48 results for MacDonald, Bruce, Conference item

  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Attitudes of retirement home residents, relatives and staff towards healthcare robots.

    Broadbent, Elizabeth; Tamagawa, Rie; Kerse, Ngaire; Day, Karen; MacDonald, Bruce (2009)

    Conference item
    The University of Auckland Library

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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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 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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  • Towards Expressive Speech Synthesis in English on a Robotic Platform

    Roehling, Sigrid; MacDonald, Bruce; Watson, Catherine (2006)

    Conference item
    The University of Auckland Library

    Affect influences speech, not only in the words we choose, but in the way we say them. This paper reviews the research on vocal correlates in the expression of affect and examines the ability of currently available major text-to-speech (TTS) systems to synthesize expressive speech for an emotional robot guide. Speech features discussed include pitch, duration, loudness, spectral structure, and voice quality. TTS systems are examined as to their ability to control the features needed for synthesizing expressive speech: pitch, duration, loudness, and voice quality. The OpenMARY system is recommended since it provides the highest amount of control over speech production as well as the ability to work with a sophisticated intonation model. OpenMARY is being actively developed, is supported on our current Linux platform, and provides timing information for talking heads such as our current robot face.

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  • Designing a robotic assistant for healthcare applications

    Kuo, I-Han; Broadbent, Elizabeth; MacDonald, Bruce (2008)

    Conference item
    The University of Auckland Library

    The population of the world is ageing rapidly. By 2050, the population aged 85 and over will be three times more than it is now. This phenomenon has caused several issues in the current health service system, especially workforce shortages in the health sector and a lack of space in aged care facilities (ACFs). In the face of these issues, home-based and community-based healthcare services have been identified as necessary in many developed countries to promote ageing-inplace and independent living in order to: 1. Lower the demands on health services and hence improve the quality of the services delivered, and 2. Maintain the quality of life of the older population by enabling them to be close to their families. For the last decade, a rising interest in personal robots as part of the technical solution in decentralised health services has led to an extensive range of research and implementations of health service and personal assistant robots. This paper describes a new research project to develop an assistant robot capable of interacting with patients, taking vital signs measurements and recording the data in healthcare environments such as aged care facilities, hospitals or personal homes. Current progress includes a comprehensive literature survey on recent health service robots with a list of issues in the area and an initial human-robot interaction study. The robot is currently interfaced with a blood pressure monitor and has a 3D face which is capable of displaying a range of different emotions with lips synchronized to speech.

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  • On internal knowledge representation for programming mobile robots by demonstration

    Abbas, T; MacDonald, Bruce (2010)

    Conference item
    The University of Auckland Library

    Intuitive learning of new behaviours is one of the important aspects of social robotics. Among various robot learning approaches, recently Programming by Demonstration (PbD) has gained significant recognition with a lot of potential. Internal representation of the knowledge is a key design choice in the learning process. Using machine learning techniques such as ANNs, HMMs and NARMAX models, simple skills can be encoded from raw sensory data. However, the abstract symbolic representations have demonstrated greater potential for learning complicated tasks but with less details and require a piece of prior knowledge as well. For a particular application, appropriate choice of the symbols is a key design issue. This paper discusses the choice of the symbols to build a PbD process for typical indoor navigation. The learning results are presented for a few tasks to demonstrate the potential of the proposed approach.

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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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  • 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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  • Implementing a reactive semantics using OpenRTM-aist

    Biggs, G; MacDonald, Bruce (2010-10)

    Conference item
    The University of Auckland Library

    The expression of reactive behaviour is a significant and important requirement in robotic software engineering, since robots must cope with a wide range of unpredictable events and environments. However it is important that the semantics for reactive expression can be used across different architectures and languages. The RADAR robot programming language provides architecture- and language-independent semantics for managing the reactive parts of robot software together with the deliberative parts, allowing greater interaction between the two. We evaluate the architecture-independence of RADAR, as an example, by implementing its reactive semantics using the OpenRTM-aist component-based, distributed architecture. Our goal is to evaluate what limitations the choice of implementation environment may place on the capabilities of such an architecture-independent semantics. In our implementation, we aimed to produce a standard OpenRTM-aist system using the RADAR semantics. We have found that the architecture-independent semantics concept works well in the case of RADAR, although some specific improvements are needed for full interaction between deliberative and reactive sections of robotic software.

