPSI's activities within the project are financed by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).