Robots and Humans, Learning to Work Together – NYTimes.com
FACTORY robots are usually caged off from humans on the assembly line lest the machines’ powerful steel arms deliver an accidental, bone-crunching right hook.
But now, gentler industrial robots, designed to work and play well with others, are coming out from behind their protective fences to work shoulder-to-shoulder with people. It’s an advance made possible by sophisticated algorithms and improvements in sensing technologies like computer vision.
The key to these new robots is the ability to respond more flexibly, anticipating and adjusting to what humans want. That is in contrast to earlier generations of robots that often required extensive programming to change the smallest details of their routine, said Henrik Christensen, director of the robotics program at the Georgia Institute of Technology.