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  • Improved robot attitudes and emotions at a retirement home after meeting a robot

    Stafford, R; Broadbent, Elizabeth; Jayawarden, C; Unger, U; Kuo, I-Han; Igic, A; wong, R; Kerse, Ngaire; Watson, Catherine; MacDonald, Bruce (2010-09)

    Conference item
    The University of Auckland Library

    This study investigated whether attitudes and emotions towards robots predicted acceptance of a healthcare robot in a retirement village population. Residents (n = 32) and staff (n = 21) at a retirement village interacted with a robot for approximately 30 minutes. Prior to meeting the robot, participants had their heart rate and blood pressure measured. The robot greeted the participants, assisted them in taking their vital signs, performed a hydration reminder, told a joke, played a music video, and asked some questions about falls and medication management. Participants were given two questionnaires; one before and one after interacting with the robot. Measures included in both questionnaires were the Robot Attitude Scale (RAS) and the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS). After using the robot, participants rated the overall quality of the robot interaction. Both residents and staff reported more favourable attitudes (p < .05) and decreases in negative affect (p < .05) towards the robot after meeting it, compared with before meeting it. Pre-interaction emotions and robot attitudes, combined with post-interaction changes in emotions and robot attitudes, were highly predictive of participants??? robot evaluations (R = .88, p < .05). The results suggest both pre-interaction emotions and attitudes towards robots, as well as experience with the robot, are important areas to monitor and address in influencing acceptance of healthcare robots in retirement village residents and staff. The results support an active cognition model that incorporates a feedback loop based on re-evaluation after experience.

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  • Disturbance accomodation control for wind rejection of a quadcopter

    Bannwarth, Jeremie; Chen, Zhenrong; Stol, Karl; MacDonald, Bruce (2016-06)

    Conference item
    The University of Auckland Library

    This paper investigates the rejection of wind disturbances of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). UAVs are used for increasingly complex operations that require a great deal of accuracy and minimal position changes. This calls for better disturbance rejection. The drag-inclusive dynamics of a quadcopter are derived and used to create two uniaxial wind disturbance rejection controllers: a disturbance accommodating controller (DAC) and a nonlinear feedforward controller. Both controllers are integrated into an open-source flight controller. The performance of the controllers is assessed in simulation against the unmodified baseline. Over a 60 second loiter test, the DAC and nonlinear controllers result in a 45 % and 66 % decrease in error compared to the baseline respectively. Both controllers are shown to react to wind more rapidly. However, the DAC is found to be affected by changes in wind speed due to its linear nature. The baseline controller is used to show the feasibility of rejecting the effects of a 5 meters per second wind in a physical experiment.

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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 ??m PPy/DBS films were grown on either side of a 110 ??m 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 ??m 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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  • A Simulation Environment for OpenRTM-aist

    Chen, Ian; MacDonald, Bruce; Wuensche, Burkhard; Biggs, G; Kotoku, T (2009)

    Conference item
    The University of Auckland Library

    Unified testing of multiple heterogeneous robotic software components is a challenging problem and many robotic systems rely on vendor-specific tools for testing and evaluation of individual subsystems. The consequence is often the unexpected interactions between components that arise during system integration. OpenRTM-aist is a distributed software framework that standardises the development of robotic systems while encouraging software reuse and improving the efficiency of the system integration process. The problem is the lack of a well-integrated simulation tool that provides a safe, virtual test environment for evaluating OpenRTM-aist components. This paper presents a simulation environment for OpenRTM-aist. As opposed to creating a built-in simulation tool tied to the OpenRTM-aist architecture, we use an existing general purpose robot simulator, namely Gazebo, because of its modular design and framework independent architecture. We show that by creating an interface layer to Gazebo, robotic systems developed using OpenRTM-aist can be tested in Gazebo simulation without modifications to the underlying software code. In addition, we demonstrate the interoperability between OpenRTM-aist component-based robot systems and Player client programs in achieving a global robot task in the same simulation context.

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  • Feasibility study of a robotic medication assistant for the elderly

    Tiwari, P; Warren, James; Day, Karen; MacDonald, Bruce; Jayawardena, C; Kuo, T; Igic, A; Datta, Chandan (2011)

    Conference item
    The University of Auckland Library

    Management of complex medication regimens by older people poses a significant challenge wherein use of information technology could play a role in improving clinical efficacy and safety of treatment. The use of computing devices, however, presents a special challenge to older people given their physical and cognitive limitations. Robotic platforms show promise for extending the functionality of the user interface to make personalized interaction engaging and empowering, and for proactively reaching out to older users to support their healthcare delivery. We believe that a robot combining a touch screen and voice based interface could offer an effective platform to meet these requirements. This paper reports on a feasibility study of such a system for helping older people with their medications. We exposed 10 relatively independent residents of an aged care facility to our robot running a medication reminding application while they took their medications. The interaction was followed by a questionnaire and structured interview to elicit their opinions and feedback. We found the application to be well received as all users could successfully complete the session, and most subjects found it easy to use, appropriately designed and felt confident using it. A number of technical errors were uncovered, and the results suggest opportunities to refine the equipment and dialog design to provide a better robotic medication assistant.

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