As robotics technology evolves to a stage where co-robots, or robots that can work with humans, become a reality, we need to ensure that these co-robots are equally capable of interacting with humans with disabilities. This project addresses this challenge by exploring meaningful human-robot interaction (HRI) in the context of assistive robots for blind travelers.
Pictured: Orientation & Mobility instructor interacts with Baxter research robot.
The proposed work explores three research areas in the context of assistive robots for blind travelers:
- Accessible Interfaces, which will be a crucial component of assistive robots
- Assistive Interaction between humans and robots, which we envision happening both directly and remotely via accessible smartphone interfaces
- Effective Cooperation, which will have to accommodate a variety of teaming options including human-robot teams, flexibility in teaming based on capabilities and resources, and also allow a range of connectedness and heterogeneity for the cooperating agents
Project work will begin with stakeholder interviews and task shadowing to help identify high value robot tasks and functional constraints.
Pictured: Researcher (left) engages Orientation & Mobility instructor (right) to learn how robot can meaningfully help blind and visually impaired travelers.
We anticipate generating new knowledge on how to support interactions between co-robots and visually impaired travelers through this project. We also hope to make advances in the areas of multi-robot skill coordination and crowdsourcing assistance to robots, and to produce peer-review publications as well as infusions into classes and outreach programs.