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Proceedings Paper

Soldier experiments and assessments using SPEAR speech control system for UGVs
Author(s): Jonathan Brown; Chris Blanco; Jeffrey Czerniak; Brian Hoffman; Orin Hoffman; Amit Juneja; Lester Ngia; Tarun Pruthi; Dongqing Liu
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Paper Abstract

This paper reports on a Soldier Experiment performed by the Army Research Lab's Human Research Engineering Directorate (HRED) Field Element located at the Maneuver Center of Excellence, Ft. Benning, and a Limited Use Assessment conducted by the Marine Corps Forces Pacific Command Experimentation Center (MEC) at Camp Pendleton evaluating the effectiveness of using speech commands to control an Unmanned Ground Vehicle. SPEAR, developed by Think-A-Move, Ltd., provides speech control of UGVs. SPEAR detects user speech in the ear canal with an earpiece containing an in-ear microphone. The system design provides up to 30 dB of passive noise reduction, enabling it to work well in high-noise environments, where traditional speech systems, using external microphones, fail; it also utilizes a proprietary speech recognition engine. SPEAR has been integrated with iRobot's PackBot 510 with FasTac Kit, and with Multi-Robot Operator Control Unit (MOCU), developed by SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific. These integrated systems allow speech to supplement the hand-controller for multi-modal control of different UGV functions simultaneously. HRED's experiment measured the impact of SPEAR on reducing the cognitive load placed on UGV Operators and the time to complete specific tasks. Army NCOs and Officer School Candidates participated in this experiment, which found that speech control was faster than manual control to complete tasks requiring menu navigation, as well as reducing the cognitive load on UGV Operators. The MEC assessment examined speech commands used for two different missions: Route Clearance and Cordon and Search; participants included Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technicians and Combat Engineers. The majority of the Marines thought it was easier to complete the mission scenarios with SPEAR than with only using manual controls, and that using SPEAR improved their situational awareness. Overall results of these Assessments are reported in the paper, along with possible applications to autonomous mine detection systems.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 April 2010
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7664, Detection and Sensing of Mines, Explosive Objects, and Obscured Targets XV, 76641E (29 April 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.852507
Show Author Affiliations
Jonathan Brown, Think-A-Move, Ltd. (United States)
Chris Blanco, Think-A-Move, Ltd. (United States)
Jeffrey Czerniak, iRobot Corp. (United States)
Brian Hoffman, Think-A-Move, Ltd. (United States)
Orin Hoffman, iRobot Corp. (United States)
Amit Juneja, Think-A-Move, Ltd. (United States)
Lester Ngia, Think-A-Move, Ltd. (United States)
Tarun Pruthi, Think-A-Move, Ltd. (United States)
Dongqing Liu, Think-A-Move, Ltd. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7664:
Detection and Sensing of Mines, Explosive Objects, and Obscured Targets XV
Russell S. Harmon; John H. Holloway Jr.; J. Thomas Broach, Editor(s)

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