Social implications of robotics in manufacturing industry (IR@MI), KIT

The traditional idea that automation is a technological milestone with evident economic and unquestionable benefits is still an approach that ignores research on the relation of automation to work organization. Integrative tasks as well as control tasks can be taken over by human workers. Humans are also better at dealing with unexpected events to keep production lines running. But this perspective has been continuously threatened through technocentric approaches that aim to avoid the involvement of humans in the automated production systems.

Intuitive interaction between humans and industrial robot systems – a contribution to a conceptual approach (I3RS), KIT

The research of intuitive robot programming in manufacturing is already 25 years old but, in recent years, it seems that intuitive programming as well as the intuitive 'use' of technology becomes increasingly relevant during a lot of processes in industry. For instance, new programming methods can enable the automated manufacturing of small lot sizes or even of single work pieces, hand drawings made with a digital pen can be transferred into robot programs automatically, or robot trajectories can be defined by guiding the robot using tactile feedback.

Moniz, António Brandão. Organizational concepts and interaction between humans and robots in industrial environments In IROS 2013 "DRHE 2013 Dependable Robots in Human Environments". Tokyo: AIST - National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, 2013. Abstract

This paper is discussing the intuitive interaction with robotic systems and the conceptualisation connected with known organisational problems. In particular, the focus will be on the manufacturing industry with respect to its social dimension. One of the aims is to identify relevant research questions about the possibility of development of safer robot systems in closer human-machine intuitive interaction systems at the manufacturing shop-floor level. We try to contribute to minimize the cognitive and perceptual workload for robot operators in complex working systems. In particular that will be highly relevant when more different robots with different roles and produced by different companies or designers are to be used in the manufacturing industry to a larger extent. The social sciences approach to such technology assessment is of high relevance to understand the dimensions of the intuitive interaction concept.

Moniz, António Brandão, and Bettina Krings. "Special issue on robots and the work environment." Societies 4 (2016): 31.Website

Collaboration with the Institute of Sociology, Goethe University of Frankfurt

Colloquia on Robotics and societal Innovations

within the chair of Prof. Birgit Blättel-Mink and in the framework of the ERASMUS agreement between FCT-UNL and the Goethe University of Frankfurt-am-Main.

Moniz, António. "Intuitive Interaction Between Humans and Robots in Work Functions at Industrial Environments: The Role of Social Robotics." In Social Robots from a Human Perspective, edited by Jane Vincent, Sakari Taipale, Bartolomeo Sapio, Giuseppe Lugano and Leopoldina Fortunati, 67-76. Heidelberg: Springer, 2015.
Moniz, António. "Human-Robot Interaction in Industrial Working Environments: Results from a Start-up Project." EconStor Open Access Articles (2013). AbstractWebsite

The social dimension of worker-robot interaction in industry is becoming a decisive aspect of robotics development. Many problems and difficulties of robotics research are not only related to technical issues but framed by social aspects. Human-robot interaction (HRI) as a specific research field of robotics tackles this issue. The debate on social involvement in HRI design of a few decades ago must be re-opened. A start-up project was initiated in 2012 at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) to define a new research field and establish a conceptual framework on HRI. It was related to recent developments in the manufacturing industry and professional service robotics. The aim was to cooperate with other research teams to establish an expert network in this field. Special focus was placed on the design of work organisation models and issues of robotics technology design for worker (or operator) and robot interaction. In the current paper we present the most important conclusions from these research activities. –