Human-Robot Cooperation: Perspective Sharing

Imagine a human and a robot performing a joint assembly task such as assembling a shelf. This task clearly requires a number of sequential or parallel actions and visual information about the context to be negotiated and performed in coordination by the partners.

However, human vision and machine vision differ. On one hand, computer vision systems are precise, achieve repeatable results, and are able to perceive wavelengths invisible to humans. On the other hand, sense-making of a picture or scenery can be considered a typical human trait. So how should the cooperation in a vision-based task (e.g. building something together out of Lego bricks) work for a human-robot team, if they do not have a common perception of the world?

There is a need for grounding in human-robot cooperation. In order to achieve this we have to combine the strengths of human beings (e.g. problem solving, sense making, and the ability to make decisions) with the strengths of robotics (e.g. omnivisual cameras, consistency of vision measures, and storage of vision data).

Therefore, the aim is to explore how human dyads cooperate in vision-based tasks and how they achieve grounding. The findings from human dyad will then be transferred in an adapted manner to human-robot interaction in order to inform the behavior implementation of the robot. Human and machine vision will be bridged by letting the human “see through the robot’s eyes” at identified moments, which could increase the collaboration performance. User studies using the Wizard-of-Oz technique (the robot is not acting autonomously, but is remote-controlled by a “wizard” behind the scenes) will be conducted and assessed in terms of user satisfaction. The results of human-human dyads and human-robot teams will be compared regarding performance and quality criteria (usability, user experience, and social acceptance), in order to gain an understanding of what makes human-robot cooperation perceived as satisfying for the user. As there is evidence in Human-Robot Interaction research that the cultural-background of the participants and the embodiment of the robot can influence the perception and performance of human-robot collaboration, comparison studies in the USA an Japan will be conducted to explore if this holds true for vision-based cooperation tasks in the final stage of the research undertaking. With this approach, it can be systematically explored how grounding in human-robot vision can be achieved. As such, the research proposed in this project is vital for future robotic vision projects where it is expected that robots share an environment and have to jointly perform tasks. The project follows a highly interdisciplinary approach and brings together research aspects from sociology, computer science, cognitive science, and robotics.


2013 - 2016