The UJI Online Robot: An Education and Training Experience

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This paper describes a complete vision-based online robot system that allows controlling both an educational and an industrial robot via web. We address some of the limitations of current similar systems particularly concerning the user interface. Some of its novel features are: its adjustable autonomy, so that the user can decide the right level of interaction from high-level voice commands down to mouse clicks, reducing in this way the cognitive fatigue resulting from remote operation; the interface is predictive, by using a 3D virtual environment endowed with augmented reality capabilities, the user can predict the results of the actions before sending the command to the real robot. Thus, network bandwidth is saved and off-line task specification is possible. This high level interaction is possible thanks to some built-in modules for performing basic tasks such as automatic object recognition, image processing, autonomous grasp determination and speech recognition. Finally, the system has been tested by means of an application in the Education and Training domain. One hundred undergraduate students have been using the web-based interface in order to program “Pick and Place” operations with the system. The results show performance, statistics, connection rates, and the students' opinions, as a way of evaluating the convenience and usability of the user interface.

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