PI: Stefanie Mueller, Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, MIT
The future of work will contain many tasks in which humans and robots will work together closely. To work together safely, robots need to communicate to workers how they can be interacted with, for instance, by showing which areas on the robot are safe. We propose a novel method to communicate this information by allowing the robot to dynamically recolor its appearance. Thus, rather than providing one generic safety coloring, our method allows the robot to update its appearance depending on the task the worker and robot are carrying out and thus always provides up to date safety information without overloading the worker with information on all possible tasks at once. We accomplish this by using photochromic inks that can change their appearance from transparent to colored when exposed to light of a certain wavelength.