Abstract

The use of collaborative robots in the manufacturing industry has widely spread in the last decade. In order to be efficient, the human-robot collaboration needs to be properly designed by also taking into account the operator’s psychophysiological reactions. Virtual Reality can be used as a tool to simulate human-robot collaboration in a safe and cheap way. Here, we present a virtual collaborative platform in which the human operator and a simulated robot coordinate their actions to accomplish a simple assembly task. In this study, the robot moved slowly or more quickly in order to assess the effect of its velocity on the human’s responses. Ten participants tested this application by using an Oculus Rift head-mounted display; ARTracking cameras and a Kinect system were used to track the operator’s right arm movements and hand gestures respectively. Performance, user experience, and physiological responses were recorded. The results showed that while humans’ performances and evaluations varied as a function of the robot’s velocity, no differences were found in the physiological responses. Taken together, these data highlight the relevance of the kinematic aspects of robot’s motion within a human-robot collaboration and provide valuable insights to further develop our virtual human-machine interactive platform.

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