Gestures for industry: Intuitive human-robot communication from human observation

Brian Gleeson, Karon Maclean, Amir Haddadi, Elizabeth Croft, Javier Alcazar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperOther

81 Citations (Scopus)


Human-robot collaborative work has the potential to advance quality, efficiency and safety in manufacturing. In this paper we present a gestural communication lexicon for human-robot collaboration in industrial assembly tasks and establish methodology for producing such a lexicon. Our user experiments are grounded in a study of industry needs, providing potential real-world applicability to our results. Actions required for industrial assembly tasks are abstracted into three classes: part acquisition, part manipulation, and part operations. We analyzed the communication between human pairs performing these subtasks and derived a set of communication terms and gestures. We found that participant-provided gestures are intuitive and well suited to robotic implementation, but that interpretation is highly dependent on task context. We then implemented these gestures on a robot arm in a human-robot interaction context, and found the gestures to be easily interpreted by observers. We found that observation of human-human interaction can be effective in determining what should be communicated in a given human-robot task, how communication gestures should be executed, and priorities for robotic system implementation based on frequency of use.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHRI 2013 - Proceedings of the 8th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes
EventAnnual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) 2013 - Tokyo, Japan
Duration: 3 Mar 20136 Mar 2013
Conference number: 8th (Proceedings)


ConferenceAnnual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) 2013
Abbreviated titleHRI 2103
Internet address


  • Collaborative Robotics
  • Gesture
  • Human-Robot Communication
  • Industrial Assembly

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