UbiSwarm: Ubiquitous Robotic Interfaces and Investigation of Abstract Motion as a Display

Lawrence H.Kim, Sean Follmer
IMWUT: Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies, 2017
As robots increasingly enter our everyday life, we envision a future in which robots are ubiquitous and interact with both ourselves and our environments. This paper introduces the concept of ubiquitous robotic interfaces (URIs), multi-robot interfaces capable of mobility, manipulation, sensing, display and interaction. URIs interact directly with the user and indirectly through surrounding objects. A key aspect of URIs is their ability to display information to users either by collectively forming shapes or through their movements. In this paper, we focus on the use of URIs to display information in ubiquitous settings. We first investigate theuse of abstract motion as a display for URIs by studying human perception of abstract multi-robot motion. With ten small robots, we produced 42 videos of bio-inspired abstract motion by varying three parameters (7 x 2 x 3): bio-inspired behavior, speed and smoothness. In a crowdsourced between-subjects study, 1067 subjects were recruited to watch the videos and describe their perception through Likert scales and free text. Study results suggest that different bio-inspired behaviors elicit significantly different responses in arousal, dominance, hedonic and pragmatic qualities, animacy, urgency and willingness to attend. On the other hand, speed significantly affects valence, arousal, hedonic quality, urgency and animacy while smoothness affects hedonic quality, animacy, attractivity and likeability. We discuss how these results inform URI designers to formulate appropriate motion for different interaction scenarios and use these results to derive our own example applications using our URI platform, UbiSwarm.