Robot Programming by Demonstration

This is the most common method of automatic programming. Programming by Demonstration (PbD) systems may use touch/pendants for the demonstration, or they may use other, more natural communication methods such as gestures and voices.

A traditional PbD system uses a teach-pendant to demonstrate the movements the robot should perform. This technique has been used for industrial manipulators for many years. The demonstrator performs the task using the teach pendant. The position of the pendant is recorded and the results used to generate a robot program that will move the robot arm through the same motions. Alternatively, the demonstrator may move the robot arm through the required motions either physically or using a controller. Though simple, this type of system has been effective at rapidly creating assembly programs.

There are two current PbD research directions. The first is to produce better robot programs from the demonstrations. The second is to enhance demonstration through the use of multi-modal communications systems.

Significant work has been conducted in recent years to develop PbD systems that are able to take the information produced from a demonstration, such as sensor and joint data, and extract more useful information from it, particularly for industrial tasks. Traditional PbD systems simply record and play back a single demonstration with no variation to account for changes or errors in the world. Much current research aims to introduce some intelligence to PbD systems to allow for flexible task execution rather than pure imitation.

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