MirrorLabs is a project funded by the EIT Manufacturing in order to create similar learning environment for students all over Europe for human-robot co-production.
A lot of research groups have started to investigate the role of the “operator 4.0” role within cyber physical production systems (CPPS, or HCPPS) and human-robot co-production. Especially the use of Virtual and Augmented Reality within a production environment is a great opportunity for student projects – it is at the same time intuitive, motivating and creates a huge learning benefit. The generation of multiple Mixed Reality visualizations of CPPS with student projects can be both an educational but also a research benefit, if we regard the possibility to conduct user studies with the developed applications in order to deduct more general principles for human-machine interaction within industry 4.0.
As numerous research institutions currently have a similar set of hardware (for example UR5, Hololens, HTC Vive,…) there is an opportunity to create comparable results and to share algorithms – both for education and research. At the same time, a developed platform like this could be used by SMEs in order to start with AR/VR-based human-robot co-production. We propose to combine the current activities at the different universities and research institutions to create a EIT Manufacturing Mirror Lab ICT infrastructure, which divides the software maintenance effort between a couple of research institutions.
As there are already existing components like for example IndustrialROS, it is possible to develop a functioning open source framework within a short amount of time, which can be used by all EIT Manufacturing partners and additional interested facilities in order to experiment for example with human-robot coproduction with AR and VR within education. The goal is to achieve ready to use software containers which are easy to install, if the hardware is already there. On the long run, the platform should furthermore enable to share algorithms or snapshots, so that also remote maintenance scenarios can be explored between different research institutions.