Natural Interaction Design of a Humanoid Robot

François Ferland, Dominic Létourneau, Arnaud Aumont, Julien Frémy, Marc-Antoine Legault, Michel Lauria, François Michaud


Designing robots that interact naturally with people requires the integration of technologies and al- gorithms for communication modalities such as gestures, movement, facial expressions and user interfaces. To understand interdependence among these modalities, evaluating the integrated design in feasibility studies provides insights about key considerations regarding the robot and potential in- teraction scenarios, allowing the design to be iteratively refined before larger-scale experiments are planned and conducted. This paper presents three feasibility studies with IRL-1, a new humanoid robot integrating compliant actuators for motion and manipulation along with artificial audition, vision, and facial expressions. These studies explore distinctive capabilities of IRL-1, including the ability to be physically guided by perceiving forces through elastic actuators used for active steering of the omnidirectional platform; the integration of vision, motion and audition for an aug- mented telepresence interface; and the influence of delays in responding to sounds. In addition to demonstrating how these capabilities can be exploited in human-robot interaction, this paper illus- trates intrinsic interrelations between design and evaluation of IRL-1, such as the influence of the contact point in physically guiding the platform, the synchronization between sensory and robot rep- resentations in the graphical display, and facial gestures for responsiveness when computationally expensive processes are used. It also outlines ideas regarding more advanced experiments that could be conducted with the platform.


Human-robot interaction, robot design, physical interaction, telepresence, computational resource management

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