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  1. Abstract

    Human intention prediction plays a critical role in human–robot collaboration, as it helps robots improve efficiency and safety by accurately anticipating human intentions and proactively assisting with tasks. While current applications often focus on predicting intent once human action is completed, recognizing human intent in advance has received less attention. This study aims to equip robots with the capability to forecast human intent before completing an action, i.e., early intent prediction. To achieve this objective, we first extract features from human motion trajectories by analyzing changes in human joint distances. These features are then utilized in a Hidden Markov Model (HMM) to determine the state transition times from uncertain intent to certain intent. Second, we propose two models including a Transformer and a Bi-LSTM for classifying motion intentions. Then, we design a human–robot collaboration experiment in which the operator reaches multiple targets while the robot moves continuously following a predetermined path. The data collected through the experiment were divided into two groups: full-length data and partial data before state transitions detected by the HMM. Finally, the effectiveness of the suggested framework for predicting intentions is assessed using two different datasets, particularly in a scenario when motion trajectories are similar but underlying intentions vary. The results indicate that using partial data prior to the motion completion yields better accuracy compared to using full-length data. Specifically, the transformer model exhibits a 2% improvement in accuracy, while the Bi-LSTM model demonstrates a 6% increase in accuracy.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2025
  2. Abstract

    Product disassembly plays a crucial role in the recycling, remanufacturing, and reuse of end-of-use (EoU) products. However, the current manual disassembly process is inefficient due to the complexity and variation of EoU products. While fully automating disassembly is not economically viable given the intricate nature of the task, there is potential in using human–robot collaboration (HRC) to enhance disassembly operations. HRC combines the flexibility and problem-solving abilities of humans with the precise repetition and handling of unsafe tasks by robots. Nevertheless, numerous challenges persist in technology, human workers, and remanufacturing work, which require comprehensive multidisciplinary research to address critical gaps. These challenges have motivated the authors to provide a detailed discussion on the opportunities and obstacles associated with introducing HRC to disassembly. In this regard, the authors have conducted a review of the recent progress in HRC disassembly and present the insights gained from this analysis from three distinct perspectives: technology, workers, and work.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2025
  3. Abstract

    Remanufacturing sites often receive products with different brands, models, conditions, and quality levels. Proper sorting and classification of the waste stream is a primary step in efficiently recovering and handling used products. The correct classification is particularly crucial in future electronic waste (e-waste) management sites equipped with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotic technologies. Robots should be enabled with proper algorithms to recognize and classify products with different features and prepare them for assembly and disassembly tasks. In this study, two categories of Machine Learning (ML) and Deep Learning (DL) techniques are used to classify consumer electronics. ML models include Naïve Bayes with Bernoulli, Gaussian, Multinomial distributions, and Support Vector Machine (SVM) algorithms with four kernels of Linear, Radial Basis Function (RBF), Polynomial, and Sigmoid. While DL models include VGG-16, GoogLeNet, Inception-v3, Inception-v4, and ResNet-50. The above-mentioned models are used to classify three laptop brands, including Apple, HP, and ThinkPad. First the Edge Histogram Descriptor (EHD) and Scale Invariant Feature Transform (SIFT) are used to extract features as inputs to ML models for classification. DL models use laptop images without pre-processing on feature extraction. The trained models are slightly overfitting due to the limited dataset and complexity of model parameters. Despite slight overfitting, the models can identify each brand. The findings prove that DL models outperform them of ML. Among DL models, GoogLeNet has the highest performance in identifying the laptop brands.

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  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2025
  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  6. Abstract Disassembly is an essential step for remanufacturing end-of-life (EOL) products. Optimization of disassembly sequences and the utilization of robotic technology could alleviate the labor-intensive nature of dismantling operations. This study proposes an optimization framework for disassembly sequence planning under uncertainty considering human–robot collaboration. The proposed framework combines three attributes: disassembly cost, safety, and complexity of disassembly, namely disassembleability, to identify the optimal disassembly path and allocate operations between human and robot. A multi-attribute utility function is used to address uncertainty and make a tradeoff among multiple attributes. The disassembly time reflects the cost of disassembly which is assumed to be an uncertain parameter with a Beta distribution; the disassembleability evaluates the feasibility of conducting operations by robot; finally, the safety index ensures the protection of human workers in the work environment. An example of dismantling a desktop computer is used to show the application. The model identifies the optimal disassembly sequence with less disassembly cost, high disassembleability, and increased safety index while allocating disassembly operations among human and robot. A sensitivity analysis is conducted to show the model's performance when changing the disassembly cost for the robot. 
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