Jakovich, J, Schweitzer, J, Brookes, WC, Edwards, M, Jupp, JR, Kirchner, NG & Nikolova, N 2011, U.lab - It's about you: An Emerging Interdisciplinary Framework for Innovation Projects, 1, DAB Documents Faculty of Design, Architecture & Building University of Technology, Sydney, Sydney, Australia.
Design thinking aims to capture designers' creativity-driven approach to innovation that can be applied to anything from physical products and intangible services, to formulating and solving complex social problems. Design thinking promotes a particular mind-set that takes the user experience, or a human-centred perspective, as point of departure. While research into the application of design thinking to business problems is well documented, the utilisation of design thinking in university innovation is limited to few cases, and requires better understanding of how to establish design thinking capacity in an academic collaboration context. This research establishes an interdisciplinary design thinking framework at the University of Technology, Sydney, that forms the basis for three experimental projects. New design thinking tools, such as '5X5' and 'faceboard', are developed and a novel public and university innovation program is tested over ten repeated scenarios. The design thinking framework can be adopted for practice and further research. This volume documents the first-steps taken by a cross-faculty university group towards developing an interdisciplinary innovation capacity. It demonstrates how through trialling the practices and methods of design thinking, a deep appreciation of designing, thinking, and practicing creativity emerges across non-design participants. Diverse disciplinary backgrounds and perspectives are illustrated as a source of opportunity to address complex teaching and research challenges. 'U.Lab - It's About You' is published by DAB Docs, University of Technology, Sydney.
The industrial revolution undoubtedly defined the role of machines in our society, and it directly shaped the paradigm for human machine interaction - a paradigm which was inherited by the field of Human Robot Interaction (HRI) as the machines became robots. This paper argues that, for a foreseeable set of interactions, reshaping this paradigm would result in more effective and more often successful interactions. This paper presents our Robot Centric paradigm for HRI. Evidence in the form of summaries of relevant literature and our past efforts in developing social-robotics enabling technology is presented to support our paradigm. A definition and a set of recommendations for designing the key enabling component, sociocontextual cues, of our paradigm are presented. Finally, empirical evidence generated through a number of experiments and field studies (N = 456 and N = 320) demonstrates our paradigm is both feasibly incorporated into HRI and moreover, yields significant contributions to the successfulness of a set of HRIs.
Paul, G, Liu, D, Kirchner, NG & Dissanayake, G 2009, 'An Effective Exploration Approach to Simultaneous Mapping and Surface Material-Type Identification of Complex Three-Dimensional Environments', Journal of Field Robotics, vol. 26, no. 11-12, pp. 915-933.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
This paper presents an integrated exploration approach for geometric mapping and surface material-type identification of complex three-dimensional (3D) environments using a six-degree-of-freedom industrial robot manipulator. Maps of the surface geometry with the surface material type identified are required for an autonomous robotic system to perform operations in steel bridge maintenance. The proposed approach utilizes information theory to enable multiobjective exploration while new 3D geometric and surface-type data are fused via probabilistic updates. It is verified that the integrated approach enables the robotic system to perform exploration and surface inspection in real-world environments.
Kirchner, NG, Liu, D & Dissanayake, G 2009, 'Surface Type Classification With a Laser Range Finder', IEEE Sensors Journal, vol. 9, no. 9, pp. 1160-1168.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
This paper presents a system for surface classification using a laser range finder. It is shown that the return intensities and range errors provide sufficient information to distinguish a wide range of surfaces commonly found in a number of environments. A supervised learning scheme (using curves representing the return intensity and range error as a function of angle of incidence) is used to classify the surface type of planar patches. Extensive experimental evidence is presented to demonstrate the potential of the proposed technique. The surface type classification, which uses a typical laser range finder, is targeted for use with autonomous robotic systems in which significantly different interaction is required for each of the various materials present. Results from an on-site experiment demonstrate that the information from the laser range finder is sufficient to identify the different materials (via their surface properties) present in a scene where a bridge structure is being prepared for grit blasting.
