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  1. Robots hold significant promise to assist with providing care to an aging population and to help overcome increasing caregiver demands. Although a large body of research has explored robotic assistance for individuals with disabilities and age-related challenges, this past work focuses primarily on building robotic capabilities for assistance and has not yet fully considered how these capabilities could be used by professional caregivers. To better understand the workflows and practices of caregivers who support aging populations and to determine how robotic assistance can be integrated into their work, we conducted a field study using ethnographic and co-design methods in a senior living community. From our results, we created a set of design opportunities for robotic assistance, which we organized into three different parts: supporting caregiver workflows, adapting to resident abilities, and providing feedback to all stakeholders of the interaction.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 13, 2023
  2. Socially interactive robots present numerous unique programming challenges for interaction developers. While modern authoring tools succeed at making the authoring experience approachable and convenient for developers from a wide variety of backgrounds, they are less successful at targeting assistance to developers based on the specific task or interaction being authored. We propose interaction templates, a data-driven solution for (1) matching in-progress robot programs to candidate task or interaction models and then (2) providing assistance to developers by using the matched models to generate modifications to in-progress programs. In this paper, we present the various dimensions that define first how interaction templates might be used, then how interaction templates may be represented, and finally how they might be collected.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 28, 2023
  3. The introduction of collaborative robots (cobots) into the workplace has presented both opportunities and challenges for those seeking to utilize their functionality. Prior research has shown that despite the capabilities afforded by cobots, there is a disconnect between those capabilities and the applications that they currently are deployed in, partially due to a lack of effective cobot-focused instruction in the field. Experts who work successfully within this collaborative domain could offer insight into the considerations and process they use to more effectively capture this cobot capability. Using an analysis of expert insights in the collaborative interaction design space, we developed a set of Expert Frames based on these insights and integrated these Expert Frames into a new training and programming system that can be used to teach novice operators to think, program, and troubleshoot in ways that experts do. We present our system and case studies that demonstrate how Expert Frames provide novice users with the ability to analyze and learn from complex cobot application scenarios.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 7, 2023
  4. Despite the large amount of research on kinesthetic haptic devices and haptic effect modeling, there is limited work assessing the perceived realism of kinesthetic model renderings. Identifying the impact of haptic effect parameters in perceived realism can help to inform the required accuracy of kinesthetic renderings. In this work, we model common kinesthetic haptic effects and evaluate the perceived realism of varying model parameters via a user study. Our results suggest that parameter accuracy requirements to achieve realistic ratings vary depending on the specific haptic parameter.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 21, 2023
  5. Many applications in robotics require computing a robot manipulator's "proximity" to a collision state in a given configuration. This collision proximity is commonly framed as a summation over closest Euclidean distances between many pairs of rigid shapes in a scene. Computing many such pairwise distances is inefficient, while more efficient approximations of this procedure, such as through supervised learning, lack accuracy and robustness. In this work, we present an approach for computing a collision proximity function for robot manipulators that formalizes the trade-off between efficiency and accuracy and provides an algorithm that gives control over it. Our algorithm, called Proxima, works in one of two ways: (1) given a time budget as input, the algorithm returns an as-accurate-as-possible proximity approximation value in this time; or (2) given an accuracy budget, the algorithm returns an as-fast-as-possible proximity approximation value that is within the given accuracy bounds. We show the robustness of our approach through analytical investigation and simulation experiments on a wide set of robot models ranging from 6 to 132 degrees of freedom. We demonstrate that controlling the trade-off between efficiency and accuracy in proximity computations via our approach can enable safe and accurate real-time robot motion-optimization even on high-dimensionalmore »robot models.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  6. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  7. As collaborative robots become increasingly widespread in manufacturing settings, there is a greater need for tools and interfaces to support operators who integrate, supervise, and troubleshoot these systems. In this paper, we present an application of the Robot Attention Demand (RAD) metric for use in the design of user interfaces to support operators in collaborative manufacturing scenarios. Building on prior work that introduced RAD, we designed and implemented prototype timeline and countdown-timer interfaces to be used within a collaborative assembly-inspection task where an operator is also responsible for a separate sorting task. We performed a user evaluation to investigate the effects of displaying predictive RAD information on operator performance and perceptions of the task. Our results show lower perceived task load and increased usability scores compared to baseline condition without an interface. These findings suggest that predictive RAD should be used by designers and engineers developing operator interfaces for collaborative robot applications in manufacturing.
  8. The pervasive use of smart speakers has raised numerous privacy concerns. While work to date provides an understanding of user perceptions of these threats, limited research focuses on how we can mitigate these concerns, either through redesigning the smart speaker or through dedicated privacy-preserving interventions. In this paper, we present the design and prototyping of two privacy-preserving interventions: 'Obfuscator' targeted at disabling recording at the microphones, and 'PowerCut' targeted at disabling power to the smart speaker. We present our findings from a technology probe study involving 24 households that interacted with our prototypes; the primary objective was to gain a better understanding of the design space for technological interventions that might address these concerns. Our data and findings reveal complex trade-offs among utility, privacy, and usability and stresses the importance of multi-functionality, aesthetics, ease-of-use, and form factor. We discuss the implications of our findings for the development of subsequent interventions and the future design of smart speakers.
  9. Robots are increasingly being introduced into domains where they assist or collaborate with human counterparts. There is a growing body of literature on how robots might serve as collaborators in creative activities, but little is known about the factors that shape human perceptions of robots as creative collaborators. This paper investigates the effects of a robot’s social behaviors on people’s creative thinking and their perceptions of the robot. We developed an interactive system to facilitate collaboration between a human and a robot in a creative activity. We conducted a user study (n = 12), in which the robot and adult participants took turns to create compositions using tangram pieces projected on a shared workspace. We observed four human behavioral traits related to creativity in the interaction: accepting robot inputs as inspiration, delegating the creative lead to the robot, communicating creative intents, and being playful in the creation. Our findings suggest designs for co-creation in social robots that consider the adversarial effect of giving the robot too much control in creation, as well as the role playfulness plays in the creative process.