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Teaching a First Course in Human-Robot Interaction

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Course Development / Curriculum Development

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1462.1 - 26.1462.13



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Paper Authors


Carlotta A. Berry Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Dr. Carlotta A. Berry is an associate professor in the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. She is the director of the multidisciplinary minor in robotics and co-director of the Rose building undergraduate diversity scholarship and professional development program. She has been the President of the Technical Editor Board for the ASEE Computers in Education Journal since 2012. She is a member of ASEE, IEEE, NSBE, and Eta Kappa Nu.

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“Human-Robot Interaction in a Human-Robot Interaction Course”AbstractThis paper will present the details of the design and implementation of an introductory course inhuman-robot interaction (HRI) for graduate and undergraduate students from various disciplines.Human-Robot Interaction is a multidisciplinary field that focuses on identifying methods forrobots to successfully interact with humans. This field of study involves the understanding,design, and evaluation of robotics systems to be used by or with humans (Goodrich, 2007). Oneprimary goal is to develop principles to allow for natural and effective communication betweenhumans and robots. HRI is a relatively new field established around 2001 as a natural offshootof hybrid control. Since HRI is a multidisciplinary field it involves elements of robotics,artificial intelligence, psychology, human-computer interaction, human factors, interactiondesign, education, cognitive science, computer science, engineering, psychology, sociology andseveral others. There are several branches of HRI including interfaces, interaction design,metrics, autonomy, perception, urban search and rescue, museum, situation awareness, emotionalintelligence, dialog, embodiment, supervisory control, assistive, social robotics, telepresence andteamwork. Due to the broad range of content in this field as well as the dearth of textbooks andstandardized curricula, it is sometimes difficult to design a course appropriate for a diverseaudience (Murphy et al., 2010).The author will summarize the key elements of a first course in Human-Robot Interaction with asurvey of the most relevant areas in the field. The first step involves determining what topics toemphasize as well as how to meet the learning objectives. This course was created to have aspecial emphasis on HRI design as it applies to mobile robotics. The presentation will providethe learning objectives as well as the details of the assignments necessary to meet thoseobjectives. These assignments included weekly readings, quizzes, labs and projects. A big partof this course involves the implementation of the HRI concepts on an actual robot platform. Thelabs included creating a robot dancer, music machine, touch free robot racer, robot conga line,Braitenberg vehicles, and robot remote control. The first phase of the final project involved thecreation of an urban search and rescue scenario. The second phase of the final project involvedthe students implementing one of the HRI concepts presented during the semester on the robot.One interesting note about this course is that it was taught to undergraduate students from non-technical fields. Therefore, it was necessary to teach them about the technical aspects of roboticsand programming while they also learned HRI. Thus an intriguing byproduct of the course wasthat the students actually became participants in HRI as they learned about HRI.Index Terms – human-robot interaction, mobile robots, robot programming, robot controlSample References:Burke, J., Murphy, R. R., & Kidd, C. (2007). Young Researchers in HRI Workshop 2006:Contemplating the future of human–robot interaction. Interaction Studies, 8(2), 343-358.Dautenhahn, Kerstin. "Methodology and themes of human-robot interaction: a growing researchfield." International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems, 2007. 1Goodrich, M. A., & Schultz, A. C. (2007). Human-robot interaction: a survey. Foundations andtrends in human-computer interaction, 1(3), 203-275.Murphy, R.R., Nomura, R., Billard, A., & Burke, J.L. (2010, June). Human-Robot Interaction:An Exclusive Course for Computer Scientists and Engineers. IEEE Robotics & AutomationMagazine. pp. 85 - 89. 2

Berry, C. A. (2015, June), Teaching a First Course in Human-Robot Interaction Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24799

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