Social Robotics

Grounding robot communication in embodied, social robots

This is a joint project of Kerstin Dautenhahn (University of Hertfordshire) and Aude Billard (University of Southern California).

This page shows one particular experiment that Aude Billard and Kerstin Dautenhahn did together at the VUB AI-LAB in Brussels in 1996. Please note that since then our work in this area has continued, see publications below.

Aude Billard developed a neural network control architecture called DRAMA which we are applying to robots which are communicating and interacting in a social context, given a teacher-learner setup. We are using a simple imitation strategy (bi-directional following) to implement "social bonding". In the 1996 experiments ahilly environment was used as a "meaningful" habitat for the robots.

Papers about this work

In the following we show some photos which we took during the experiments in Brussels.

The four agents involved in this project: Aude Billard (left) and Kerstin Dautenhahn (right), plus two fischertechnik robots.

The teacher (left) and the learner (right) robot in the initial position. The robots are not identical, they have different shapes, plus sensori-motor characteristics. We assume that the teacher robot "knows" how to interpret the world, i.e. it is emitting 2 different signals (bitstring, by radio link communication) for moving on a plane and moving on a hill.

The learner robot. It has to learn the teacher's interpretations of "words" on the basis of its own sensory inputs. Learning means here creating associations.

Approaching the hill. The robots have a bi-directional following strategy, i.e. both teacher and learner try to maintain the following relation.

Climbing up the hill. Every run is different from the other, due to the structure of the ground, sensory disturbances etc.

On top of the hill. After a few of such runs the learner has learnt that certain "words" are associated with a certain context, defines by sensory inputs.

Technical details, experiments, results, as well as problems and disadvantages of this approach to robot communication are discussed in the papers which are mentioned above.

Back to Kerstin's Home Page. May 2002 Kerstin Dautenhahn