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Semi-autonomous domestic service robots

Evaluation of a user interface for remote manipulation and navigation with focus on effects of stereoscopic display
: Mast, Marcus; Zdenek, Materna; Spanel, Michal; Weisshardt, Florian; Arbeiter, Georg; Burmester, Michael; Smrz, Pavel; Graf, Birgit


International Journal of Social Robotics 7 (2015), Nr.2, S.183-202
ISSN: 1875-4791
ISSN: 1875-4805
European Commission EC
FP7; 247772; SRS
Fraunhofer IPA ()
user interface; Mensch Maschine Schnittstelle; Mensch Rechner Interaktion; Mensch-Roboter-Interaktion; Telemanipulation; Teleoperation; Schnittstelle

In this article, we evaluate a novel type of user interface for remotely resolving challenging situations for service robots in domestic environments. Our focus is on potential advantages of stereoscopic display. The user interface is based on a control architecture that allows involvement of a remote human operator when the robot encounters a problem. It offers semi-autonomous remote manipulation and navigation with low-cost interaction devices, incorporates global 3D environment mapping, and follows an ecological visualization approach that integrates 2D laser data, 3D depth camera data, RGB data, a robot model, constantly updated global 2D and 3D environment maps, and indicators into a single 3D scene with user-adjustable viewpoints and optional viewpoint-based control. We carried out an experiment with 28 participants in a home-like environment investigating the utility of stereoscopic display for three types of task: defining the shape of an unknown or unrecognized object to be grasped, positioning the gripper for semiautonomous reaching and grasping, and navigating the robot around obstacles. Participants were able to successfully complete all tasks and highly approved the user interface in both monoscopic and stereoscopic display modes. They were significantly faster under stereoscopic display in positioning the gripper. For the other two task types, there was a tendency for faster task completion in stereo mode that would need to be verified in further studies. We did not find significant differences in perceived workload between display types for any type of task. We conclude that stereoscopic display seems to be a useful optional display mode for this type of user interface but that its utility may vary depending on the task.