Abstract of

Human-Robot Interaction

         A very important aspect in developing robots capa­ble of
Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) is the research in natural, human-like
communication, and subsequently, the development of a research platform
with multiple HRI capabilities for evaluation. Besides a flexible dialog
system and speech understanding, an an­thropomorphic appearance has the
potential to support intuitive usage and understanding of a robot, e.g
.. human-like facial ex­pressions and deictic gestures can as well be
produced and also understood by the robot. As a consequence of our
effort in creating an anthropomorphic appearance and to come close to a
human-­human interaction model for a robot, we decided to use human-like
sensors, i.e., two cameras and two microphones only, in analogy to
human perceptual capabilities too.

              Despite the challenges resulting from these limits with respect to
perception, a robust attention sys­tem for tracking and interacting
with multiple persons simultane­ously in real time is presented. The
tracking approach is sufficiently generic to work on robots with varying
hardware, as long as stereo audio data and images of a video camera are
available. To easily implement different interaction capabilities like
deictic gestures, natural adaptive dialogs, and emotion awareness on the
robot, we apply a modular integration approach utilizing XML-based data
exchange. The paper focuses on our efforts to bring together dif­ferent
interaction concepts and perception capabilities integrated on a
humanoid robot to achieve comprehending human-oriented interaction.

Introduction of

Human-Robot Interaction

            For face detection, a method originally developed by Viola and
Jones for object detection is adopted. Their approach uses a cascade of
simple rectangular features that allows a very efficient binary
classification of image windows into either the face or non face class.
This classification step is executed for different window positions and
different scales to scan the com­plete image for faces. We apply the
idea of a classification pyra­mid starting with very fast but weak
classifiers to reject im­age parts that are certainly no faces. With
increasing complexity of classifiers, the number of remaining image
parts decreases. The training of the classifiers is based on the
AdaBoost algo­rithm . Combining the weak classifiers iteratively to more
stronger ones until the desired level of quality is achieved.

            As an extension to the frontal view detection proposed by Viola and
Jones, we additionally classify the horizontal gazing direction of
faces, as shown in Fig. 4, by using four instances of the classifier
pyramids described earlier, trained for faces rotated by 20″, 40″, 60″,
and 80″. For classifying left and right-turned faces, the image is
mirrored at its vertical axis, and the same four classifiers are applied
again. The gazing direction is evaluated for activating or deactivating
the speech processing, since the robot should not react to people
talking to each other in front of the robot, but only to communication
partners facing the robot. Subsequent to the face detection, a face
identification is applied to the detected image region using the
eigenface method to compare the detected face with a set of trained
faces. For each detected face, the size, center coordinates, horizontal
rotation, and results of the face identification are provided at a
real-time capable frequency of about 7 Hz on an Athlon64 2 GHz desktop
PC with I GB RAM.

Voice Detection:

            As mentioned before, the limited field-of-view of the cam­eras
demands for alternative detect ion and tracking methods. Motivated by
human perception, sound location is applied to direct the robot’s
attention. The integrated speaker localization (SPLOC) realizes both the
detection of possible communication partners outside the field-of-view
of the camera and the esti­mation whether a person found by face
detection is currently speaking. The program continuously captures the
audio data by the two microphones.

          To estimate the relative direction of one or more sound sources in
front of the robot, the direction of sound toward the microphones is
considered . De­pendent on the position of a sound source in front of
the robot, the run time difference t results from the run times tr and
tl of the right and left microphone. SPLOC compares the recorded audio
signal of the left and the right] microphone using a fixed number of
samples for a cross power spectrum phase (CSP) to calcu­late the
temporal shift between the signals. Taking the distance of the
microphones dmic and a minimum range of 30 cm to a sound source into
account, it is possible to estimate the direction of a signal in a 2-D
space. For multiple sound source detection, not only the main energy
value for the CSP result is taken, but also all values exceeding an
adjustable threshold.

          In the 3-D space, distance and height of a sound source is needed for an exact detection.

          This information can be obtained by the face detection when SPLOC
is used for checking whether a found person is speaking or not. For
coarsely detecting communication partner, outside the field-of-view,
standard values are used that are sufficiently accurate to align the
camera properly to get the person hypothesis into the field-of-view. The
position of a sound source (a speaker mouth) is assumed at a height of
160 Cm for an average adult. The standard distance is adjusted to 110
Cm, as observed during interactions with naive users.