Kirchner, NG, Hordern, DL, Liu, D & Dissanayake, G 2008, 'Capacitive sensor for object ranging and material type identification', Sensors And Actuators A-Physical, vol. 148, no. 1, pp. 96-104.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
This paper presents a system for object ranging and material type identification using a multifrequency approach for a capacitive sensor. it is shown through an experimental study that the deviation in the readings taken at different sensor drive frequen
Kirchner, N & Furukawa, T 2007, 'Scalable infrared sensor network for multiple three-dimensional indoor targets localisation', International Journal of Intelligent Systems Technologies and Applications, vol. 3, no. 1/2, pp. 20-20.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Kirchner, N & Furukawa, T 2007, 'Scalable infrared sensor network for multiple three-dimensional indoor targets localisation', International Journal of Intelligent Systems Technologies and Applications, vol. 3, no. 1-2, pp. 20-32.
This paper describes an Infrared Local Positioning System (IR-LPS) for localising multiple targets in three-dimensional space in an indoor environment. The IR-LPS utilises an infrared sensor network and is scalable in both the number of targets that can be tracked and in the number of sensors in the network. The system is light weight, battery operated, requires no room-calibration in new environments and has processing embedded into the sensors. The IR-LPS was implemented and evaluated in a large open space laboratory and provided repeatable localisation with less than 0.1 m three-dimensional error up to 10 m and with a range of 30 m. The IR-LPS displayed the ability to localise both dynamic and static targets. The IR-LPS, configured with the minimum sized sensor network, displayed scalability with no increase in localisation error with an increase in the number of targets being localised (from 1 to 10). © 2007 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.
Paul, G, Liu, D & Kirchner, NG 2007, 'An algorithm for surface growing from laser scan generated point clouts' in Tarn, TJ, Chen, SB & Zhou, C (eds), Robotic Welding, Intelligence and Automation, Springer, Heidelberg, pp. 481-491.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
n robot applications requiring interaction with a partially/unknown environment, mapping is of paramount importance. This paper presents an effective surface growing algorithm for map building based on laser scan generated point clouds. The algorithm directly converts a point cloud into a surface and normals form which sees a significant reduction in data size and is in a desirable format for planning the interaction with surfaces. It can be used in applications such as robotic cleaning, painting and welding.
Alwidyan, F, Al-Ani, A, Kirchner, N & Zeibots, ME 2017, 'An effort-based evaluation of pedestrian route choice behaviour', 2017 12th IEEE Conference on Industrial Electronics and Applications (ICIEA), IEEE Conference on Industrial Electronics and Applications, IEEE, Siem Reap, Cambodia.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Route Choice is one of the main challenging problems from theoretical and practical viewpoints in the realm of pedestrian behaviour. A prime underlying concern of researchers in this field is to identify criteria or discover principles that pedestrians use to select their routes based on. Despite the fact that there are infinite possible routes between two given destinations in space, pedestrians in real situations tend to choose a certain finite number of available trajectories. As a consequence, there is a high demand for theoretical framework and models to describe route choice. The fundamental assumption is that pedestrians follow a route over which Effort is optimized. The existing criteria in the literature to predict route choice of pedestrians are mainly related to route length and travel time. In this paper, we consider physical effort as a new criterion, which indicates the pedestrian's metabolic energy expenditure that pedestrians may consume during their walking from origin to destination. A case study is included to illustrate the pertinent concepts and ideas introduced. Our discussion concludes with an overview of how this reconceptualization builds the foundations for a model that will enable improved operations, planning, and design of public transport facilities.
Gardiner, JB, Janssen, S & Kirchner, N 2016, 'A realisation of a construction scale robotic system for 3D printing of complex formwork', Proceedings of the International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction, International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction (ISARC), Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, Department of Construction Economics & Property, Auburn, Alabama, United States, pp. 515-521.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The cost of producing complex formwork or moulds for precast concrete and GRC (glass reinforced concrete) is perhaps the most significant limitation when constructing architectural intentions from prefabricated concrete elements. Our contribution, FreeFAB" Wax1 , employs a 6-axis gantry robot with interchangeable end effector tooling to coarsely 3D print and subsequently mill finish complex moulds for concrete at a construction scale. Significantly, FreeFAB moulds can be up to 30m x 4m x 1.5m with significant time and cost savings relative to traditional formwork. Furthermore, FreeFAB's print material approaches 100% reusability, virtually eliminating waste and material costs within the process. This paper presents an overview of our method for construction scale 3D printing and its realisation. Our findings suggest a construction scale 3D printing is businessviable and significantly expands the feasibility of the wide spread use of bespoke moulds.
