Server robot -- man machine interface

Man-Machine Interface If you look closely at how most RC joysticks and game pads are used you'll notice that they kind of rely on using two hands.
I suggested a Wii controller but Frederic nixed that idea. (A Wii may require more fine motor control than he has available.)
Autonomous motion with voice control seems like the obvious way to go. He can wear a Bluetooth headset so the voice signal to noise ratio will be really high. The Bluetooth can connect to his desktop PC giving lots of processing power. There will be a fairly small vocabulary and and it is easy to train the system to his voice. Frederic installed and seems to have had fairly good luck with a Linux voice control system called CMU Sphinx.
Voice will do for most things but I'd like a backup way to control the robot. I'd use an IR remote control but even that is pushing it for what is easy for him to use.
Any ideas for a backup man-machine interface?
thanks Bob Smith
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This is not the case for the joystick used on a motorized wheelchair.

Maybe Dave can help on this. Have you seen his Loki robot?
http://www.dshinsel.com /

Motion sensors in a hat or head band?
JC
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casey wrote:

Loki is similar to what I would like to build.
Both the wheelchair joystick and the headband ideas are good and I'll suggest them to Frederic. Part of the answer, and something I do not know, is how long what we do should last. That is, at some point he will lose all motor control in his hands. When that happens voice control and/or a headband will be needed.
thanks Bob
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I was thinking more in terms of voice control as regards Loki.
If money isn't an issue a second hand newish motorized wheelchair is an instant solution to a mobile base and is the one I would choose for my robot base if I had a spare $2500.
It also retains its value as a motorized wheel chair which may be needed as such in the future? Unlike most robot bases it will not end up collecting dust in some garage without resale value.
I would not wait for future developments in the here and now for getting a practical working robot base in action right now.
It would be less than a weeks work in my opinion to have a visual system follow a line, or a wire under the floor, with software to choose any forks in the road. Are looks more important than a system that actually works and is needed right now?
If carrying a cup of coffee from the kitchen to the desk is the only problem I would think an auto coffee making machine on the desk would be the practical solution? There are also those spill proof cups? Also there is nothing nicer than a kind human making a coffee for you. Building a robot just to carry a cup of coffee seems a bit of an extreme solution and seems to me to amount to nothing more than a bit of fun rather than of any real practical value as there are other simpler alternatives like a cart that can be pushed and also act as support.
JC
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Bob Smith wrote:

How about something like a servo-ed waldo? You are already going to make it maneuverable with a cane when all fails. Maybe you can use the same socket to control the robot movement when it is operating normally...
Antoon

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Jaded Hobo wrote:

Antoon That is a great idea. It could be simple if I can figure out how to mount everything. Three microswitches should do it -- turn left, turn right, and go forward. If the robot is working the switches can control it and if the robot is not working the cane attachment point doubles as the tow point. What a great simplification. Thanks.
Bob Smith
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Have a handle permanently installed at the appropriate height for him to grab. If there are some buttons on it, then that is your backup interface. I would suggest that these buttons be able to control the robot, even if the separate remote control computer is down... perhaps even if the on-board computer is down. I imagine as a programming geek, he is going to play a lot with the programming, and that means it is going to crash or get locked up. So, the ability to move the robot in those situations would be nice. But, rather than as a back- up device, I suspect that just pressing the "Go to Chair" button would be easier than going through the dialog. If he is capable of preparing a cup of coffee and holding it to drink, he is capable of pressing a button.
Another option is the smart-home type of interfaces used to automate household lights, etc. At my home I have control buttons by my bed, at my desk and one on the wall. A set of buttons can be placed anywhere. But, you would still be relying on a computer being up to do anything. the reliability is reduced.
Joe Dunfee
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