47 results for MacDonald, Bruce, Conference item

  • Ruru: A spatial and interactive visual programming language for novice robot programming

    Diprose, James; MacDonald, Bruce; Hosking, John (2011)

    Conference item
    The University of Auckland Library

    Robots are useful tools for teaching novices programming as real and immediate outcomes of programs can be seen. However robot software development has unique problems making aspects of programming difficult compared with general software development. These problems include the robot platform, the robot's environment and its interaction in three-dimensional space and the fact that events occur in real time. We describe Ruru, a novel visual language that addresses these difficulties through a principled approach to its design. It also visualizes robot inputs intuitively in real time and allows the intuitive amendment of parameters. This improves its usefulness and user friendliness as a tool for teaching novices programming.

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  • How People Naturally Describe Robot Behaviour

    Diprose, James; Plimmer, Beryl; MacDonald, Bruce; Hosking, John (2012)

    Conference item
    The University of Auckland Library

    Existing novice robot programming systems are complex, which ironically makes them unsuitable for novices. We have analysed 19 reports of robot projects to inform development of an ontology of critical concepts that end user robot programming environments must include. This is a first step to simpler end user robot programming systems.

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  • A Human-Centric API for Programming Socially Interactive Robots

    Diprose, James; Plimmer, Beryl; MacDonald, Bruce; Hosking, John (2014)

    Conference item
    The University of Auckland Library

    Whilst robots are increasingly being deployed as social agents, it is still difficult to program them to interact socially. This is because current programming tools either require programmers to work at a low level or lack features needed to create certain aspects of social interaction. High level, domain specific tools with features designed specifically to meet the requirements of social interaction have the potential to ease the creation of social applications. We present a domain specific application programming interface (API) that is designed to meet the requirements of social interaction. The Cognitive Dimensions Framework was used as a design tool during the design process and the API was validated by implementing an exemplar application. The evaluation of the API showed that programmers with no robotics knowledge were positively impressed by the notation and that its organization, domain specific interfaces and object oriented nature positively affected several Cognitive Dimensions.

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  • Towards a flexible platform for voice accent and expression selection on a Healthcare Robot

    Igic, Aleksandar; Watson, Catherine; Teutenberg, Jonathan; Tamagawa, Rie; MacDonald, Bruce; Broadbent, Elizabeth (2009)

    Conference item
    The University of Auckland Library

    In the application of robots in healthcare, where there is a requirement to communicate vocally with non-expert users, a capacity to generate intelligible and expressive speech is needed. The Festival Speech Synthesis System is used as a framework for speech generation on our healthcare robot. Expression is added to speech by modifying mean pitch and pitch range parameters of a statistical model distributed with Festival. US and UK English diphone voices are evaluated alongside a newly made New Zealand English accented diphone voice by human judges. Results show judges can discern different accents and correctly identify the nationality of the voice.

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  • The application of polypyrrole trilayer actuators in microfluidics and robotics

    Kiefer, Rudolf; Mandviwalla, Xerxes; Archer, Rosalind; Tjahyono, Sungkono; MacDonald, Bruce; Bowmaker, Graham; Kilmartin, Paul; Travas-Sejdic, Jadranka (2008)

    Conference item
    The University of Auckland Library

    Trilayer actuators were constructed using polypyrrole (PPy) films doped with dodecylbenzene sulfonate (DBS). Identical 5-20 μm PPy/DBS films were grown on either side of a 110 μm poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) membrane to serve as working and counter electrodes with respect to each other. The performance of the trilayer actuator was tested using potential step experiments between -0.8 and +0.8 V at different frequencies (0.03 to 10 Hz) and trilayer lengths (1 to 2.5 cm), and the extent of deflection was measured using a CCD camera. Satisfactory deflections in the range of 1-3 mm were observed for 10 μm thick PPy layers on trilayers 1.5 to 2.5 cm in length when operated at 1-5 Hz for over 40,000 cycles. The trilayer actuators were examined in a fluidics channels, and mathematical modelling using finite element analysis was used to predict overall fluid movement and flow rates. The trilayers were also used to construct a 'fish-tail' positioned at the back of a self-driven robotic fish.

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  • Covariance Visualisations for Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping

    Kozlov, Alexei; MacDonald, Bruce; Wuensche, Burkhard (2009)

    Conference item
    The University of Auckland Library

    Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM) is a method of environment mapping in mobile robotics. One of the most popular classes of this algorithm is the Extended- Kalman Filter (EKF) SLAM, which maps the environment by estimating similarities between currently registered scene objects and newly perceived ones. More advanced versions of this algorithm are necessary, e.g. for multiple robots or outdoor environments. However, development is di cult because of the complex interaction between the internal robot state, the perceived scene and the actual scene. New visualisation methods are hence required to enable developers to debug and evaluate EKF-SLAM algorithms. We present novel Augmented Reality based visualisation techniques which display the algorithm's progress by visualising feature and robot pose estimates, as well as correlations between fea- tures and clusters of features. The techniques allow a qualitative estimate of the algorithm's mapping compared with the ground truth and indicate the correctness and convergence properties of the SLAM system.