Al Widyan, F, Al-Ani, A, Kirchner, N & Zeibots, M 2016, 'A Bottleneck Investigation at Escalator Entry at the Brisbane Central Train Station', Australasian Transport Research Forum 2016 Proceedings, Australasian Transport Research Forum, ATRF, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 1-9.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Escalators are an essential for passenger's movements through multi-level rail station
concourse environments. Despite the access benefits that escalators provide, they can make
travel time longer and pose some challenges when bottlenecks appear at entry.
Studying the passenger behaviour of bottlenecks at escalator entrances is essential for
planning, designing and control of engineering transportation systems. In this paper we
investigate passenger route choice behaviour while approaching an escalator-stair
infrastructure set at Brisbane Central train station. A model of an escalator entry bottleneck
is formulated. The developed model can explain the queuing characteristics of the
bottlenecks and can be readily used to predict congested state occurrence at escalator entry
Accurate prediction of bottlenecks occurring around escalators and the estimation of
escalator capacity are obtained based on real field data collected from Brisbane Central train
station. Results have provided significant insights and computational tools for understanding
many features of escalator bottlenecks. Remarkably, escalator capacity at bottleneck points
affects the duration and severity of the congested period.
Al-widyan, FS, Kirchner, N & Zeibots, M 2015, 'An empirically verified Passenger Route Selection Model based on the principle of least effort for monitoring and predicting passenger walking paths through congested rail station environments', Australasian Transport Research Forum 2015 Proceedings, Australasian Transport Research Forum, ATRF, Sydney, Australia.
Crowding at egress points and waiting areas in public transport environments during peak
periods can potentially impede passenger movements, causing delays to scheduled
services. Passenger modelling is a complex task. There are relatively few models able to
simulate the complex behavioural characteristics of large volumes of people walking through
confined public transport environments such as rail station concourse and platform areas.
With the aid of robotic sensing technology however, rich data can be acquired to provide high
quality inputs on which passenger behaviour models can be based.
This paper presents a methodology for predicting the preferred route selected by passengers
during their egress. Proposed in this paper are a basic principle and a methodology for route
choice based on the least effort that a passenger may consume during their travel between
destinations. The methodology proposed takes into consideration the movement based
passenger and congestion state. We employ the principle of least effort, formulated in terms
of a metabolic energy, and congestion states. Our approach uses a new mathematical model
for representing effort expended for each path, based on a formulation that minimizes the
total amount of metabolic energy used when moving on a trajectory. Using results from an
empirical study at Brisbane Central rail station, we show our approach collates well with real
patterns of passenger egress. Our discussion concludes with an overview of how our
approach could be used by rail service providers to optimise operations and improve
Virgona, A, Kirchner, N & Alempijevic, A 2015, 'Sensing and Perception Technology to Enable Real Time Monitoring of Passenger Movement Behaviours Through Congested Rail Stations', 2015 ATRF Conference Proceeding, Australasian Transport Research Forum, ATRF, Sydney.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The real time monitoring of passenger movement and behaviour through public transport environments including precincts, concourses, platforms and train vestibules would enable operators to more effectively manage congestion at a whole-of-station level. While existing crowd monitoring technologies allow operators to monitor crowd densities at critical locations and react to overcrowding incidents, they do not necessarily provide an understanding of the cause of such issues. Congestion is a complex phenomenon involving the movements of many people though a set of spaces and monitoring these spaces requires tracking large numbers of individuals. To do this, traditional surveillance technologies might be used but at the expense of introducing privacy concerns. Scalability is also a problem, as complete sensor coverage of entire rail station precinct, concourse and platform areas potentially requires a high number of sensors, increasing costs. In light of this, there is a need for sensing technology that collects data from a set of 'sparse sensors', each with a limited field of view, but which is capable of forming a network that can track the movement and behaviour of high numbers of associated individuals in a privacy sensitive manner. This paper presents work towards the core crowd sensing and perception technology needed to enable such a capability. Building on previous research using three-dimensional (3D) depth camera data for person detection, a privacy friendly approach to tracking and recognising individuals is discussed. The use of a head-to-shoulder signature is proposed to enable association between sensors. Our efforts to improve the reliability of this measure for this task are outlined and validated using data captured at Brisbane Central rail station.
