During Summer 2010, we conducted a series of user studies of two telepresence robots (Anybots' QB and VGo Communications'
VGo) in an office environment at Google in Mountain View, CA. One study
focused on virtual teams in which a remote teammate (n=6) used a
telepresence robot to attend his/her regularly scheduled team meetings.
We found that people who used to be in the same building as their
teammates and then moved to a different location had the best
experiences recreating this closeness with their teams using
Research in the field of human-automation
interaction (HAI) has shown that trust is a key factor that influences
operator's interaction with an autonomous system. Researchers also found
that proper calibration of trust is critical to safe operation of an
autonomous system. Too much trust on the system can lead to abuse of
automation and conversely too little trust can lead to disuse of
automation. In dynamic systems, operators need a control allocation
strategy that optimizes performance. Hence mis-calibrated trust can lead
to inefficient operation or even catastrophic failures.
We have just started an interdisciplinary project in
cooperation with UML neurobiology researchers. In the course of this
work, our lab will be working on artificial neural net (ANN) models of
brain damage and drawing inspiration from biological mechanisms of brain
damage and recovery to attempt to optimize neural network training and
minimize the computational resources required to use ANNs.
SUBTLE stands for Situation Understanding Bot Through Language and Environment. The goal of the SUBTLE Multi-University Research Initiative (MURI) is to build a robot that can accept and understand spoken commands and report its situation and past activities to a human user in English. This project is being developed in coordination with several other research teams at other universities. http://subtlebot.org/
Our team is focused on providing a platform for the
linguistic technologies that provides an embodiment of the system in the
real world, and allows the conversation between the user and the robot
to be grounded in the robot's perception of the world around it. This
will allow for a richer development environment, with the complexity of
the real world, rather than the somewhat impoverished world of
Visual Control Interface of a Wheelchair Mounted Robotic Arm for Cognitively Impaired Wheelchair Users
The Exact Dynamics' Manus ARM, a 6+2 degree of freedom wheelchair mounted robot arm, is able to function in unstructured environments. However, it is awkwardly controlled through a menu system using a keypad, a joystick or a single switch. These controls are not intuitive or natural because they require a high level of cognitive awareness. Also, the input devices may not correlate well to the user’s physical and cognitive abilities.
Our research investigates visual control of a robot
arm. We leverage all of the Manus ARM’s benefits while eliminating its
weaknesses. Our vision-based system draws inspiration from people’s
innate abilities to see and touch. Because the wheelchair occupant is
collocated with the ARM, the occupant's view is the same as a camera
mounted over the ARM's shoulder. The occupant selects the desired object
using from a flexible interface and touch screen or mouse-emulating
joystick. Our goal is to allow the occupant to acquire the object by
unfolding the ARM, then reaching and grasping the object in a manner
emulating human kinematics. This human-in-the-loop control will provide
simpler and effective interaction.
awareness (SA) is critical to successfully operate an unmanned vehicle.
Since 2003, we have studied multiple systems designed for USAR. We have
both designed evaluation methods and produced design guidelines for
A low cost robot arm system is developed that will
increase a person’s accessibility to indoor spaces by unlatching door
knobs and door handles. Implemented is a minimized arm configuration for
use with a wheelchair or mobile platform and a gripper design that
utilizes only a single motor to turn door knobs and door handles. This
proof of concept prototype demonstrates how an arm with many degrees of
freedom is not required if we target the expectations for its use.
The VGTV is a tele-operated, tethered robot. It is
capable of changing its shape, depth rated to 100 feet, and equipped
with a color zoom camera, two-way audio, and lights. Sensors and small
equipment can be carried by the VGTV into search areas. Our VGTV was
used in Biloxi, Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina by Florida Task
Force Three. Rescuers were able to search unsafe structures and
experience a first person view from the robot.
Phission is a concurrent cross-platform, multiple language vision system
software development kit (SDK). The SDK constructs a processing
sub-system for computer vision applications. Phission abstracts
low-level image capture and display primitives, which allows researchers
to focus on their primary work.
Consisting of an electric wheelchair outfitted with a
computer and sensors and a Macintosh Powerbook, this robot can travel
semi-autonomously in an indoor environment. This allows the user to
issue general directional commands and to rely upon the robot to carry
out the low level routines such as object avoidance and wall following.
Serial Sense allows anyone to interface simple digital and analog sensors to a computer. It also gives you the ability to control custom hardware circuits with the digital outputs. This was designed to expand the sensor capabilities of ActivMedia's Pioneer robots. However, it will work with any PC that has a serial port.
Pyro stands for Python Robotics. The goal of the project is to provide a programming environment for easily exploring advanced topics in artificial intelligence and robotics without having to worry about the low-level details of the underlying hardware.