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  • A comparison between extended kalman filtering and sequential monte carlo technique for simultaneous localisation and map-building.

    Yuen, David; MacDonald, Bruce (2002)

    Conference item
    The University of Auckland Library

    Monte Carlo Localisation has been applied to solve many di erent classes of localisation problems. In this paper, we present a possible Simultaneous Localisation and Map-building implementation using the Sequential Monte Carlo technique. Multiple particle lters are created to estimate both the robot and land- mark positions simultaneously. The proposed technique shows promising results when com- pared with those obtained with the Extended Kalman lter.

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  • An Intuitive Interface for a Cognitive Programming By Demonstration System

    Brageul, David; Vukanovic, Slobodan; MacDonald, Bruce (2008)

    Conference item
    The University of Auckland Library

    A significant challenge in programming robots by demonstration is to accurately capture the user's intentions, so that sensor differences can be managed during playback. Sensor difference can be caused by: natural sensory data variations, minor variations in the task conditions, significant changes in the task scenario, or because the task requires a new set of actions to be executed. This paper presents a design for a programming by demonstration system that focuses on the important goal of capturing the intentions of the user during the demonstration. A gesture interface for a large touch screen is used during demonstration, to capture more clearly the user's intentions for robot movements, and also during a pre- playback session to capture the user's intentions regarding sensor data.

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  • Case studies for model driven engineering in mobile robotics

    MacDonald, Bruce; Roop, Parthasarathi; Abbas, T; Jayawardena, C; Datta, Chandan; Diprose, James; Hosking, John; Bhatti, Z (2011)

    Conference item
    The University of Auckland Library

    Outline • Model driven engineering • Case studies: 1. Customization tools for different human roles 2. Defining interactions 3. Programming by demonstration 4. Visual programming 5. Safety critical robotics

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  • Developer Oriented Visualisation of a Robot Program

    Collett, Toby; MacDonald, Bruce (2006)

    Conference item
    The University of Auckland Library

    Robot programmers are faced with the challenging problem of understanding the robot's view of its world, both when creating and when debugging robot software. As a result tools are created as needed in different laboratories for different robots and different applications. We discuss the requirements for effective interaction under these conditions, and propose an augmented reality approach to visualising robot input, output and state information, including geometric data such as laser range scans, temporal data such as the past robot path, conditional data such as possible future robot paths, and statistical data such as localisation distributions. The visualisation techniques must scale appropriately as robot data and complexity increases. Our current progress in developing a robot visualisation toolkit is presented.

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  • Distance indexed trajectory generation for a helicopter robot for programming by demonstration

    Abbas, Tanveer; MacDonald, Bruce (2009)

    Conference item
    The University of Auckland Library

    A trajectory generator is presented. While the generator is generic we focus on its application for a programming by demonstration (PbD) system. Using stored task knowledge, our PbD system generates position targets at runtime to guide the robot to achieve specified task goals. This paper addresses the problem of trajectory generation (as a sequence of waypoints) to move from one position target to another. Most existing trajectory generation algorithms produce time indexed trajectories. The traversability of time indexed trajectories can be ensured only if an accurate dynamic model is considered for trajectory generation. However, if the true dynamics are not known, the robot may fail to follow the trajectory. A novel distance indexed trajectory generation method is presented to resolve these issues for a helicopter robot. The approach is evaluated using a helicopter simulator.

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  • Evaluating a reactive semantics for robotics

    Biggs, G; MacDonald, Bruce (2008)

    Conference item
    The University of Auckland Library

    A key part of programming a robotic system is specifying the responses to events that the robot may encounter. This is provided by a new language, RADAR. This paper proposes evaluating robot programming systems work by: a formalisation of the semantics, an evaluation in terms of criteria that determine a languagepsilas suitability for programming, and a small user study to test the readability of programs written using the semantics. The evaluation of the reactivity semantics found in the RADAR language shows clear benefits for programmers.

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  • Expressive Speech for a Virtual Talking Head

    Li, Xingyan; Watson, Catherine; Igic, Aleksandar; MacDonald, Bruce (2009)

    Conference item
    The University of Auckland Library

    This paper presents our work on building an expressive facial speech synthesis system Eface, which can be used on a social or service robot. Eface aims at enabling a robot to deliver infor- mation clearly with empathetic speech and an expressive virtual face. The system is built on two open source software packages: the Festival speech synthesis system, which provides robots the capability to speak with di erent voices and emotions, and Xface{a 3D talking head, which enables the robot to display various human fa- cial expressions. This paper addresses how to express di erent speech emotions with Festi- val and how to integrate the synthesized speech with Xface. We have also implemented Eface on a physical robot and tested it with some ser- vice scenarios.

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  • In situ visualisation, debugging and capturing intentions in robotic software engineering.

