The authors believe that people with cognitive and motor impairments may benefit from using of telepresence robots to engage in social activities. To date, these systems have not been designed for use by people with disabilities as the robot operators. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
The authors conducted two formative evaluations using a participatory action design process. First, the authors conducted a focus group (n=5) to investigate how members of the target audience would want to direct a telepresence robot in a remote environment using speech. The authors then conducted a follow-on experiment in which participants (n=12) used a telepresence robot or directed a human in a scavenger hunt task.
The authors collected a corpus of 312 utterances (first hand as opposed to speculative) relating to spatial navigation. Overall, the analysis of the corpus supported several speculations put forth during the focus group. Further, it showed few statistically significant differences between speech used in the human and robot agent conditions; thus, the authors believe that, for the task of directing a telepresence robot's movements in a remote environment, people will speak to the robot in a manner similar to speaking to another person.
Based upon the two formative evaluations, the authors present four guidelines for designing speech-based interfaces for telepresence robots.
Robot systems designed for general use do not typically consider people with disabilities. The work is a first step towards having our target population take the active role of the telepresence robot operator.
This research has been funded by the National Science Foundation (IIS-0905228, IIS-1111125). The authors would like to thank Kelsey Flynn of UMass Lowell for assisting with administration of Study 2. The authors would also like to acknowledge Adam Norton, Munjal Desai, Dan Brooks, and Jordan Allspaw of UMass Lowell and Sompop Suksawat of the Worcester State University for their technical assistance.
M. Tsui, K., McCann, E., McHugh, A., Medvedev, M., A. Yanco, H., Kontak, D. and L. Drury, J. (2014), "Towards designing telepresence robot navigation for people with disabilities", International Journal of Intelligent Computing and Cybernetics, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 307-344. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJICC-10-2013-0044Download as .RIS
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