Accessible Interfaces for the Development and Deployment of Robotic Platforms

by   Andrea F. Daniele, et al.

Accessibility is one of the most important features in the design of robots and their interfaces. This thesis proposes methods that improve the accessibility of robots for three different target audiences: consumers, researchers, and learners. In order for humans and robots to work together effectively, they both must be able to communicate with each other. We tackle the problem of generating route instructions that are readily understandable by novice humans for the navigation of a priori unknown indoor environments. We then move on to the related problem of enabling robots to understand natural language utterances in the context of learning to operate articulated objects (e.g., fridges, drawers) by leveraging kinematic models. Next, we turn our focus to the development of accessible and reproducible robotic platforms for scientific research. We propose a new concept for reproducible robotics research that integrates development and benchmarking, so that reproducibility is obtained "by design" from the beginning of the research and development process. We then propose a framework called SHARC (SHared Autonomy for Remote Collaboration), to improve accessibility for underwater robotic intervention operations. SHARC allows multiple remote scientists to efficiently plan and execute high-level sampling procedures using an underwater manipulator while deferring low-level control to the robot. Lastly, we developed the first hardware-based MOOC in AI and robotics. This course allows learners to study autonomy hands-on by making real robots make their own decisions and accomplish broadly defined tasks. We design a new robotic platform from the ground up to support this new learning experience. A fully browser-based interface, based on leading tools and technologies for code development, testing, validation, and deployment serves to maximize the accessibility of these educational resources.


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