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In this paper, we report on the findings of a human-robot interaction study that aims at developing a communication language for transferring grasping skills from a nontechnical user to a robot. Participants with different backgrounds and education levels were asked to command a five-degree-of-freedom human-scale robot arm to grasp five small everyday objects. They were allowed to use either commands from an existing command set or develop their own equivalent natural language instructions. The study revealed several important findings. First, individual participants were more inclined to use simple, familiar commands than more powerful ones. In most cases, once a set of instructions was found to accomplish the grasping task, few participants deviated from that set. In addition, we also found that the participant's background does appear to play a role during the interaction process. Overall, participants with less technical backgrounds require more time and more commands on average to complete a grasping task as compared to participants with more technical backgrounds.
Date of Publication: April 2008