Robot Programming through Touch

Many people consider robots to be sophisticated machines that are too complex for the layperson to learn to control. If robots are to be accepted in homes and offices, this has to change. People need to be able to interact with robots in natural and in familiar manner; they must not find them intimidating. Touch-based interactions are instinctive for humans and have an important role in learning. Therefore it is important to study how humans can interact in a physical manner with robots.

It will describe a method for programming a robot through touch. It is aimed at allowing children too quickly and easily program exciting robot behavior. It can also support collaborative programming of a robot, involving users on a computer and users having the robot as an interface. We used a robotic platform developed by NEC called the PaPeRo.

PaPeRo has sensors embedded underneath its hard exterior at certain locations on the body, and these sensors detect the touch of a user’s hand. When a sensor is touched, the robot performs an action that has been mapped to that sensor. The user can string sequences of simple actions together to make the robot perform higher level tasks, such as moving in circle. This approach avoids involving the user in low level details, which can be confusing. Moreover, the user can learn to program complex actions simply by playing with the robot. This method of programming does not require the user to learn the syntax of a programming language or even to use a computer.

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