We report on the design issues of the User Interface for the MINIMAN system, a micro-robot with a sub millimetre precision manipulator. We introduce the project and its specifications alongside the requirements for the User Interface. The aim is to implement a semi-autonomous, computer vision controlled micro-robot, with a powerful interface. Having the user on a different scale than the robot is equivalent in terms of the user interface to a telecontrol configuration even if the user and the robot are located in the same room. Such a configuration requires a user/robot control loop, integrated in the interface, which address the following issues: The perception by the user of the current situation so that he become aware of what is the state of the robot and of the environment, the presentation of the possible actions and the mean to initiate them so that the user can plan and schedule his actions, and finally a feedback to the user when the robot has performed an action which lets the user become aware of the resulting effects of his actions. We have studied different approaches to the design of the user interface resulting from the need for a user-friendly robot destined to an industrial environment. The approaches of a particular interest are: Graphical User Interface, web interface and Virtual Environment. Although partially implemented at this stage they are described with analysis.
"User interface for the telecontrol of a microrobot", Proc. SPIE 4195, Mobile Robots XV and Telemanipulator and Telepresence Technologies VII, (2 March 2001); doi: 10.1117/12.417316; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.417316