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Crank-rotation task

 The human-robot cooperation would be a key issue as scopes of humans and robots working together are increasing in advanced-technological societies. We aim to design and control human-like robots in a manner that they can flexibly mimic human motions, especially in cooperation work. Particularly, in this crank-rotation task, we intend to investigate human’s strategies in group work, and then apply the results into the control of a muscle-like arm robot.

 - Human-human experiment:
 Experiments between human subjects give an interesting result that there is a “dynamical role division” between two participants in a group. When two persons worked together, after several trials, one mainly pushed the crank while the other pulled along. Experimental data show that when this occurred, subjects could complete the task faster, thus, suggesting a high contribution of the role sharing in improving the group-work performance.

 Our goal is to make the robot properly produce forces according to a human partner’s so that it can cooperate with human as a real person to contribute to the group work.
 To do that, we investigated human arm’s muscle activity and its relation with hand force. We found that there is a high correlation between hand force (divided into tangential force and radial force) and muscle activity (represented by the first two/three principal components of muscle ratio obtained from %MVC of EMG of agonist-antagonist muscle pairs.) This idea is used to develop our control method, the “synergy control method”.

 - Human-robot experiment:
 Synergy control method is applied to the control of our arm robot. In the first stage, we can make it perform reaching/rotating movements.

Research introduction