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06 OCT 2023 Seminar

Towards Future of Manufacturing: Human Robot Collaboration based on Extended Reality

Dr Zhang Yunbo

Dr Zhang Yunbo

Abstract: Currently, a new industrial revolution, also known as Industry 4.0, is transforming manufacturing industries towards higher efficiency of production, a higher level of automation, more intelligence in the processes, higher complexity of the products, and more flexibility in customization. Collaborative robots (Cobots) equipped with advanced sensors and Artificial Intelligence (AI), are considered the key enablers of the future of manufacturing. Cobots will work alongside human workers to increase the production rate, relieve human workers’ physical and mental loads, and substitute human workers in hazardous or extreme working environments. However, the current level of collaboration between humans and robots is far below what is expected. From humans’ perspective, current methods for instructing robots are unintuitive and time-consuming, causing a steep learning curve. Additionally, human workers have difficulty understanding robots’ motion paths and identifying possible collisions, leading to fear and distrust. On the other hand, it is challenging for robots to understand human workers’ high-level intentions and respond properly. Towards improving the level of human-robot collaboration, Dr. Zhang stepped into a multidisciplinary research area that is at the intersection of multiple domains, including Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), AI, Robotics, Computer Vision, and Computational Geometry. In this talk, Dr. Zhang will present his research progress in three aspects: 1) intuitive and informative extended reality (XR) interfaces for better understanding and communication; 2) robot programming by demonstration for capturing humans’ high-level intentions; and 3) fundamental computational methods for reducing XR visualization errors and enhancing 3D depth sensing. Future research directions will also be discussed.

Bio: Dr. Yunbo "WILL" Zhang is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). He is also affiliated with the School of Information (iSchool) and a faculty member of the Ph.D. Program in the Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences at RIT. Prior to joining RIT, he was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Tennessee Technological University from August 2017 to December 2018. In 2012, he received his Ph.D. degree in the Department of Mechanical and Automation Engineering at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). His research interests include Smart Manufacturing, AR/VR in Advanced Manufacturing, Human Robot Collaboration, AI and Machine Learning in Engineering, and Design for Manufacturing. He has been actively taking on a leadership role in editing papers and organizing technical sessions in his field. Some of Dr. Zhang’s editing efforts include: Program Co-Chair, Symposium on Solid and Physical Modeling (SPM), Montreal, Canada, July 8–10, 2024; Chair, Virtual Environments and Systems (VES) Technical Committee, ASME CIE Division, 2023–2024; Associate Editor, Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing, from 2022; and a Topics Board Member of the Journal of Manufacturing and Materials Processing. Dr. Zhang also worked on several guest editorships, including the special issue on Extended Reality in Design and Manufacturing of the ASME Journal of Computing and Information Science in Engineering, the special issue on Smart and Advanced Manufacturing of the Journal of Manufacturing and Materials Processing, the special issue on Computational Fabrication of Computers & Graphics, the special issue on Augmented Reality Applications in Smart Manufacturing of the Journal of Manufacturing Systems, and the special issue on Technologies for Human Centric Free-form Products of Computer-aided Design and Applications.


6 October 2023 (Friday)




Dr Zhang Yunbo


HW 8-28

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