Robot's Voice Helps It Find Its Way

Posted 10 Dec 2003 at 18:48 UTC by Rog-a-matic Share This

Researchers at the University of Toronto have are using a Trilobot from Arrick Robotics to navigate usin using its own voice. A paper will be available online in a future issue of the journal Information Fusion. The system could be used as a tour guide within two years according to its inventors.

More info..., posted 10 Dec 2003 at 19:49 UTC by steve » (Master)

Here's the link to the Scientific American article about Parham Aarabi's project at the University of Toronto's Artificial Perception Lab. The Scientific American article was based on a recent press release from the University. Also, you can find more photos, motion video clips, and information on the APL website about the project, which is known as the Acoustic Robot Navigation Project. The project page also includes the MATLAB code used implement the acoustic navigation algorithms.

His Master's Voice, posted 10 Dec 2003 at 23:20 UTC by Frank McNeill » (Apprentice)

Not entirely appropriate, but when I read the linked piece about this robot in Scientific American, the old Victor record logo came to mind. See:

I don't know it seems to be really aggravating, posted 11 Dec 2003 at 15:25 UTC by earlwb » (Master)

To me a robot talking to itself all the time would start to get aggravating after a while. What happened to Ultrasound? It doesn't bother anyone except bats, cats and dogs maybe.

using Ultrasound would be better I think.

Trilobot has ultrasonics, posted 11 Dec 2003 at 18:13 UTC by The Swirling Brain » (Master)

Trilobot does have ultrasound.

This demo was just to show that the robot could be located by using sound output and microphones around the room. Sort of like sound GPS. They really couldn't have done the same thing with ultrasound because ultrasound is directional so it would be hard to pick up on more than one microphone around the room to triangulate where the robot was. Perhaps the robot could shoot some ultrasonic sound and then turn it's head and shoot again at another microphone and turn it's head the other way again to shoot some ultrasound, but that would be time consuming.

The question I'm wondering is if it was used as a tourguide, would the people in the room who were speaking ruin this technique. IE: wouldn't this robot be the only one allowed to speak so the microphones around the room could sense where it is. If others are speaking, how could it tell the difference and filter out everyone else's voices.

Therefore, I think this is a cool technique for something like a vacuum while you're away bot where you don't expect anyone else to speak or a security guard robot, but for a tour guide, I don't see it.

I love the Trilobot! It's a very impressive robot. It has just about everything you could wish for in a feature on a robot.

Parham Aarabi replies , posted 12 Dec 2003 at 17:33 UTC by steve » (Master)

I received this email from Parham Aarabi today:

Actually, we have been working on this problem for a long time. The key is that the Robot's phrases are pre-recorded (i.e. we can extract a speech signature from these phrases beforehand). Afterwards, we look for those specific speech signatures (the ones that only correspond to the robot's speech, and not the other conversations in the room), and localize based on that. Hence, localization in noisy environments, with many people and numerous conversations, is possible. Of course, it is to a certain extent, but if you have several people shouting as loud as they can, our localization system WILL fail! But, in most typical situations it does fine. Thanks for your feedback and your comments ... Parham Aarabi.

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