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An Opportunistic Service Oriented Approach for Robot Search

14 Nov
Friday, 11/14/2014 7:00am to 9:00am
Ph.D. Thesis Defense

Dan Xie

Computer Science Building, Room 151

Health care for the elderly poses a major challenge as the baby boom generation ages. Part of the solution is to develop technology using sensor networks and service robotics to increase the length of time that an elder can remain at home. Since moderate immobility and memory impairment are common as people age, a major problem for the elderly is locating and retrieving frequently used "common" objects such as keys, cellphones, books, etc. However, for robots to assist people while they search for objects, they must possess the ability to interact with the human client, complex client-side environments, and heterogeneous sensorimotor resources. Given this complexity, the traditional approach of developing particular control strategies in a top-down manner is not suitable.

In this dissertation an opportunistic service-oriented approach is presented to address the robot search problem in residential eldercare. With the presented approach, a hierarchy of search strategies is developed in a bottom-up manner from passive object detection and retrieval performed by embedded camera sensors to context-aware cooperative search performed by a human-robot team. By opportunistically employing available sensorimotor resources, the robotic application achieves increased search performance, and has the flexibility to balance between performance goals and resource constraints. To evaluate the proposed approach, I describe several experiments with a robot-sensor network that includes the UMass uBot-5, Pan-Tilt-Zoom cameras, and wireless sensors. The results of these experiments suggest that the robot search application based on the proposed approach can lead to efficient search performance and great flexibility in resource-constrained environments.

Advisors: Allen Hanson & Roderic Grupen