Caraian, S, Kirchner, N & Colborne-Veel, P 2015, 'Moderating a Robot's Ability to Influence People Through its Level of Sociocontextual Interactivity', Proceedings of the Tenth Annual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, Annual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), ACM, Portland, Oregon, pp. 149-156.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2015 ACM. A range of situations exist in which it would be useful to influence people's behavior in public spaces, for example to improve the efficiency of passenger flow in congested train stations. We have identified our previously developed Robot Centric paradigm of Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), which positions robots as Interaction Peers, as a potentially suitable model to achieve more effective influence through defining and exploiting the interactivity of robots (that is, their ability to moderate their issued sociocontextual cues based on the behavioral information read from humans). In this paper, we investigate whether increasing a robot's interactivity will increase the effectiveness of its influence on people in public spaces. A two-part study (total n = 273) was conducted in both a major Australian public train station (n = 84 + 105) and a university (n = 84) where passersby encountered a robot, designed with various levels of interactivity, which attempted to influence their passage. The findings suggest that the Robot Centric HRI paradigm generalizes to other robots and application spaces, and enables deliberate moderation of a robot's interactivity, facilitating more nuanced, predictable and systematic influence, and thus yielding greater effectiveness.
Kirchner, NG, Caraian, S, Colborne-Veel, P & Zeibots, M 2015, 'Influencing Passenger Egress to Reduce Congestion at Rail Stations', Online Proceedings of the Australasian Transport Research Forum 2015, Australasian Transport Research Forum, ATRF, Sydney, Australia.
As rail station patronage levels increase, so too does the load on the entire railway system.
The higher passenger densities exacerbate local egress issues and thus adversely affect
dwell time and subsequently punctuality, along with the passenger experience. Devices such
as barriers are regularly used to influence passenger egress. However, their use is typically
limited to special events; where perhaps a single influence-objective is intended on a
relatively uniform passenger demographic. This limitation precludes such devices usefulness
for daily operations; where potentially multiple influence-objectives, which potentially change
regularly, exists. Furthermore, it is reasonable to expect a considerably less uniform
passenger demographic which perhaps includes passengers that are less receptive to
particular influence strategies.
This paper presents an exploration of components of a robotic system that is responsive to
real time person behaviours and operator's needs. Specifically, details of our methods for
identification of the passenger demographic groups and passenger egress influencing are
presented along with results from two studies. The first study was conducted at Townhall
Station Sydney and explored our robotic system's ability to reliably identify the passenger
demographic of individual passengers in real time. The ability of our robotic system to
influence real time egress of real in-transit passengers in situ, and the ability to responsively
moderate influence-objective based on observed characteristics was explored in the second
study which was co-located at Perth Station Perth and the University of Technology Sydney.
Finally, this paper discusses how this predictable influence of passenger egress can
potentially be leveraged to benefit operations.
Collart, J, Alempijevic, A, Kirchner, N & Zeibots, M 2015, 'Foundation technology for developing an autonomous Complex Dwell-time Diagnostics (CDD) Tool', Australasian Transport Research Forum 2015 Proceedings, Australasian Transport Research Forum, ATRF, Sydney, Australia, pp. 1-13.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
As the demand for rail services grows, intense pressure is placed on stations at the centre of rail networks where large crowds of rail passengers alight and board trains during peak periods. The time it takes for this to occur — the dwell-time — can become extended when high numbers of people congest and cross paths. Where a track section is operating at short headways, extended dwell-times can cause delays to scheduled services that can in turn cause a cascade of delays that eventually affect entire networks. Where networks are operating at close to their ceiling capacity, dwell-time management is essential and in most cases requires the introduction of special operating procedures.
This paper details our work towards developing an autonomous Complex Dwell-time Diagnostics (CDD) Tool — a low cost technology, capable of providing information on multiple dwell events in real time. At present, rail operators are not able to access reliable and detailed enough data on train dwell operations and passenger behaviour. This is because much of the necessary data has to be collected manually. The lack of rich data means train crews and platform staff are not empowered to do all they could to potentially stabilise and reduce dwell-times. By better supporting service providers with high quality data analysis, the number of viable train paths can be increased, potentially delaying the need to invest in high cost hard infrastructures such as additional tracks.
The foundation technology needed to create CDD discussed in this paper comprises a 3D image data based autonomous system capable of detecting dwell events during operations and then create business information that can be accessed by service providers in real time during rail operations. Initial tests of the technology have been carried out at Brisbane Central rail station. A discussion of the results to date is provided and their implications for next steps.
