An Augmented Reality Human-Robot Collaboration System
Thesis DisciplineMechanical Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Although robotics is well established as a research field, there has been relatively little work on human-robot collaboration. This type of collaboration is going to become an increasingly important issue as robots work ever more closely with humans. Clearly, there is a growing need for research on human-robot collaboration and communication between humans and robotic systems.
Research into human-human communication can be used as a starting point in developing a robust human-robot collaboration system. Previous research into collaborative efforts with humans has shown that grounding, situational awareness, a common frame of reference and spatial referencing are vital in effective communication. Therefore, these items comprise a list of required attributes of an effective human-robot collaborative system.
Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology for overlaying three-dimensional virtual graphics onto the user's view of the real world. It also allows for real time interaction with these virtual graphics, enabling a user to reach into the augmented world and manipulate it directly. The internal state of a robot and its intended actions can be displayed through the virtual imagery in the AR environment. Therefore, AR can bridge the divide between human and robotic systems and enable effective human-robot collaboration.
This thesis describes the work involved in developing the Augmented Reality Human-Robot Collaboration (AR-HRC) System. It first garners design criteria for the system from a review of communication and collaboration in human-human interaction, the current state of Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) and related work in AR. A review of research in multimodal interfaces is then provided highlighting the benefits of using such an interface design. Therefore, an AR multimodal interface was developed to determine if this type of design improved performance over a single modality design. Indeed, the multimodal interface was found to improve performance, thereby providing the impetus to use a multimodal design approach for the AR-HRC system.
The architectural design of the system is then presented. A user study conducted to determine what kind of interaction people would use when collaborating with a mobile robot is discussed and then the integration of a mobile robot is described. Finally, an evaluation of the AR-HRC system is presented.