Andrew Schoen comes from Appleton, Wisconsin, and attended University of Wisconsin-Madison as an undergraduate, majoring in Psychology and Biology. Prior to graduate school, he worked at the Center for Healthy Minds, assisting in running studies and developing tools for data analysis.
- BS, Psychology/Biology, University of Wisconsin–Madison
- MS, Computer Science, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Collaborative robots (cobots) are increasingly being deployed in manufacturing settings both for their relatively accessible price range, but also their inherent safety advantage over their non-collaborative relatives. However, to truly take advantage of their collaborative potential, designers of these "cobot applications" need significant know-how and experience in constructing effective and safe programs. Unfortunately, the individuals frequently tasked with creating these programs are trained on more conventional automation applications, where the robot is sequestered away for safety reasons, and therefore don't have the experience needed to construct more dynamic, collaborative interactions. The result of this is that cobots are frequently treated the same as robots, working independently and away from human workers. While this is fine in some cases, it also doesn't generate the benefits that cobots could provide through true direct collaboration with a human, such as reduced ergonomic strain and increased accessibility in cases of varying worker ability, to name a few. My research focuses on systems and interfaces that support reducing this worker knowledge gap, both by designing such systems to be more natural and easy-to-use, and also to support the education of existing workers so they have the knowledge to create these cobot applications.
People and Robots Lab