Colborne-Veel, P, Kirchner, N & Alempijevic, A 2015, 'Towards more train paths through early passenger intention inference', 2015 ATRF Conference Proceeding, Australasian Transport Research Forum, ATRF, Sydney, Australia, pp. 1-14.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
In public train stations, the designed way finding tends to induce individuals to conform to specific egress patterns. Whilst this is desirable for a number of reasons, it can cumulate into congestion at specific points in the station. Which, in turn, can increase dwell time; for example, loading and unloading time increases with concentrations of people trying to load/unload onto the same carriage. Clearly, an influencing strategy that is more responsive to the current station situation could have advantages.
Our prior research studies in Perth Station demonstrated the feasibility of reliably and predictably influencing passengers egress patterns in real time during operations. This capability suggests the possibility of active counterbalancing of the egress-alternatives while maintaining way finding. However, the prerequisite for such capability is the availability of knowledge of passenger's intention at a point in their journey where viable egress-alternatives to their destination exist.
This work details an approach towards an early (in the passenger journey) passenger intention inference system necessary to enable active egress-alternative influencing. Our contextually grounded approach infers intention through reasoning upon observed system and passenger cues in conjunction with a-priori knowledge of how train stations are used. The empirical validation of our intention inference system, which was conducted with data acquired during operations on a platform in Brisbane's Central train station in Queensland, is presented and discussed. The findings are then employed to argue the feasibility of an influencing system to reduce passenger congestion and the potential service impacts.
Kirchner, N, Alempijevic, A, Virgona, A, Dai, X, Ploger, PG & Venkat, RK 2014, 'A robust people detection, tracking, and counting system', Proceedings of the Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation - A robust people detection, tracking, and counting system, Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation, Australasian Robotics and Automation Association, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 1-8.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The ability to track moving people is a key aspect of autonomous robot system in real-world environments. Whilst for many tasks knowing the approximate positions of people may be sufficient, the ability to identify unique people is needed to accurately count the people in real world. To accomplish the people counting task, a robust system in people detection, tracking and identification is needed.
This paper presents our approach for robust real world people detection, tracking and counting using a PrimeSense RGBD camera. Our past research, upon which we built, is highlighted and novel methods to solve the problems of sensors self localization, false negatives due to persons physically interacting with the environment, and track misassociation due to crowdedness are presented.
An empirical evaluation of our approach in a major Sydney public train station N=420 was conducted, and results demonstrating our methods in the complexities of this challenging environment are presented.
Caraian, SA & Kirchner, NG 2014, 'Head Pose Behavior in the Human-Robot Interaction Space', ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, Annual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), ACM, Bielefeld, Germany, pp. 132-133.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Visual Focus of Attention is an important mechanism to support successful interactions. In order to communicate effectively and intentionally (issuing cues when a person is paying attention, for example), a robot must have an understanding of this Visual Focus of Attention behavior in the Human-Robot Interaction space. A real-world interaction study was conducted with 24 unsolicited participants to explore attention behavior towards robots in this space. The results suggest there is no generalizable attention pattern between people, and thus that online, in situ Visual Focus of Attention estimation would be advantageous to Human-Robot Interaction.
Alempijevic, A, Fitch, R & Kirchner, NG 2013, 'Bootstrapping Navigation and Path Planning Using Human Positional Traces', IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, IEEE, Karlsruhe, Germany, pp. 1234-1239.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Navigating and path planning in environments with limited a priori knowledge is a fundamental challenge for mobile robots. Robots operating in human-occupied environments must also respect sociocontextual boundaries such as personal workspaces. There is a need for robots to be able to navigate in such environments without having to explore and build an intricate representation of the world. In this paper, a method for supplementing directly observed environmental information with indirect observations of occupied space is presented. The proposed approach enables the online inclusion of novel human positional traces and environment information into a probabilistic framework for path planning. Encapsulation of sociocontextual information, such as identifying areas that people tend to use to move through the environment, is inherently achieved without supervised learning or labelling. Our method bootstraps navigation with indirectly observed sensor data, and leverages the flexibility of the Gaussian process (GP) for producing a navigational map that sampling based path planers such as Probabilistic Roadmaps (PRM) can effectively utilise. Empirical results on a mobile platform demonstrate that a robot can efficiently and socially-appropriately reach a desired goal by exploiting the navigational map in our Bayesian statistical framework.
