Robot Intelligence Kernel
3D Display for shared understanding
True teamwork requires a shared model of the environment and task. The lack of an effective shared model has been a significant impediment to having humans and intelligent robots work together. In order to support a dynamic sharing of roles and responsibilities, RIK employs a representation that allows both the human and robot to reason spatially about the world and to understand the spatial perspective of the other. Understanding the perspective of the robot allows the human to predict robot behavior. Understanding the perspective of the human enables the robot to interpret and infer intentionality from human tasking.
Rather than depend on transmission of live video images, the INL Operator Control Interface (OCI) creates a 3D, computer-game-style representation of the real world constructed on-the-fly that promotes situation awareness and efficient tasking. The virtual 3D component has been developed by melding technologies from the INL , Brigham Young University, and Stanford Research Institute (SRI) International. Data for the dynamic representation comes from RIK and is gathered using scanning lasers, sonar and infrared sensors that create a clear picture of the environment even when the location is dark or obscured by smoke or dust. The 3D representation is displayed on a computer-based OCI. The representation shows not only walls and obstacles but also other things that are significant to the operator. The operator can insert items (people, hazardous objects, etc. from a pull-down menu) to establish what was seen and where. If video is available from the robot it can be projected in the 3D representation and still shots from the video can be "dropped" in the corresponding location. While not required for operation, if floor plans or overhead imagery are available they can be placed as a ground layer in the OCI. In this way, the representation is a collaborative workspace that supports virtual and real elements supplied by both the robot and the operator. The 3D representation also maintains the size relationships of the actual environment, helping the operator to understand the relative position of the robot in the real world.