A Unified Perception Benchmark for Capacitive Proximity Sensing Towards Safe HRC

Publication from Robotics
Kompetenzgruppe ROBOTICS Evaluation Lab, Industrie-Robotersystem-Technologien

Serkan Ergun, Yitao Ding, Hosam Alagi, Martin Schöffmann, Barnaba Ubezio , Gergely Sóti, Michael Rathmair, Stephan Mühlbacher-Karrer , Ulrike Thomas, Björn Hein, Michael Hofbaur , Hubert Zangl

International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), IEEE, , 6/2021


During the co-presence of human workers and robots, measures are required to avoid injuries from undesired contacts. Capacitive Proximity Sensors (CPSs) offer a costeffective solution to cover the entire robot manipulator with fast close-range perception for HRC tasks, closing the perception gap between tactile detection and mid-range perception. CPSs do not suffer from occlusion and compared to pure tactile or force sensing, they react earlier and allow increasing the operating speed of Collaborative Robots (Cobots) while still maintaining safety. However, since capacitive coupling to obstacles varies with their distance, shape and material properties, the projection from capacitance to actual distances is a general problem. In this work, we propose an universal benchmark test procedure for fellow researchers to evaluate their CPSs. Considering ISO/TS 15066 for Power and Force Limiting (PFL) as a reference, we derive the requirements for the specified body regions and propose a method for determining the operation speed to comply with PFL based on a pre-defined detection threshold. Finally, the benchmark test procedure is evaluated on three different concepts of CPSs from the contributed researchers, demonstrating the general applicability.


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Keywords: Capacitive Sensing, Safety for Human-Robot Collaboration