Caraian, SA & Kirchner, NG 2013, 'Influence of robot-issued joint attention cues on gaze and preference', ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, Annual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), IEEE, Tokyo, Japan, pp. 95-96.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
If inadvertently perceived as Joint Attention, a robot's incidental behaviors could potentially influence preferences of observing humans. A study was conducted with 16 robot-näive participants to explore the influences of robot-issued Joint Attention cu
Kirchner, NG, Alempijevic, A & Virgona, A 2012, 'Head-To-Shoulder Signature for Person Recognition', Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2012 IEEE International Conference on, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, IEEE, St Paul, MN, USA, pp. 1226-1231.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Ensuring that an interaction is initiated with a particular and unsuspecting member of a group is a complex task. As a first step the robot must effectively, expediently and reliably recognise the humans as they carry on with their typical behaviours (in situ). A method for constructing a scale and viewing angle robust feature vector (from analysing a 3D pointcloud) designed to encapsulate the inter-person variations in the size and shape of the people's head to shoulder region (Head-to-shoulder signature - HSS) is presented. Furthermore, a method for utilising said feature vector as the basis of person recognition via a Support-Vector Machine is detailed. An empirical study was performed in which person recognition was attempted on in situ data collected from 25 participants over 5 days in a office environment. The results report a mean accuracy over the 5 days of 78.15% and a peak accuracy 100% for 9 participants. Further, the results show a considerably better-than-random (1/23 = 4.5%) result for when the participants were: in motion and unaware they were being scanned (52.11%), in motion and face directly away from the sensor (36.04%), and post variations in their general appearance. Finally, the results show the HSS has considerable ability to accommodate for a person's head, shoulder and body rotation relative to the sensor - even in cases where the person is faced directly away from the robot.
Kirchner, NG, Alempijevic, A & Dissanayake, G 2011, 'Nonverbal Robot-Group Interaction Using an Imitated Gaze Cue', Proceedings of the 6th international conference on Human-robot interaction (HRI'11), Annual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), ACM, Lausanne, Switzerland, pp. 497-504.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Ensuring that a particular and unsuspecting member of a group is the recipient of a salient-item hand-over is a complicated interaction. The robot must effectively, expediently and reliably communicate its intentions to advert any tendency within the group towards antinormative behaviour. In this paper, we study how a robot can establish the participant roles of such an interaction using imitated social and contextual cues. We designed two gaze cues, the first was designed to discourage antinormative behaviour through individualising a particular member of the group and the other to the contrary. We designed and conducted a feld experiment (456 participants in 64 trials) in which small groups of people (between 3 and 20 people) assembled in front of the robot, which then attempted to pass a salient object to a particular group member by presenting a physical cue, followed by one of two variations of a gaze cue. Our re-sults showed that presenting the individualising cue had a significant (z=3.733, p=0.0002 ) effect on the robot's ability to ensure that an arbitrary group member did not take the salient object and that the selected participant did.
Hilsenbeck, B & Kirchner, NG 2011, 'Listening for people: Exploiting the spectral structure of speech to robustly perceive the presence of people', 2011 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IEEE, San Francisco, USA, pp. 2903-2909.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
As the desire to see robots ubiquitous in society grows, so does the need for providing the robots with the means of building awareness of any humans with which it may be sharing the environment. This paper presents a real-world suitable system which enables robots to robustly perceive the presence of people acoustically. The proposed binaural system first identifies voiced signal by means of a novel approach to Voice Activity Detection that exploits the spectral signature and characteristics of speech without reliance on a priori knowledge. Bearing estimates for each speaker are then made using a multi-track particle filter with a belief update function comprised of a Cross-correlation bearing estimate and an estimate of the speaker's fundamental frequency. Results, from an evaluation of each of the major system components and a system evaluation in which the robot successfully built human-centric situational awareness of the three humans with which it shared an office lunch-room containing typical background noises, are presented and discussed.
