Amazon Develops New Vest for Worker-Robot Interaction

Tuesday, 22 January, 2019 - 07:30
London - Asharq Al-Awsat

Amazon has developed a new safety vest for workers at its sites. The new wearable device, dubbed "the Robotic Tech Vest" is really more like a pair of suspenders attached to an electronic utility belt, reported the German news agency.

The Amazon Robotics-designed product was created to keep workers safe when they need to enter a space in order to fix a robotic system or retrieve fallen items.

The Techcrunch website reported that the vest is designed to work in tandem with the robots’ existing obstacle avoidance detection.

The website cited Amazon Robotics Vice President Brad Porter as saying: "All of our robotic systems employ multiple safety systems ranging from training materials, to physical barriers to entry, to process controls, to on-board."

"In the past, communication with robotics consisted of a grid of cells where they would be working in order to enable the robotic traffic planner to smartly route around that region. What the vest allows the robots to do is detect the human from farther away and smartly update its travel plan to steer clear without the need for the associate to explicitly mark out those zones," Porter added.

Safety has become a major concern when it comes to dealing with human/robotic interactions at the work place.

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) notes: "Studies indicate that many robot accidents occur during non-routine operating conditions, such as programming, maintenance, testing, setup, or adjustment. During many of these operations the worker may temporarily be within the robot’s working envelope where unintended operations could result in injuries."

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