Robotics Accident Data

Table 1 Table was compiled from US Government office OSHA, 30 years, 1987-2017, of OSHA Robotics related fatal accident reports.
Date Description of fatality in OSHA report
6/29/87 Employee Crushed And Killed By Robot Arm
11/28/87 Employee Crushed To Death While Working On A Lathe
5/17/89 Employee Crushed And Killed By Industrial Robot
10/1/92 Employee Killed When Crushed By Robot Arm
3/13/93 Employee Killed When Crushed By Robot
4/8/94 Employee Dies From Coronary Insufficiency
9/27/94 Employee Crushed To Death By Activated Robot
2/15/96 Employee Killed When Burned By Robotic Hot Metal Pourer
1/27/97 Crushed By Robot Arm During Machine Cycle
4/29/97 Employee Struck By Material Handling Equipment
5/4/99 Employee Killed When Crushed By Robot Arms
6/8/99 Employee Killed When Crushed By Robot Against Conveyor
8/27/99 Employee Killed In Robotic Weld Cell
12/29/01 Employee Killed When Robot Pinned His Neck
7/28/03 Employee Is Killed When Crushed By Equipment
12/13/03 Employee Is Killed When Caught In Robotic Arm
3/30/04 Employee Was Killed By Industrial Robots
3/22/06 Employee Dies When Struck By Robotic Equipment
7/24/06 Employee Is Killed When Crushed By Robot
10/31/06 Worker Is Killed, Lockout Procedures Not Followed
5/13/07 Employee Dies After Being Struck By Robotic Arm
7/21/09 Employee Is Killed By Robotic Palletizer
8/2/11 Employee Is Killed When Caught In Equipment
12/15/12 Robot Crushes And Kills Worker Inside Robot Work Cell
3/7/13 Maintenance Worker Is Struck And Killed By Robot
6/16/13 Employee Is Struck By Axis Arm, Later Dies
7/7/15 Employee Is Killed When Head Is Crushed By Robot Arm
6/19/16 Employee is Killed While Making Repairs

Linux Command Environment

We will survey basic operations which are common to all Linux systems. For the casual user of the command line, Linux, Unix and even OSX systems are the same.

Linux is an operating system, i.e., a language by which you communicate with the computer. Linux is one the most popular true operating systems. This means you are likely to encounter it in your own environment. Linux is written in C/C++, and so not essential, knowledge of C/C++ is very useful when working on all the variants of Linux.


The graphical display system on top of Linux is referred to as X Windows (although it should be called the X windowing system). The Ubuntu is currently running the X window system with the Gnome window manager. Type Ctrl + Alt + T to bring up a terminal.

The more commonly used commands are


This command stands for list. It asks that the contents of the directory be listed. It is similar to the dos command dir. In the terminal:

> ls

This is the copy file command. So if you have a file named foo.c and you want a copy, say as a backup, you would just type

> cp foo.c foo.backup

This command stands for move. The primary use is to rename files. For example, if you have a file named foo and you want to call it the you would type

> mv foo

This command stands for remove. It is the delete command. Usage is normally

> rm

This command stands for make directory (a directory is a folder). From your current directory (if you are in your login directory), you can create a subdirectory named foodir by

> mkdir foodir

This command stands for remove directory. You can remove a subdirectory named foodir by

> rmdir foodir

The directory must be empty to do this.


This command stands for change directory. You would use this command to connect to the directory you just created above by

> cd foodir

Test your knowledge by creating a robotics directory.

Creating a file

Using gedit, you can create a simple program. Type the following into the editor:

#include <stdio.h>
int main()
   printf("Hello World\n");
   return 0;

Save this as hello.c: click File and then Save, navigate to your robotics directory, but do not exit.


To compile the Hello file, go back to your terminal window and type

> cd robotics
> gcc -o hello  hello.c

(note that this assumed you created the robotics directory.) To get used to how things work, make some errors in the hello.c file so that you can see what messages you get.

If you made errors, you should see error messages displayed. Fix these errors and recompile. Don’t forget to save your program after correcting the errors. To recompile, go back to the shell window and hit the up arrow key. This should bring back the previous command so you don’t have to retype it. You can hit the up arrow key repeatedly to bring back past commands. Also, !g will run the last command starting with the letter ’g’. If your program compiles correctly, nothing is printed by the compiler.

There is one odd behaviour that you should know about. If your program uses math.h and you want to compile this on a Linux/Unix system you need to use:

> gcc -o hello  hello.c -lm

The C language (and Unix) began before math coprocessors were available. Math functions were done in software and they took significant space. The decision was made to not automatically include them to save space and compile time. And so you needed to add the -lm to the compile (gcc) line. At this point, all of this is history, but convention has not changed.

To run any executable (program) under Linux, simply type its name (and any required command-line arguments) at the command prompt in a terminal window. If Linux complains that it cannot find the file, and you see it in the directory listing, try typing:


To run your program, just enter the name of the executable as a shell command. In this case, just type hello and hit enter. With the pcDuino as installed, the system will likely say that there is no such command. This is because the current directory, referred to as . (just one dot), is not in your path by default. The easy way to run hello right now is to type the command ./hello which specifies to run the file hello in the current directory.

