Multi-Mannequin Coordination and Communication in Digital Workcells 2003-01-2197
It is commonly known that in an automotive manufacturing assembly line several workers perform either a common task or a number of different tasks simultaneously, and there is a need to represent such a multi-worker operation realistically in a digital environment. In the past years, most digital human modeling applications were limited only in a single worker case. This paper presents how to simulate multi-worker operations in a digital workcell. To establish an effective communication and interaction between the mannequins, some existing commercial software package has provided a digital input/output mechanism. The motion for each mannequin is often programmed independently, but can be interrupted anytime by the other digital human models or devices via a communication channel. The approach to multi-mannequin coordination and communication is studied in the paper trough prioritizing, scheduling and further controlling a number of independent tasks or several subtasks from a common task to be performed simultaneously by the digital human models. The major coordination function between the mannequins is achieved by first sending and receiving digital action signals and then making corresponding control decisions. In many practical cases, to create a realistic motion for all the coordinated mannequins is a subjective matter and will apparently rely on a sophisticated knowledge base that can impact the output of the digital simulation. Furthermore, a field-of-view module is also shown to be a viable tool in simulating the coordination and communication between the mannequins in the paper. Finally, a number of case studies will demonstrate the effective results in realistic visualization of multi-mannequin coordinated workcells.