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  1. Abstract

    In real-life teleoperation scenarios, the presence of time-varying network delays, particularly in wireless networks, poses significant challenges in maintaining stability in a bilateral teleoperation system. Various approaches have been proposed in the past to address stability concerns; however, these often come at the expense of system transparency. Nevertheless, increasing transparency is crucial in a teleoperation system to enable precise and safe operations, as well as to provide real-time decision-making capabilities for the operator. This paper presents our comprehensive approaches to maximize teleoperation transparency by minimizing system impedance, enhance the wave variable method to handle time-varying network delays, and alleviate non-smooth effects caused by network jitters in bilateral teleoperation. The proposed methodologies take into account the real-world challenges and considerations to ensure the practical applicability and effectiveness of the teleoperation system. Throughout these implementations, passivity analysis is employed to ensure system stability, guaranteeing a reliable and safe teleoperation experience. The proposed approaches were successfully validated in Team Northeastern’s Avatar telepresence system, which achieved the 3rd place in ANA Avatar XPRIZE challenge.

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  2. The effectiveness of human-robot interactions critically depends on the success of computational efforts to emulate human inference of intent, anticipation of action, and coordination of movement. To this end, we developed two models that leverage a well described feature of human movement: Gaussian-shaped submovements in velocity profiles, to act as robotic surrogates for human inference and trajectory planning in a handover task. We evaluated both models based on how early in a handover movement the inference model can obtain accurate estimates of handover location and timing, and how similar model trajectories are to human receiver trajectories. Initial results using one participant dyad demonstrate that our inference model can accurately predict location and handover timing, while the trajectory planner can use these predictions to provide a human-like trajectory plan for the robot. This approach delivers promising performance while remaining grounded in physiologically meaningful Gaussian-shaped velocity profiles of human motion. 
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  3. State-of-the-art human-in-the-loop robot grasping is hugely suffered by Electromyography (EMG) inference robustness issues. As a workaround, researchers have been looking into integrating EMG with other signals, often in an ad hoc manner. In this paper, we are presenting a method for end-to-end training of a policy for human-in-the-loop robot grasping on real reaching trajectories. For this purpose we use Reinforcement Learning (RL) and Imitation Learning (IL) in DEXTRON (DEXTerity enviRONment), a stochastic simulation environment with real human trajectories that are augmented and selected using a Monte Carlo (MC) simulation method. We also offer a success model which once trained on the expert policy data and the RL policy roll-out transitions, can provide transparency to how the deep policy works and when it is probably going to fail. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
    There is a need for semi-autonomous systems capable of performing both automated tasks and supervised maneuvers. When dealing with multiple robots or robots with high complexity (such as humanoids), we face the issue of effectively coordinating operators across robots. We build on our previous work to present a methodology for designing trajectories and policies for robots such that a few operators can supervise multiple robots. Specifically, we: (1) Analyze the complexity of the problem, (2) Design a procedure for generating policies allowing operators to oversee many robots, (3) Present a method for designing policies and robot trajectories to allow operators to oversee multiple robots, and (4) Include both simulation and hardware experiments demonstrating our methodologies. 
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  5. null (Ed.)
    There is a significant amount of synergy between virtual reality (VR) and the field of robotics. However, it has only been in approximately the past five years that commercial immersive VR devices have been available to developers. This new availability has led to a rapid increase in research using VR devices in the field of robotics, especially in the development of VR interfaces for operating robots. In this paper, we present a systematic review on VR interfaces for robot operation that utilize commercially available immersive VR devices. A total of 41 papers published between 2016–2020 were collected for review following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Papers are discussed and categorized into five categories: (1) Visualization, which focuses on displaying data or information to operators; (2) Robot Control and Planning, which focuses on connecting human input or movement to robot movement; (3) Interaction, which focuses on the development of new interaction techniques and/or identifying best interaction practices; (4) Usability, which focuses on user experiences of VR interfaces; and (5) Infrastructure, which focuses on system architectures or software to support connecting VR and robots for interface development. Additionally, we provide future directions to continue development in VR interfaces for operating robots. 
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  6. null (Ed.)