Helena Wotring

My Summer Project

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Interaction Lab

For the Summer of 2006, I will be working on the tour guide project.  The aim of this project is to create an interactive tour guide robot for the Interactions Lab at the University of Southern California.  The robot will consist of a Pioneer base, a video camera, an IR remote, and an Esra head.  Given an internal map of the room, the tour guide will navigate through the lab giving a tour.  To the robot, this will look like a point, itself, moving around on the map.  The Esra head, a small robotic head with movable eyes and mouth, will simulate speaking and help to direct the tour's focus.  The video camera will observe the natural and artificial shapes on the ceiling and help to specifically hone in the robot's position.  This is like the robot looking around and adjusting its position from the little dot on its virtual map to the real world.  The tour guide team is made up of three summer interns, including myself, working on different aspects of the project to achieve overall success.

My part in the project is to coordinate the human-robot interactions of the tour guide.  Based on a given script and its position along the tour, the robot will direct the tour by generating a voice for the robot and facial expressions for the Esra head.  This will be used both to give information to the tour group as well as help the robot navigate around its environment by helping to navigate around any human obstacles.  In addition to this, it can also query the tour group about different options and questions they may have using the IR remote.  This is a simple remote made up of various buttons that can be pressed to indicate various options the users, or the tour group, want to take.  An example of this is "Press the red button if you want to me to tell you about Helena's research."
Should I finish the expressed goals of my part the project I could work further into another aspect of the robot's capabilities such as voice recognition or interacting with the users by some sort of visual que.

For updates on my progress, check out my Project Journal.