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Sensors 2012, 12(6), 8301-8318; doi:10.3390/s120608301

Intelligent Lead: A Novel HRI Sensor for Guide Robots

Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Seoul National University, 1 Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-gu, Seoul 151-742, Korea
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 May 2012 / Revised: 6 June 2012 / Accepted: 6 June 2012 / Published: 14 June 2012
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
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This paper addresses the introduction of a new Human Robot Interaction (HRI) sensor for guide robots. Guide robots for geriatric patients or the visually impaired should follow user’s control command, keeping a certain desired distance allowing the user to work freely. Therefore, it is necessary to acquire control commands and a user’s position on a real-time basis. We suggest a new sensor fusion system to achieve this objective and we will call this sensor the “intelligent lead”. The objective of the intelligent lead is to acquire a stable distance from the user to the robot, speed-control volume and turn-control volume, even when the robot platform with the intelligent lead is shaken on uneven ground. In this paper we explain a precise Extended Kalman Filter (EKF) procedure for this. The intelligent lead physically consists of a Kinect sensor, the serial linkage attached with eight rotary encoders, and an IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) and their measurements are fused by the EKF. A mobile robot was designed to test the performance of the proposed sensor system. After installing the intelligent lead in the mobile robot, several tests are conducted to verify that the mobile robot with the intelligent lead is capable of achieving its goal points while maintaining the appropriate distance between the robot and the user. The results show that we can use the intelligent lead proposed in this paper as a new HRI sensor joined a joystick and a distance measure in the mobile environments such as the robot and the user are moving at the same time.
Keywords: guide robot; visually impaired; serial linkage; IMU; Kinect sensor; EKF guide robot; visually impaired; serial linkage; IMU; Kinect sensor; EKF

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Cho, K.-B.; Lee, B.-H. Intelligent Lead: A Novel HRI Sensor for Guide Robots. Sensors 2012, 12, 8301-8318.

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