Development of the Huggable Social Robot Probo On the Conceptual Design and Software Architecture
This dissertation presents the development of a huggable social robot named Probo. Probo embodies a stuffed imaginary animal, providing a soft touch and a huggable appearance. Probo's purpose is to serve as a multidisciplinary research platform for human-robot interaction focused on children. In terms of a social robot, Probo is classified as a social interface supporting non-verbal communication. Probo's social skills are thereby limited to a reactive level. To close the gap with higher levels of interaction, an innovative system for shared control with a human operator is introduced. The software architecture defines a modular structure to incorporate all systems into a single control center. This control center is accompanied with a 3D virtual model of Probo, simulating all motions of the robot and providing a visual feedback to the operator. Additionally, the model allows us to advance on user-testing and evaluation of newly designed systems. The robot reacts on basic input stimuli that it perceives during interaction. The input stimuli, that can be referred to as low-level perceptions, are derived from vision analysis, audio analysis, touch analysis and object identification. The stimuli will influence the attention and homeostatic system, used to define the robot's point of attention, current emotional state and corresponding facial expression. The recognition of these facial expressions has been evaluated in various user-studies. To evaluate the collaboration of the software components, a social interactive game for children, Probogotchi, has been developed. To facilitate interaction with children, Probo has an identity and corresponding history. Safety is ensured through Probo's soft embodiment and intrinsic safe actuation systems. To convey the illusion of life in a robotic creature, tools for the creation and management of motion sequences are put into the hands of the operator. All motions generated from operator triggered systems are combined with the motions originating from the autonomous reactive systems. The resulting motion is subsequently smoothened and transmitted to the actuation systems. With future applications to come, Probo is an ideal platform to create a friendly companion for hospitalized children.
Brussel : Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Faculty of Engineering , 2009
XXI, 163
Supervisor: Lefeber, Dirk [Supervisor]
Supervisor: Vanderborght, Bram [Supervisor]
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Creation 17.11.2023
Last edited 17.11.2023
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