So, Where’s My Robot?

Thoughts on Social Machine Learning

Willow Intern Challenge

A fun video from Willow Garage last week.  The last couple of years they have been getting an army of interns over the summer.  When I visited last summer, I was told that their staff doubled when the interns showed up!  Not sure if that was true this summer as well, but it does look like the interns had some fun with the PR2 in the 3 day Intern Challenge.

The challenge was a waiter task: take a drink order, deliver the drink, pick up the mess.  Both teams used a mixture of autonomous behavior and teleoperation, and it’s not completely obvious from the video what is autonomous or not.  One of the teams created a more humorous interaction that was fun for the audience.  I’m not sure if they thought of it this way, bot others have suggested that self-deprecating humor can be a good interaction technique.  It lowers the user’s expectations in a way that is not disappointing.

It looks like the most challenging HRI task is the object handoff, it was awkward every time.  The human didn’t know if they were supposed to wait for the object to come to them, or meet the robot halfway.  Larry Page was looking at the hand, and waiting, and then looking to a person near the camera, and then he finally got his drink.  It looks like the robot should expect people to be helpful and meet it halfway (at least), especially if its moving slowly.  This and some simple force sensing to tell if the objet in hand is being manipulated would be fun to try and see if the handoff works a little better.

August 18th, 2009 Posted by | Fun, HRI, Industry | no comments

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