Abstract Title

Building Modular Robots for Use in HRI Research

Presentation Type

Poster

Abstract

Building Modular Robots for Use in HRI Research

The use of robots in today’s society has grown exponentially. They are everywhere, making your fast food burgers and assisting with surgeries at local hospitals. As these machines become more prevalent, the study of human-robot interaction (HRI) also grows in importance. It is necessary to perform research mimicking these interactions. Yet, to perform such experiments, many different types of robots are needed. For example, there is a need to explore how different physical characteristics of a robot impact a human’s trust, workload, and performance. The use of custom built robots allows researchers to explore such characteristics in a controlled environment.

We propose the construction of modular robots that can be adapted to the different needs of different research queries. The benefits of custom built modular robots include the ability to update physical features, as well as the ability to implement various codes for operating the robot, taking advantage of easy-to-use Arduino boards to do exactly requested for an experiment. The purpose of our presentation is to showcase a successful implementation of this approach.

To this end, a team of skilled engineers and programmers from the University of Central Florida collaborated to design and build two robots meant to be used in multiple lab studies examining robot form in HRI. These robots were constructed using aluminum sheeting to ensure durability while still being lightweight. High powered, dual torque motors were affixed to the chassis with omnidirectional wheels for precise alignment when beginning trials. Dummy cameras were installed to the chassis with the possibility of replacing them with real cameras in the future. Each robot has its own Arduino board with wireless RC capabilities and a large battery for long durations of usage. Animatronic eyes were also created using a combination of basswood and aluminum for rigidity. There are five precise servos used to close the eyelids to mimic a blink, as well as independent eyebrows to express emotions such as confusion, anger, and sadness. Furthermore, these eyes may be easily added to or removed from the robots at any time.

Based on the current construction, these 2 robots can essentially appear as 4 different robots. More additions can be made to customize the robots further, including the addition of material to make the robots more animalistic. With the increasing availability of 3D printers, we also see polymer pieces and chassis being designed and implemented in the near future. Our work is only a first step in a great journey of modular robot development in the field of human factors. The implications of such modularity in robot design are far-reaching and can have a lasting impact on the study of HRI in human factors.

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Building Modular Robots for Use in HRI Research

Building Modular Robots for Use in HRI Research

The use of robots in today’s society has grown exponentially. They are everywhere, making your fast food burgers and assisting with surgeries at local hospitals. As these machines become more prevalent, the study of human-robot interaction (HRI) also grows in importance. It is necessary to perform research mimicking these interactions. Yet, to perform such experiments, many different types of robots are needed. For example, there is a need to explore how different physical characteristics of a robot impact a human’s trust, workload, and performance. The use of custom built robots allows researchers to explore such characteristics in a controlled environment.

We propose the construction of modular robots that can be adapted to the different needs of different research queries. The benefits of custom built modular robots include the ability to update physical features, as well as the ability to implement various codes for operating the robot, taking advantage of easy-to-use Arduino boards to do exactly requested for an experiment. The purpose of our presentation is to showcase a successful implementation of this approach.

To this end, a team of skilled engineers and programmers from the University of Central Florida collaborated to design and build two robots meant to be used in multiple lab studies examining robot form in HRI. These robots were constructed using aluminum sheeting to ensure durability while still being lightweight. High powered, dual torque motors were affixed to the chassis with omnidirectional wheels for precise alignment when beginning trials. Dummy cameras were installed to the chassis with the possibility of replacing them with real cameras in the future. Each robot has its own Arduino board with wireless RC capabilities and a large battery for long durations of usage. Animatronic eyes were also created using a combination of basswood and aluminum for rigidity. There are five precise servos used to close the eyelids to mimic a blink, as well as independent eyebrows to express emotions such as confusion, anger, and sadness. Furthermore, these eyes may be easily added to or removed from the robots at any time.

Based on the current construction, these 2 robots can essentially appear as 4 different robots. More additions can be made to customize the robots further, including the addition of material to make the robots more animalistic. With the increasing availability of 3D printers, we also see polymer pieces and chassis being designed and implemented in the near future. Our work is only a first step in a great journey of modular robot development in the field of human factors. The implications of such modularity in robot design are far-reaching and can have a lasting impact on the study of HRI in human factors.