Note: if you don’t like putting “./” in front of your command, you can have the system do this. To put the current directory in your default path, do the following:

  • In Leafpad, click file, open, and select ubuntu from the list on the left.

  • In the upper left is what looks like a pencil. It should say “Type a file name” when you cursor over it. Click on that.

  • Type in the file name .bashrc (including the dot) in the box marked “Location”

  • Hit return (or click open in the lower right)

  • The file has a lot of stuff in it you do not need to worry about.

  • After the three comment lines (starting with #) at the start of the file, insert the line

    export PATH=$PATH:.
  • Save the file and exit Leafpad. Note that if you did not make a change, “save” is gray, you cannot select save if you have not made any changes. This is true in general for Leafpad.

In general, to compile a C file, type

gcc -Wall -g filename.c -o filename

The -Wall switch turns on all warnings, and the -g switch adds debugging information. The o filename specifies the name of the resulting executable (the default is a.out). If you get compiler errors, go back to your editor and fix them. Save your file and recompile until you can compile successfully.

If you type only gcc foo.c you will get a default name of a.out. If you only want to compile a function, not link it with anything else, you type

gcc -c foo.c

This compiles the source to object code, foo.o. For programs with several external functions (meaning multiple files), a longer sequence is required. Say you have a main routine prog.c, and this calls external functions, funct1.c, funct2.c, and requires the library (static linking) lib.a. You would have to compile each function and the main:

cc -c prog.c
cc -c funct1.c
cc -c funct2.c

Then you can link these together into an executable:

gcc -o prog prog.o funct1.o funct2.o lib.a
For further practice, try the following:
Type “cd /ho<tab>” the shell should expand the tab so that you see “home/”. The shell will expand a tab to a file name if there is only one way to expand it or expand it until there is a difference. Try “cd /ho<tab>/ubu<tab>”. Do a cd to /usr/include to see the include files available. This can be handy if you are trying to find a function. For example, try
grep random *.h | more
This will show all the lines that have the word random in them. Use a space to tell the command more to display the next screen.
Use the cd command with no parameters to get back to your home directory. Note that this command (cd) in DOS prints the current working directory like pwd in Linux, but cd in Linux takes you to your current working directory.
cd                   Change back to home directory

Redirection: At times you may want to capture the output of a command into a file. There is a redirection command available. For example, if you want to list the contents of a directory and save this in a file, type ls > foo and the file foo will be created and output of the ls command entered. Another example is the intended use of the cat command. This command will allow you to concatenate two files (glue them together). If you have two files: file1 and file2 and want to connect them into file3, then cat file1 file2 > file3. In a similar vein is the append command. If you want to append the output of the ls command to the end of file3, then ls >> file3.

Less commonly but still useful commands

This command stands for concatenate. It is often used to send the contents of a file display although this is not the main purpose of the command. cat foo will send the contents of the file foo to the display. See the section below on redirection on other uses of cat.
File compare. To compare two files, say file1 and file2, type diff file1 file2.
Report the free and used disk (partition) blocks.
Report disk usage for a directory or file system (use with the k option du -k).
Process status. This lists the processes you have from your current shell. The command line options here depend on which flavor of unix you run. Normally ps -aux will list out all of the processes on the machine.
This command will send a signal to a process. Normal usage is to terminate a process kill -9 pid where the pid is the process ID and is given by ps.
This command is used to change the priority of processes. For example, you wish to run a program called gnubeast. Say that this program attempts to disprove Fermat’s conjecture by finding a counter-example. You have a nagging feeling that this could run for a long long time and use lots of system resources. Then you should run the program at a lower priority so that other users are not adversely affected by your computations. This is done by nice gnubeast and this will lower the priority by 10 units (a system measure). You can be even nicer by typing nice +15 gnubeast.
Search a file for a pattern (think Get Regular ExPression). Usage is grep pattern file. Example: grep foo bar.c will print out the lines in the file bar.c which have the string foo.
Tape Archive. A utility to dump a directory or list of files into one file. Usage is tar -cf foo.tar foo where foo is a directory name or a list of files. To recover this, try tar -xf foo.tar.
File compression. Usage is gzip foo and output will be foo.gz.
File uncompression. Usage is gunzip foo.gz.
Remote secure shell. Will allow a command to be run on a remote computer. Usage is ssh linux101
Remote copy. Usage: scp linux101: /home/users/amy/foo.c . This will copy the file foo.c out of your remote home directory to your local directory.