    MacDonald, Bruce; Abbas, Tanveer; Chen, Ian; Gumbley, Luke; Kozlov, Alexei (2009)

    Conference item
    The University of Auckland Library

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  • Mixed Reality Simulation for Mobile Robots

    Chen, Ian; MacDonald, Bruce; Wuensche, Burkhard (2009)

    Conference item
    The University of Auckland Library

    Mobile robots are increasingly entering the real and complex world of humans in ways that necessitate a high degree of interaction and cooperation between human and robot. Complex simulation models, expensive hardware setup, and a highly controlled environment are often required during various stages of robot development. There is a need for robot developers to have a more flexible approach for conducting experiments and to obtain a better understanding of how robots perceive the world. Mixed Reality (MR) presents a world where real and virtual elements co-exist. By merging the real and the virtual in the creation of an MR simulation environment, more insight into the robot behaviour can be gained, e.g. internal robot information can be visualised, and cheaper and safer testing scenarios can be created by making interactions between physical and virtual objects possible. Robot developers are free to introduce virtual objects in an MR simulation environment for evaluating their systems and obtain a coherent display of visual feedback and realistic simulation results. We illustrate our ideas using an MR simulation tool constructed based on the 3D robot simulator Gazebo.

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  • Perceptions of synthetic speech with emotion modelling delivered through a robot platform: an initial investigation with older listeners

    Watson, Catherine; Igic, A; MacDonald, Bruce; Broadbent, Elizabeth; Jayawarden, CJ; Stafford, Rebecca (2010)

    Conference item
    The University of Auckland Library

    In this paper we give results of an initial investigation into the perception of synthetic speech delivered through a robotic platform. The robotic speech was judged by 19 residents and 10 staff of a New Zealand retirement village. We have investigated intelligibility and quality measures on two English language diphone voices, with US and New Zealand accents. We have also looked at the effects intonation modelling has on these measures. Our results indicate that the New Zealand voice is preferred and scores higher in the quality measure, additionally we see evidence that the dialogues delivered through both voices are intelligible. We also observe a difference in opinion to the intonation modelling. Comparing the results between staff and residents, we see that residents give lower scores to intelligibility and quality measures.

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  • Robotic Fish Based on a Polymer Actuator

    Wang, Hang; Tjahyono, Sungkono; MacDonald, Bruce; Kilmartin, Paul; Travas-Sejdic, Jadranka; Kiefer, Rudolf (2007)

    Conference item
    The University of Auckland Library

    Conducting polymer (CP) materials exhibit significant volume change in response to electrical stimulation. In this paper we present a polymer actuated biomimetic robotic fish. The robot is propelled by a trilayer polypyrrole (PPy) polymer actuator. Experiments were conducted to characterize the properties of PPy polymer. Different configurations of actuators were investigated and justified using experimental results. The robotic fish embeds a microcontroller, a Lithium coin cell battery, and necessary circuitry for navigation and control. It cruises using the actuated tail fin. Waterproofing packaging is designed to protect the electronics. This project has successfully demonstrated that PPy polymers can be used to design robotic fish actuators. A self-contained prototype is demonstrated with 10~12 hours operation lifetime.

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  • Towards Improving SLAM Algorithm Development using Augmented Reality

    Kozlov, Alexei; MacDonald, Bruce; Wuensche, Burkhard (2007)

    Conference item
    The University of Auckland Library

    Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM) is a popular map building approach in autonomous mobile robotics. Because users demand faster and more effective algorithms, SLAM remains an active area of research. However, the increasing complexity of applications, such as the environments the algorithm is applied to, makes it difficult to debug, evaluate and optimise such algorithms. Our preliminary research indicates that the algorithm development can be improved by using Augmented Reality (AR) systems, which visualise the robot’s internal program state and related information specifically in the context of testing and debugging SLAM algorithms. Using inherent SLAM uncertainties and error-sources identified in literature, we developed requirements which an AR system must fulfil in order to optimise the testing, debugging and design of SLAM algorithms. 1

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  • Expressive Facial Speech Synthesis on a Robotic Platform

    Li, Xingyan; MacDonald, Bruce; Watson, Catherine (2009)

    Conference item
    The University of Auckland Library

    This paper presents our expressive facial speech synthesis system Eface, for a social or service robot. Eface aims at enabling a robot to deliver information clearly with empathetic speech and an expressive virtual face. The empathetic speech is built on the Festival speech synthesis system and provides robots the capability to speak with different voices and emotions. Two versions of a virtual face have been implemented to display the robot's expressions. One with just over 100 polygons has a lower hardware requirement but looks less natural. The other has over 1000 polygons; it looks realistic, but costs more CPU resource and requires better video hardware. The whole system is incorporated into the popular open source robot interface Player, which makes client programs easy to write and debug. Also, it is convenient to use the same system with different robot platforms. We have implemented this system on a physical robot and tested it with a robotic nurse assistant scenario.

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  • Augmented Reality Visualisation for Player

    Collett, Toby; MacDonald, Bruce (2006)

    Conference item
    The University of Auckland Library

    One of the greatest challenges when debugging a robot application is understanding what is going wrong. Robots are embodied in a complex, changing and unpredictable real world, using sensors and actuators that are different from humans’. As a result humans may find the development of robotic software to be difficult and time consuming. We present an augmented reality visualisation tool for the popular open source Player system, that enhances the developers understanding of the robots world view and thus improves the robot development process.

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