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Project Summary

Project: a collaborative project where we work as a team to design for NASA Intelligent Robotics Group.

Problem: design a scalable interface that allows to efficiently remote control large swarms of robots on alien terrains.

Approach: design an interface using new research, and also drawing from already existing video game interfaces, especially real-time strategy games, and integrate first person drone vision (camera or lidar), third-person drone vision, and an isometric overview vision.

Research and tour of NASA Ames Center

Design story

The robots will disperse over already mapped terrain and probe soil for a specific mineral, determined by control station. The swarm is mostly autonomous. At the beginning of the mission, the controller will divide the swarm into teams and send them off in several areas to probe. Some robots will encounter problems, and the mission will automatically scale down to adjust for the loss. Some robots will successfully complete the mission, and return to base.

Interface highlights

Error scenario

One robot’s arm gets stuck and the robot reports an error to control, and waits. The control tries to troubleshoot with software, then uses a camera from a nearby robot to inspect the error robot. After confirming the situation, control makes software adjustments for robot to move a certain way. The robot is freed, but its arm is broken. Control makes the decision for the robot to either proceed (mission permitting) or return to base as a decommissioned robot.

Latest wireframe iteration

Initial assignment of robot “teams” - how many, what tasks, and which site to go to.

Adding mission to each swarm robot team

Camera or lidar view of Team 1 members, as seen by one of the team member robots. Can be toggled between team members. An error pops in in the bottom right, to alert of the most critical error.

Once error message is accessed, robot in trouble can be viewed by the camera of the closest robot nearby.

Options to troubleshoot a robot in trouble.

Troubleshooting “split” view of both nearby robot, and robot in trouble cameras, and the manual code override editor.

Post-troubleshooting menus and options.

Individual robot details screen.

At-a-glance view of the swarm status.

Initial sketches