Human-Robot Integration: Coming to a Factory Near You
General Motors (NYSE:GM) is among several companies working toward the development of robotics technology that will allow humans to work closely alongside robots without risking safety, with the goal of having robots aid human workers in their jobs rather than replacing humans completely.
Bloomberg reports that GM is working on a ‘robo-glove’ that will increase the strength of an employee’s hand. This type of technology could be used in auto manufacturing, but also has applications in any kind of job that requires repetitive movement which can result in injury. Bloomberg cited the slaughterhouse floor as another place where human-guided robots would be useful to help prevent work-related injuries.
The robo-glove, which looks like a blue snow glove, would create twenty pounds of gripping power with minimal effort and reduce injuries for repetitive and difficult motions, like installing windows into car doors. “Typically we would put up these big gates to keep people and robotics separated,” said Scott Whybrew, director for global manufacturing engineering vehicle systems at GM, to Bloomberg. “Human-safe robotics, though, gives us the ability for robots to work side-by-side with the operators.”