Featured Research

Human-machine Collaboration in Virtual Reality for Adaptive Production Engineering

56 citations

Cited as: de Giorgio, Andrea, Mario Romero, Mauro Onori, and Lihui Wang. “Human-machine collaboration in virtual reality for adaptive production engineering.” Procedia manufacturing 11 (2017): 1279-1287.


This paper outlines the main steps towards an open and adaptive simulation method for human-robot collaboration (HRC) in production engineering supported by virtual reality (VR). The work is based on the latest software developments in the gaming industry, in addition to the already commercially available hardware that is robust and reliable. This allows to overcome VR limitations of the industrial software provided by manufacturing machine producers and it is based on an open-source community programming approach and also leads to significant advantages such as interfacing with the latest developed hardware for realistic user experience in immersive VR, as well as the possibility to share adaptive algorithms. A practical implementation in Unity is provided as a functional prototype for feasibility tests. However, at the time of this paper, no controlled human-subject studies on the implementation have been noted, in fact, this is solely provided to show preliminary proof of concept. Future work will formally address the questions that are raised in this first run.

Artificial Intelligence Control in 4D Cylindrical Space for Industrial Robotic Applications

3 citations

Cited as: de Giorgio, Andrea, and Lihui Wang. “Artificial intelligence control in 4D cylindrical space for industrial robotic applications.” IEEE Access 8 (2020): 174833-174844.


This article argues that an efficient artificial intelligence control algorithm needs the built-in symmetries of an industrial robot manipulator to be further characterized and exploited. The product of this enhancement is a four-dimensional (4D) discrete cylindrical grid space that can directly replace complex robot models. A* is chosen for its wide use among such algorithms to study the advantages and disadvantages of steering the robot manipulator within the 4D cylindrical discrete grid. The study shows that this approach makes it possible to control a robot without any specific knowledge of the robot kinematic and dynamic models at planning and execution time. In fact, the robot joint positions for each grid cell are pre-calculated and stored as knowledge, then quickly retrieved by the pathfinding algorithm when needed. The 4D cylindrical discrete space has both the advantages of the configuration space and the three-dimensional Cartesian workspace of the robot. Since path optimization is the core of any search algorithms, including A*, the 4D cylindrical grid provides for a search space that can embed further knowledge in form of cell properties, including the presence of obstacles and volumetric occupancy of the entire industrial robot body for obstacle avoidance applications. The main trade-off is between a limited capacity for pre-computed grid knowledge and the path search speed. This innovative approach encourages the use of search algorithms for industrial robotic applications, opens up to the study of other robot symmetries present in different robot models and lays a foundation for the application of dynamic obstacle avoidance algorithms.