Installation of Python and Gazebo

Install the SciPy Stack: a collection of open source libraries for scientific computing in Python

sudo apt-get install python-numpy python-scipy python-matplotlib ipython
ipython-notebook python-pandas python-sympy python-nose

Install the Latex typesetting language through TexLive (libraries) and TexMaker (editor)

sudo apt-get install texlive-full
sudo apt-get install texmaker
Install Gazebo (a robot simulator):
Setup your computer to accept software from
sudo sh -c 'echo "deb
`lsb_release -cs` main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/gazebo-latest.list'

Setup keys

wget -O - | sudo apt-key add -

Install Gazebo

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gazebo5-build-deps
sudo apt-get install gazebo5
sudo apt-get install libgazebo5-dev

Check your installation (initial execution takes extra time)


Fig. 1 The Two Link Manipulator code results with a larger step in computation of the angle values. The servo movement will connect the vertices, but the path is not straight (you end up with something similar to a polygon, but with curved segments). The simulation will show a stop and go like behavior.

import numpy as np
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import time
from math import *

a1 = 15
a2 = 10
step = np.pi/4
N = 10

t = np.arange(0, 2*np.pi+step, step)
x = 5*np.cos(t) + 10
y = 5*np.sin(t) + 8
xsim1 = np.zeros((t.size-1)*N)
ysim1 = np.zeros((t.size-1)*N)
xsim = np.zeros((t.size-1)*N)
ysim = np.zeros((t.size-1)*N)

a1 = 15.0
a2 = 10.0
d = (x*x + y*y - a1*a1 - a2*a2)/(2*a1*a2)
t2 = np.arctan2(-np.sqrt(1.0-d*d),d)
t1 = np.arctan2(y,x) - np.arctan2(a2*np.sin(t2),a1+a2*np.cos(t2))

for i in range(t.size-1):
  t1step = np.linspace(t1[i],t1[i+1], N)
  t2step = np.linspace(t2[i],t2[i+1], N)
  for k in range(N):
    xsim1[N*i+k] = a1*np.cos(t1step[k])
    ysim1[N*i+k] = a1*np.sin(t1step[k])
    xsim[N*i+k] = a2*np.cos(t1step[k]+t2step[k]) + xsim1[N*i+k]
    ysim[N*i+k] = a2*np.sin(t1step[k]+t2step[k]) + ysim1[N*i+k]

#  Plot code removed for space
#  Same as previous example (from Plots to Animation)
for k in range((t.size-1)):
  for j in range(N):
      i = k*N+j
      x1 = xsim1[i]
      y1 = ysim1[i]
      x2 = xsim[i]
      y2 = ysim[i]
      plt.setp(arm,xdata = [0,x1,x2], ydata = [0,y1,y2])

#plt.savefig("twolinkexample.pdf",format="pdf")  # if you want to save

Mobile Example

We provide a similar example to what was done in the Python Chapter.

\[ \begin{align}\begin{aligned}\begin{split} \displaystyle \left(\frac{dx}{dt}, \frac{dy}{dt}\right) = \left\{ \begin{array}{ll} (0.5t, 0.0), & 0 \leq t < 2, \\[3mm] (0.25t, 0.65t), & 2 \leq t < 5, \end{array} \right.\end{split}\\and starting at :math:`t=0`, :math:`(x,y) = (1,1)`.\end{aligned}\end{align} \]
line, = plt.plot([],[],'bo')
plt.xlim(0, 6)
plt.ylim(0, 8)
x = 1.0
y = 1.0
dt = 0.1

for t in np.arange(0,5,dt):
    if t < 2:
        x = x + 0.5*t*dt
    if (t>=2):
        x = x + 0.25*t*dt
        y = y + 0.65*t*dt


Fig. 2 A plot of the simple mobile example.

Client Code in C

The following code implements the client control code in C. It is a minor modification of the free download at

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <unistd.h>
#include <string.h>
#include <sys/types.h>
#include <sys/socket.h>
#include <netinet/in.h>
#include <netdb.h>

void error(const char *msg)

int main(int argc, char *argv[])
    int sockfd, portno, n;
    struct sockaddr_in serv_addr;
    struct hostent *server;

    char buffer[256];
    if (argc < 3) {
       fprintf(stderr,"usage %s hostname port\n", argv[0]);
    portno = atoi(argv[2]);
    sockfd = socket(AF_INET, SOCK_STREAM, 0);
    if (sockfd < 0)
        error("ERROR opening socket");
    server = gethostbyname(argv[1]);
    if (server == NULL) {
        fprintf(stderr,"ERROR, no such host\n");
    bzero((char *) &serv_addr, sizeof(serv_addr));
    serv_addr.sin_family = AF_INET;
    bcopy((char *)server->h_addr,
         (char *)&serv_addr.sin_addr.s_addr,
    serv_addr.sin_port = htons(portno);
    if (connect(sockfd,(struct sockaddr *) &serv_addr,sizeof(serv_addr)) < 0)
        error("ERROR connecting");

    while(1) {
     printf("> ");
     n = write(sockfd,buffer,strlen(buffer));
      if (n < 0)
        error("ERROR writing to socket");
          n = read(sockfd,buffer,255);
          if (n < 0)
              error("ERROR reading from socket");
    return 0;