When robots and humans have to work together, it often leads to problems. Researchers on the CogIMon project want to teach robots to understand the forces during the movement of an object, and how to appropriately react to changes in weight or contact with the object while carrying it. Humans have no problem estimating the weight of an object, but robots lack this ability.

Researchers used the humanoid robot prototype COMAN (COmpliant huMANoid platform) in the CogIMon project. (Bielefeld University)

The researchers are developing new controlling and programming methods for the robots. A classic example for moving objects can be seen when a human and a robot carry a table together. In this action, it is important to adjust one’s forces: the one carrying leads the way, the other follows. When changing who leads and who follows, it is necessary that one is able to predict their partner’s motions and adjust their own movements accordingly.