The impact of spoken interfaces on the design of service robots

G. Bugmann (School of Computing Communication and Electronics, University of Plymouth, Devon, Plymouth, UK)
J.C. Wolf (School of Computing Communication and Electronics, University of Plymouth, Devon, Plymouth, UK)
P. Robinson (School of Computing Communication and Electronics, University of Plymouth, Devon, Plymouth, UK)

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Publication date: 1 December 2005

Abstract

Purpose

Service robots need to be programmable by their users who are in general unskilled in the art of robot programming. We have explored the use of spoken language for programming robots.

Design/methodology/approach

Two applications domains were studied: that of route instructions and that of game instructions. The latter is work in progress. In both cases work started by recording verbal instructions representative of how human users would naturally address their robot.

Findings

The analysis of these instructions reveals references to high‐level functions natural to humans but challenging for designers of robots. The instruction structure reflects assumptions about the cognitive abilities of the listener and it is likely that some human capabilities for rational thinking will be required in service robots.

Research limitations/implications

Some of the high‐level functions called for by natural communication stretch current capabilities and there is a clear case for more effort being devoted in some areas. Instruction analysis provides pointers to such research topics.

Practical implications

It is proposed that service robot design should start with investigating the way end‐users will communicate with the robot. This is encapsulated in the “corpus‐based” approach to robot design illustrated in this paper. This results in more functional service robots.

Originality/value

The paper stresses the importance of considering human‐robot communication early in the robot design process.

Keywords

Citation

Bugmann, G., Wolf, J. and Robinson, P. (2005), "The impact of spoken interfaces on the design of service robots", Industrial Robot, Vol. 32 No. 6, pp. 499-504. https://doi.org/10.1108/01439910510629235

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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