Human-Robot Interaction for Semi-Autonomous Assistive Robots : Empirical Studies and an Interaction Concept for Supporting Elderly People at Home

Sammanfattning: The research addresses current shortcomings of autonomous service robots operating in domestic environments by considering the concept of a semi-autonomous robot that would be supported by human remote operators whenever the robot cannot handle a task autonomously. The main research objective was to investigate how to design the human-robot interaction for a robotic system to assist elderly people with physical tasks at home according to this conceptual idea. The research procedure followed the principles of human-centered design and is structured into four phases:In the first phase, the context of use of the system to be designed was determined. A focus group study yielded characteristics and attitudes of several potential user groups. A survey determined the demands of elderly people and informal caregivers for services a semiautonomous assistive robot may provide. An ethnographic study investigated the living conditions of elderly people and determined technical challenges for robots operating in this type of environment. Another ethnographic study investigated the work environment in teleassistive service centers and determined the feasibility of extending their range of services to incorporate robotic teleassistance.In the second phase, two studies were carried out to understand the interaction requirements. The first study determined common types of failure of current autonomous robots and required human interventions to resolve such failure states. The second study investigated how the human assistance could be provided considering a range of potential interaction devices.In the third phase, a human-robot interaction concept with three user groups and dedicated user interfaces was designed. The concept and user interfaces were refined in an iterative process based on the results of evaluations with prospective users and received encouraging results for user satisfaction and user experience.In the fourth and final phase the utility of two specific user interface features was investigated experimentally. The first experiment investigated the utility of providing remote operators with global 3D environment maps during robot navigation and identified beneficial usage scenarios. The second experiment investigated the utility of stereoscopic display for remote manipulation and robot navigation. Results suggested temporal advantages under stereoscopic display for one of three investigated task types and potential advantages for the other two.