Kirchner, NG, Alempijevic, A, Caraian, SA, Fitch, R, Hordern, DL, Hu, G, Paul, G, Richards, D, Singh, SP & Webb, SS 2010, 'RobotAssist - a Platform for Human Robot Interaction Research', Proceedings of the Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation 2010 (ACRA 2010), Proceedings of the Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation, Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation, Brisbane, pp. 1-10.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This paper presents RobotAssist, a robotic platform designed for use in human robot interaction research and for entry into Robocup@Home competition. The core autonomy of the system is implemented as a component based software framework that allows for integration of operating system independent components, is designed to be expandable and integrates several layers of reasoning. The approaches taken to develop the core capabilities of the platform are described, namely: path planning in a social context, Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM), human cue sensing and perception, manipulatable object detection and manipulation.
Richards, D, Paul, G, Webb, SS & Kirchner, NG 2010, 'Manipulator-based Grasping Pose Selection by means of Task-Objective Optimisation', Proceedings of the Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation 2010 (ACRA 2010), Proceedings of the Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation, Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, pp. 1-9.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This paper presents an alternative to inverse kinematics for mobile manipulator grasp pose selection which integrates obstacle avoidance and joint limit checking into the pose selection process. Given the Cartesian coordinates of an object in 3D space and its normal vector, end-effector pose objectives including collision checking and joint limit checks are used to create a series of cost functions based on sigmoid functions. These functions are optimised using Levenberg-Marquardtâs algorithm to determine a valid pose for a given object. The proposed method has been shown to extend the workspace of the manipulator, eliminating the need for precomputed grasp sets and post pose selection collision checking and joint limit checks. This method has been successfully used on a 6 DOF manipulator both in simulation and in the real world environment.
Caraian, SA & Kirchner, NG 2010, 'Robust Manipulability-Centric Object Detection in Time-of-Flight Camera Point Clouds', Proceedings of the Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation 2010 (ACRA 2010), Proceedings of the Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation, Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, pp. 1-9.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This paper presents a method for robustly identifying the manipulability of objects in a scene based on the capabilities of the manipulator. The method uses a directed histogram search of a time-of-flight camera generated 3D point cloud that exploits the logical connection between objects and the respective supporting surface to facilitate scene segmentation. Once segmented the points above the supporting surface are searched, again with a directed histogram, and potentially manipulatable objects identified. Finally, the manipulatable objects in the scene are identied as those from the potential objects set that are within the manipulators capabilities. It is shown empirically that the method robustly detects the supporting surface with +15mm accuracy and successfully discriminates between graspable and non-graspable objects in cluttered and complex scenes.
Hordern, DL & Kirchner, NG 2010, 'Robust and Efficient People Detection with 3-D Range Data using Shape Matching', Proceedings of the Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation 2010 (ACRA 2010), Proceedings of the Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation, Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, pp. 1-9.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Information about the location of a person is a necessity for Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) as it enables the robot to make human aware decisions and facilitates the extraction of further useful information; such as low-level gestures and gaze. This paper presents a robust method for person detection with 3-D range data using shape matching. Projections of the 3-D data onto 2-D planes are exploited to effectively and efficiently represent the data for scene segmentation and shape extraction. Fourier descriptors (FD) are used to describe the shapes and are subsequently classied with a Support Vector Machine (SVM). A database of 25 people was collected and used to test this approach. The results show that the computationally ecient shape features can be used to robustly detect the location of people.
Liu, D, Dissanayake, G, Manamperi, P, Fang, G, Paul, G, Kirchner, NG & Chotiprayanakul, P 2008, 'A robotic system for steel bridge maintenance: research challenges and system design', Proceedings of the Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation, Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation, Australian Robotics and Automation Association, Australia National University, Canberra, Australia, pp. 1-7.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Paul, G, Liu, D, Kirchner, NG & Webb, SS 2007, 'Safe and efficient autonomous exploration technique for 3D mapping of a complex bridge maintenance environment', Proceedings of the 24th International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction (ISARC 2007), International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Kochi, Kerala, India, pp. 99-104.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Kirchner, NG, Liu, D, Taha, T & Paul, G 2007, 'Capacitive Object Ranging and Material Type Classifying Sensor', Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Intelligent Technologies (InTech), International Conference on Intelligent Technologies, University of Technology, Sydney, Sydney, Australia, pp. 130-135.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Kirchner, NG, Taha, T, Liu, D & Paul, G 2007, 'Simultaneous Material Type Classification And Mapping Data Acquisition Using A Laser Range Finder', Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Intelligent Technologies (InTech), International Conference on Intelligent Technologies, University of Technology, Sydney, Sydney, Australia, pp. 124-129.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This paper presents a method for single sensor simultaneous derivation of three-dimensional mapping data and material type data for use in an autonomous sandblasting system. A Hokuyo laser range finders firmware has been modified so that it returns intensity data. A range error and return intensity analyzing algorithm allows the material type of the sensed object to be determined from a set of known materials. Empirical results have demonstrated the systems ability to classify material type (under alignment and orientation constraints) from a set of known materials common to sandblasting environments (wood, concrete, metals with different finishes and cloth/fabric) and to successfully classify objects both when static and when fitted to an in-motion 6-DOF anthropomorphic robotic arm.
