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Title: Human skill capturing and modelling using wearable devices
Author: Zhao, Yuchen
ISNI:       0000 0004 6494 1213
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2017
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Industrial robots are delivering more and more manipulation services in manufacturing. However, when the task is complex, it is difficult to programme a robot to fulfil all the requirements because even a relatively simple task such as a peg-in-hole insertion contains many uncertainties, e.g. clearance, initial grasping position and insertion path. Humans, on the other hand, can deal with these variations using their vision and haptic feedback. Although humans can adapt to uncertainties easily, most of the time, the skilled based performances that relate to their tacit knowledge cannot be easily articulated. Even though the automation solution may not fully imitate human motion since some of them are not necessary, it would be useful if the skill based performance from a human could be firstly interpreted and modelled, which will then allow it to be transferred to the robot. This thesis aims to reduce robot programming efforts significantly by developing a methodology to capture, model and transfer the manual manufacturing skills from a human demonstrator to the robot. Recently, Learning from Demonstration (LfD) is gaining interest as a framework to transfer skills from human teacher to robot using probability encoding approaches to model observations and state transition uncertainties. In close or actual contact manipulation tasks, it is difficult to reliabley record the state-action examples without interfering with the human senses and activities. Therefore, wearable sensors are investigated as a promising device to record the state-action examples without restricting the human experts during the skilled execution of their tasks. Firstly to track human motions accurately and reliably in a defined 3-dimensional workspace, a hybrid system of Vicon and IMUs is proposed to compensate for the known limitations of the individual system. The data fusion method was able to overcome occlusion and frame flipping problems in the two camera Vicon setup and the drifting problem associated with the IMUs. The results indicated that occlusion and frame flipping problems associated with Vicon can be mitigated by using the IMU measurements. Furthermore, the proposed method improves the Mean Square Error (MSE) tracking accuracy range from 0.8˚ to 6.4˚ compared with the IMU only method. Secondly, to record haptic feedback from a teacher without physically obstructing their interactions with the workpiece, wearable surface electromyography (sEMG) armbands were used as an indirect method to indicate contact feedback during manual manipulations. A muscle-force model using a Time Delayed Neural Network (TDNN) was built to map the sEMG signals to the known contact force. The results indicated that the model was capable of estimating the force from the sEMG armbands in the applications of interest, namely in peg-in-hole and beater winding tasks, with MSE of 2.75N and 0.18N respectively. Finally, given the force estimation and the motion trajectories, a Hidden Markov Model (HMM) based approach was utilised as a state recognition method to encode and generalise the spatial and temporal information of the skilled executions. This method would allow a more representative control policy to be derived. A modified Gaussian Mixture Regression (GMR) method was then applied to enable motions reproduction by using the learned state-action policy. To simplify the validation procedure, instead of using the robot, additional demonstrations from the teacher were used to verify the reproduction performance of the policy, by assuming human teacher and robot learner are physical identical systems. The results confirmed the generalisation capability of the HMM model across a number of demonstrations from different subjects; and the reproduced motions from GMR were acceptable in these additional tests. The proposed methodology provides a framework for producing a state-action model from skilled demonstrations that can be translated into robot kinematics and joint states for the robot to execute. The implication to industry is reduced efforts and time in programming the robots for applications where human skilled performances are required to cope robustly with various uncertainties during tasks execution.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: EPSRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Manufacturing automation ; Force based control ; Motion Capturing (MoCap) ; Learning from Demonstration (LfD) ; Surface electromyography (sEMG) ; Robots