Robot Accepts Gesture Commands

A robot able to accept gesture commands was announced by Brown University researchers. The group demonstrated that structured light-based depth sensing with standard perception algorithms can enable mobile peer-to-peer interaction between humans and robots. The gesture-command robot is based on iRobot's Packbot. iRobot also participated in funding along with DARPA.


(Robot accepts gesture commands
[The boxed area denotes an inset detail; it's not part of the structure of the robot])

"We have created a novel system where the robot will follow you at a precise distance, where you don't need to wear special clothing, you don't need to be in a special environment, and you don't need to look backward to track it," said Chad Jenkins, assistant professor of computer science at Brown University and the team's leader.

Other contributors to the research include Matthew Loper, a Brown graduate student and lead author on the paper announcing the research. Contributors include former Brown graduate student Nathan Koenig, now at the University of Southern California; former Brown graduate student Sonia Chernova; and Chris Jones, a researcher with the Massachusetts-based robotics maker iRobot Corp.

The researchers made two key advances with their robot. The first involved what scientists call visual recognition. Applied to robots, it means helping them to orient themselves with respect to the objects in a room. "Robots can see things," Jenkins explained, "but recognition remains a challenge."

The team overcame this obstacle by creating a computer program, whereby the robot recognized a human by extracting a silhouette, as if a person were a virtual cutout. This allowed the robot to home in on the human and receive commands without being distracted by other objects in the space.

"It's really being able to say, 'That's a person I'm looking at, I'm going to follow that person,'" Jenkins said.

The second advance involved the depth-imaging camera. The team used a CSEM Swiss Ranger, which uses infrared light to detect objects and to establish distances between the camera and the target object, and, just as important, to measure the distance between the camera and any other objects in the area. The distinction is key, Jenkins explained, because it enabled the Brown robot to stay locked in on the human commander, which was essential to maintaining a set distance while following the person.


(Robot obeys commands from human user [29M mpeg])

Douglas Adams wrote about the idea of a gesture-controlled system in his 1979 blockbuster The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. He also illustrated some potential problems with such a system.

The machine was rather difficult to operate. For years radios had been operated by means of pressing buttons and turning dials; then as the technology became more sophisticated the controls were made touch-sensitive--you merely had to brush the panels with your fingers; now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components and hope. It saved a lot of muscular expenditure, of course, but meant that you had to sit infuriatingly still if you wanted to keep listening to the same program.

Zaphod waved a hand and the channel switched again.
(Read more about the Gesture-Controlled Device )

I'd like to see this gesture control interface added onto the feature set of DARPA's BigDog robot; take a look at this recent BigDog video below.

Wave your mouse at these gesture-aware robot and interface links:

Via Eurekalert. You can also download a video from their website at Brown; see Mobile Human-Robot Teaming Enabled by Depth-Imaging .

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/11/2009)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Flying Dragon Robot Transforms In Mid-Air
Terrific prototype video.

MXene Hydrogel Skin For Robots Flexes And Senses
'The plastex swam and whirled like boiling toothpaste...' - JG Ballard, 1962.

Drywall Robot Looking For Sheetrock
Sheetrockers have sure changed since my day. Speaking as someone who as done this, I welcome robots.

Robots Help People Get Dressed, As Predicted In 1931
Yes, people of the future, robots will dress you.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Spicy Tomatoes Created With Genetic Engineering
How about mashed potatoes and brown gravy?

Driverless Hotel Rooms Predicted In 1828
'Did you never see a moving house before?'

Yandex Self-Driving Taxi Is Very Smooth
'The big car was slowing down, its computer brain sensing an exit ahead.'

Shrimp Actually Made Of Algae Is A New Wave Food
Bring in that crop algae.

Cosplay Style Wings Could Work On Moon
'They're lovely! - titanalloy struts as light and strong as bird-bones...'

Tesla Model 3 Has Outside Speaker Grille
Robert Heinlein does it again.

Arizona Luddites Attack Self-Driving Vehicles
'Trucks don't drive by themselves...' Or do they?

Organaut! Russians 3D Print Living Tissue In Space
'For a while your colonists will have to come up [to orbit] to the Hospital...'

WINE Spacecraft To Extract Water From Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.'

Japanese Swordsmiths Take On Asteroids
'... a tiny, rocket-powered projectile, drove towards the mysterious bulk.'

Saturn's Rings To Vanish, Let's Mine Them While We Can
'...the valuable shards of what had once been satellites.'

Humans Could Take Up A LOT Less Space
We'd have a lot more room for gardening...

Implosion Fabrication Shrinks 3D Objects To Nanoscale
'Carter had watched miniaturization a hundred times...'

GMO Houseplant Cleans Your Air
Removes compounds too small to be captured by a HEPA filter.

Nova Meat Can 3D Print Your Dinner
Printing out chicken nuggets.

MIT Scientists Create 'Peek-a-Boo Prober' From Jetsons
Well, George, it's the latest thing.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.