Kirchner, NG, Liu, D & Dissanayake, G 2006, 'Bridge Maintenance Robotic Arm: Capacitive Sensor for Obstacle Ranging in Particle Laden Air', Proceedings of the 23rd International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction, International Symposium of Automation and Robotics in Construction, Japan Robot Association, Tokyo, Japan, pp. 596-601.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This paper describes an Infrared Local Positioning System (IR-LPS) designed for indoor UAV use. Directional receivers scan the local environment for active tags that emit a unique (to each tag) IR signal. The system is constructed from inexpensive off the shelf components and requires no room calibration when introduced to a new environment. The IR-LPS is capable of three-dimensional dynamic tracking of a UAV with minimal PC processing power required. This allows for multiple systems to be run from a single PC or for the system to be battery powered and run on an embedded PC. The IR-LPS was implemented and evaluated in a large open space laboratory and provided localisation with less than 1cm error at 2m and with a range of 30m.
Kirchner, NG, 'EXPLOITING LASER AND CAPACITIVE RANGING SENSORS' BEHAVIOUR TO IDENTIFY MATERIAL TYPE'.
This thesis presents the Laser and Capacitive based Material type Identification (LaCMI) system for material type identification1. The LaCMI is a combination of two base sensing technology approaches to achieve material type identification. The overall research objective of this work was to devise a sensing system capable of identifying several physical properties (of an object in the sensing field) to use as the basis for high confidence identification of the material types of the objects. Laser and capacitive based technologies were used in the system due to the advantages of using technologies that interact with different physical properties of the sensed object.
In the laser range finder based approach, non-dimensional encapsulations of an object's surface reflectance and roughness were created via a model-free method which analysed polynomial fits and fit errors of a laser range finder's readings. As the basis of the capacitive based approach, a surface penetrating sensing technology capable of delivering range and material type identifications in environments containing air heavily laden with particles (both conductive and non-conductive) was devised and implemented. Then, using a multi-frequency approach to the capacitive sensing, model- free algorithms that exploit the variations in the sensor's behaviour (absolute readings and intra-readings variations) when sensing materials of different types were used to create non-dimensional indictors of the sensed object's permittivity and conductivity. From the fusion of these two complementary sensing technologies, a novel sensing system for non-contact, robust and high-confidence material type identification of sensed objects in real-world environments was implemented and empirically evaluated.
Extensive experimental evidence is presented to demonstrate the potential, limitations and usefulness of the two base sensing technologies and of a system consisting of the two. It is shown that the system is capable of...
Kirchner, NG, 'DEVELOPMENT OF INDOORS COOPERATIVE AUTONOMOUS BLIMPS'.
Urban disasters lead to dangerous situations where rescuers are to required to risk their own lives by entering structurally unstable and dangerous environments to search for victims. The objective of this thesis is to develop a system capable of replacing the human element in the search for victims in these disaster environments. A cooperative fleet of localised autonomous blimps, Miniature Aerial Vehicles (MAVs), that perform an optimum cooperative search of the environment and report the locations of victims using the data from the localisation system was developed. The most significant advantages of the system are the removal of risk for secondary accidents occurring to the search team and the removal of human inefficiencies from the search task. The proposed system has been applied to numerous numerical and experimental examples intended to gauge the performance of the system. The localisation system provides an error of less than 10cm at 10m and is capable of locating multiple blimps. The blimps were autonomously piloted to specific three-dimensional locations following the shortest path. The overall system is capable of simultaneous controlled flight of multiple blimps and cooperative coordination. The future goal of this work is to implement various sensors into the blimps and to develop the fleet into a symbiotic network in order to better utilise the available resources.