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Point and click for robot support

Sonia Chernova

(USA)

You no longer need to be a roboticist to remotely operate robots designed to support humans in critical situations thanks to a new interface designed by Georgia Institute of Technology researchers.

The point and click method simplifies the control element making it easier for more people to do the job.

“Roboticists design machines for specific tasks, then often turn them over to people who know less about how to control them,” said David Kent, the Georgia Tech Ph.D. robotics student who led the project. “Most people would have a hard time turning virtual dials if they needed a robot to grab their medicine. But pointing and clicking on the bottle? That’s much easier.”

The team believes the system could be ideal for controlling assistive robots in homes, as well as in search-and-rescue operations.

“Instead of a series of rotations, lowering and raising arrows, adjusting the grip and guessing the correct depth of field, we’ve shortened the process to just two clicks,” said Sonia Chernova, the Georgia Tech assistant professor in robotics who advised the research effort.

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