Thursday, August 25, 2005
Philips iCat User-Interface robot is a project to stimulate Human-Robot Interaction research. It seems like remote controls and electrical switches will be the past if this project succeeds. Users will just need to talk, interact with the robotic interface to activate commands such as starting the washing machine, switching on the lights or channel surfing. iCat is a research platform for studying human-robot interaction topics. The robot is 38 cm tall and is equipped with 13 servos that control different parts of the face, such as the eyebrows, eyes, eyelids, mouth and head position. With this setup iCat can generate many different facial expressions - happy, surprise, angry, sad - that are needed to create social human-robot interaction dialogues. A camera installed in iCat's head can be used for different computer vision capabilities, such as recognizing objects and faces. Each foot contains a microphone to record sounds, perform speech recognition and to determine the direction of the sound source. A speaker and soundcard are installed to play sounds and speech. Finally, touch sensors and multi-colour LEDs are installed in the feet and ears to sense whether the user touches the robot and to communicate further information encoded by coloured light. For instance, the operation mode of the iCat (e.g. sleeping, awake, busy, listening) can be encoded by the colour of the LEDs in the ears.