Header logo is hi

Teaching a Robot Bimanual Hand-Clapping Games via Wrist-Worn {IMU}s




Colleagues often shake hands in greeting, friends connect through high fives, and children around the world rejoice in hand-clapping games. As robots become more common in everyday human life, they will have the opportunity to join in these social-physical interactions, but few current robots are intended to touch people in friendly ways. This article describes how we enabled a Baxter Research Robot to both teach and learn bimanual hand-clapping games with a human partner. Our system monitors the user's motions via a pair of inertial measurement units (IMUs) worn on the wrists. We recorded a labeled library of 10 common hand-clapping movements from 10 participants; this dataset was used to train an SVM classifier to automatically identify hand-clapping motions from previously unseen participants with a test-set classification accuracy of 97.0%. Baxter uses these sensors and this classifier to quickly identify the motions of its human gameplay partner, so that it can join in hand-clapping games. This system was evaluated by N = 24 naïve users in an experiment that involved learning sequences of eight motions from Baxter, teaching Baxter eight-motion game patterns, and completing a free interaction period. The motion classification accuracy in this less structured setting was 85.9%, primarily due to unexpected variations in motion timing. The quantitative task performance results and qualitative participant survey responses showed that learning games from Baxter was significantly easier than teaching games to Baxter, and that the teaching role caused users to consider more teamwork aspects of the gameplay. Over the course of the experiment, people felt more understood by Baxter and became more willing to follow the example of the robot. Users felt uniformly safe interacting with Baxter, and they expressed positive opinions of Baxter and reported fun interacting with the robot. Taken together, the results indicate that this robot achieved credible social-physical interaction with humans and that its ability to both lead and follow systematically changed the human partner's experience.

Author(s): Naomi T. Fitter and Katherine J. Kuchenbecker
Journal: Frontiers in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence
Volume: 5
Number (issue): 85
Year: 2018
Month: July

Department(s): Haptic Intelligence
Bibtex Type: Article (article)
Paper Type: Journal

DOI: 10.3389/frobt.2018.00085
State: Published


  title = {Teaching a Robot Bimanual Hand-Clapping Games via Wrist-Worn {IMU}s},
  author = {Fitter, Naomi T. and Kuchenbecker, Katherine J.},
  journal = {Frontiers in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence},
  volume = {5},
  number = {85},
  month = jul,
  year = {2018},
  month_numeric = {7}