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Proceedings Paper

Light weight portable operator control unit using an Android-enabled mobile phone
Author(s): Nicholas Fung
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Paper Abstract

There have been large gains in the field of robotics, both in hardware sophistication and technical capabilities. However, as more capable robots have been developed and introduced to battlefield environments, the problem of interfacing with human controllers has proven to be challenging. Particularly in the field of military applications, controller requirements can be stringent and can range from size and power consumption, to durability and cost. Traditional operator control units (OCUs) tend to resemble laptop personal computers (PCs), as these devices are mobile and have ample computing power. However, laptop PCs are bulky and have greater power requirements. To approach this problem, a light weight, inexpensive controller was created based on a mobile phone running the Android operating system. It was designed to control an iRobot Packbot through the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in-house Agile Computing Infrastructure (ACI). The hardware capabilities of the mobile phone, such as Wi- Fi communications, touch screen interface, and the flexibility of the Android operating system, made it a compelling platform. The Android based OCU offers a more portable package and can be easily carried by a soldier along with normal gear requirements. In addition, the one hand operation of the Android OCU allows for the Soldier to keep an unoccupied hand for greater flexibility. To validate the Android OCU as a capable controller, experimental data was collected evaluating use of the controller and a traditional, tablet PC based OCU. Initial analysis suggests that the Android OCU performed positively in qualitative data collected from participants.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 May 2011
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 8045, Unmanned Systems Technology XIII, 80450Y (23 May 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.883308
Show Author Affiliations
Nicholas Fung, U.S. Army Research Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8045:
Unmanned Systems Technology XIII
Douglas W. Gage; Charles M. Shoemaker; Robert E. Karlsen; Grant R. Gerhart, Editor(s)

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