Enabling End-User Programming of General-Purpose Robots

19 Feb
Tuesday, 02/19/2013 11:00am to 12:00pm

Maya Cakmak
Willow Garage, Inc.

Computer Science Building, Room 151

Faculty Host: Rod Grupen

Advances in robotics research and supporting technologies are enabling the development of more and more sophisticated general-purpose robots. These robots could carry out useful tasks for and with humans, in application domains ranging from elder care to manufacturing. Given the diversity of the operation environments and user needs for such robots, it is infeasible to fully program them prior to their deployment. Therefore, a key challenge is to enable end-users to program a general-purpose robot for their own unique purposes. In this talk, I will highlight some of the challenges in allowing everyday people, who have no prior experience with robots or programming, to teach new skills or tasks to a robot. I will present techniques that I have developed for addressing those challenges, focusing on mechanisms for the robot to ask questions to its user. I will demonstrate how user-studies involving real human-robot interactions can lead to alternative representations, algorithms and user-interfaces that improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the
robot, as well as the user experience. I will conclude with a research agenda towards long-term deployment of end-user programmable robots.

A reception will be held at 3:40 in the atrium, outside the presentation room.