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Wall Street Journal: How to Manage Robots and People Working Together

June 3, 2015 — 

James Young, an assistant professor in the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at the University of Manitoba, wrote a lengthy and excellent article about robots in the workplace for the Wall Street Journal.

He begins:

Move over and make room for your new colleague: a robot.

Robots are starting to move out of their isolated assembly lines to work increasingly alongside people and even collaborate with them as team members or assistants. Robots, for instance, are handing people tools or parts, while people are grasping robotic arms and moving them to show a robot how to perform custom tasks.

These human-robot teams leverage the skills of both. Robots can lift and move heavy objects, make precision movements and use advanced computer vision to inspect work. People, meanwhile, are extremely flexible, particularly for unpredictable or highly custom work, and have the manual dexterity and knowledge required to closely manage the robots. In the near future, we will have even more dynamic human-robot teams, where products and parts are handed back and forth for specialized work and the robots and people are asking each other for advice.



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