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Robot Vision, Human-Robot Interaction

Alan Peters
Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
234 Jacobs Hall
615-322-7924 (office)

The Intelligent Robotics Laboratory (IRL) of the Center for Intelligent Systems in the School of Engineering is a state-of-the-art facility for research on robots that interact with human beings. A primary focus is on Human-Centered Robotics — wherein the capabilities and needs of people shape the fundamental design constraints for the robots. The IRL performs basic research in fundamental problems of human-robot interaction, including the sensing, recognition, and interpretation of human actions, human-like and human-compatible robot behavior with respect to sensing and manipulating the environment, reactive control for human safety, human-robot cooperation, which incorporates the mutual direction of attention and human-directed local autonomy (HuDL), and robot-robot interaction using the same concepts. Problems of computer vision including object recognition, visual attention, and visual guidance of motion are of primary importance.

A primary goal of the IRL is to incorporate the results of basic research into real working systems developed with widely-available, current, low-cost, off-the-shelf technology. Therefore, our computational platforms are Pentium-class PCs running the Microsoft Windows NT operating system. Most software is developed in C++. Sensory input devices such as cameras, microphones, digitizers, and frame grabbers are all commercial products.

The combination of basic research with practical solutions has led to the development of ISAC, a stationary dual-armed humanoid with an active vision system, Helpmate, a single-armed, mobile platform fully compatible with ISAC, ROBIN, a small, climber robot, and a low-cost anthropomorphic multifingered gripper called the pneu-hand.