TourBot: A Research and Product Design Study Applying Human Robot Interaction and Universal Design Principles to the Development of a Tour Guide Robot
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Robots have intrigued the imagination of society since their introduction in 1921 by Czechoslovakian writer Karel Capek in his play, Rossum’s Universal Robots. Since that time, advances in the field of robotics have increased the opportunities for robots to interact with humans in various situations and environments. With that being said, it should be noted that less focus has been placed on the design of robots that can be used by people of all abilities and disabilities. The purpose of this study is to combine the principles of Human Robot Interaction and Universal Design in an effort to formulate an approach that will assist in the development of human interaction robots, by specifically applying the approach to the design of a tour guide robot. The approach consists of five steps. The first step is developing a task chart that lists each task that the robot is to complete during its function. The second step is that the chart is applied to a task map that helps visualize the tasks in the intended sequence to make sure nothing was overlooked and to see the function as a whole. Once this is complete the third step is that the tasks can be applied to an interaction chart that divides the tasks into four sections. The sections will identify what hardware and software is needed to complete the tasks and meet the needs of the user. The fourth step combines the information obtained from the three previous steps into a universal flowchart. The purpose of the flowchart is to visualize all the information in the intended sequence that the robot is to perform during its function, and make adjustments to the tasks, hardware, and software as needed. The final phase of the approach is formulating a complete list of the robot’s components that includes the hardware and software needed in order for each component to function. The completed list was then applied to the design of a tour guide robot.