Online collaborative robot safety course available to public

Over the past decade, large and dangerous caged robots have given way to smarter counterparts. Called collaborative robots – aka cobots – they don’t require physical barriers and operate alongside human workers.

Though cobots feature built-in safety measures, they remain machines with the potential to cause harm if not properly deployed. A new online course from the University at Buffalo prepares learners to objectively examine cobot workcells and proactively eliminate hazards.

Collaborative Robot Safety: Design & Deployment is available on the Coursera platform, which serves 25 million registered users with courses from 150 universities. It is accessible to anyone with an internet connection.

The UB Center for Industrial Effectiveness (TCIE), the business outreach center of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, conceived the course and directed production.

I was delighted that TCIE chose to develop an online course explaining how to apply collaborative robots, and I was pleased to participate in its development,” said Brian Carlisle, CEO and co-founder of robot manufacturer Precise Automation. The company is based in Fremont, Calif., and specializes in cobots. “This is an important new knowledge area to improve the productivity of our factories.”

Carlisle’s 40-year career includes leadership roles at Adept Technology, designing PUMA robots for Unimation and holding multiple patents for robot designs. He serves as a course instructor along with TCIE Project Engineer Akshay Sivadas.

The course is appropriate for anyone seeking knowledge to create a safer cohabitated workspace. It imparts industry-endorsed safety standards, technical report recommendations and best practices from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Robotic Industries Association (RIA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Topics include risk assessments, collaborative applications, design techniques for reducing collision forces, and a methodology for safety testing.

Content consists of video lectures complemented by reading materials, assessments, and peer interaction. It also includes industry insights from EWI, the leading engineering and technology organization in North America dedicated to developing, testing, and implementing advanced manufacturing technologies for industry.

There is no charge to access videos and readings. The fee for gaining access to all content – which includes assignments – and the opportunity to earn a certificate is $49 per month.