Up to now, there was no industrial workstation able to provide not only powerful functions but also robustness and reliability. Most of workstations were laboratory prototypes and, in spite of efforts of the developers, the reliability was the weak point of the system.
The French association APPROCHE has been working for many years to convince users, doctors and occupational therapists that robots are one of the best way to assist disabled people. In 1998, after two years of massive evaluation of the EPI-RAID workstations, APPROCHE asked to AFMA Robots, French manufacturer of industrial robots, to develop a new workstation. This AFMASTER workstation would be based on principles experimented by CEA on MASTER, RAID and EPI-RAID workstations but built with methods and quality of an industrial manufacturer.
The two first AFMASTER workstations will be operational in summer 1999. This paper presents the results of the evaluation of the EPI-RAID workstations and the design of the new AFMASTER ones.