Agricultural harvesting via wearable devices and collaborative mobile manipulators
The proposed case study refers to agriculture industry where a worker has to pick and store fruits from a plant during harvesting. In particular, we focus on grape harvesting in a (hillside) vineyard, a common work in central Europe. Agriculture is indeed one of the most hazardous sectors in terms of biomechanical overloads. Musculoskeletal diseases are caused mainly by manual handling, heavy physical work, awkward postures, and repetitive movements. These situations are even more aggravated in a hilly/mountain environment. Automation and assistance systems can be a tool for supporting farmers in improving physical ergonomics.
Use Case 3 envisions a system composed of a worker equipped with a passive and sensorized exoskeleton interacting with an autonomous mobile manipulator that operates as a physical assistance system. A collector (small basket), usually held by the worker during the collection of grapes, is now held by the manipulator that properly locates and supports it in the workspace. The main human’s features and work conditions are used as data for the reduction of biomechanical loads.