New Sensor Technology: Touchless Robot Control

Samuel  Brøgger

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New Sensor Technology: Touchless Robot Control

You hold out your hand in a horizontal position. You raise your fingertips, and the robot starts moving. You signal stop, and the robot stops. You clench your fist, and the gripper Closes.

That might sound like a scene from a science fiction movie but reality is catching up with fantasy.

In the future, we will work alongside robots a lot more than we do today, so engineers from the Danish Technological Institute (DTI) are exploring different types of communications between humans and robots, including the motion sensor technology LEAP that enables touchless interaction.

LEAP is a small device that contains a stereo camera and registers hand movements by infrared light. The hand movements can then be translated into robot commands - and that is precisely what a couple of robot engineers from DTI have been working on.

- We are trying to explore different options and components of interaction. In some situations, touching a control panel is undesirable, maybe it causes contamination, or maybe people just prefer gestures. Therefore we are currently exploring integration of the touchless LEAP technology with robot controllers. This will, for example, will be an advantage in sterile areas, says Malene Tofvesen Nibe, design engineer and consultant from DTI.

You can learn more about the LEAP technology and the interesting perspectives it brings when combined with robots in the video above (subtitles available in the player).

If you are interested in reading more about the Danish Technological Institute’s work with sensor technology, click here.