Social Behavior in Multi-robot Systems (2017 - 20)


Description: Individuals can benefit in a social group by looking out for one another for support and survival. It is a proven phenomenon in nature and in this research our goal is to apply the same principles in a multi-robot system to improve robot survivability robustness.
   Traditionally, research on multi-robot systems has focused on developing application specific control algorithms while adapting individual robots in the group to operational environments and specific tasks without explicitly considering the advantages of being in a social group. However, given the unpredictable nature of various operational environments and autonomous mission requirements, designing individual robots that can take into account all possible scenarios is unfeasible, expensive and still lack robustness in survivability. In contrast, we believe introducing a social group aspect to the multi-robot system may provide a unique and robust way of dealing with such cases.
   For our initial work, social behavioral inspiration was taken from the Huddling behavior of Emperor Penguins in the Antarctic where they share body heat and take turns being in the huddle centers to survive conditions as severe as Antarctic winters as a group.
   Potential research on the topic include energy sharing between heterogeneous robotic agents, application of machine learning techniques for distributed position shuffling within the group to survive damaging external stimuli, distributed control techniques for cooperative object transportation specifically focusing on minimal individual health loss for long term survival of the multi-robot system.

Grants: Purdue University
People: Tamzidul Mina

Selected Publications:

  • Tamzidul Mina, Maliha Hossain, Jee Hwan Park, and Byung-Cheol Min, "Efficient Resource Distribution by Adaptive Inter-agent Spacing in Multi-agent Systems", 2019 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics (SMC), Bari, Italy, 6-9 October, 2019. Paper Link, Video Link
  • Tamzidul Mina and Byung-Cheol Min, "Penguin Huddling Inspired Distributed Boundary Movement for Group Survival in Multi-robot Systems using Gaussian Processes", 2018 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics (IEEE ROBIO 2018), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, December 12-15, 2018. Paper Link, Video Link
  • Tamzidul Mina and Byung-Cheol Min, "Penguin Huddling-inspired Energy Sharing and Formation Movement in Multi-robot Systems", 2018 IEEE International Symposium on Safety, Security, and Rescue Robotics (SSRR), Philadelphia, PA, USA, August 6-8, 2018. Paper Link, Video Link
A Directional Antenna-based Leader-follower Robotic Convoy System (2013 - 18)

Description: In this research, we present a directional antenna-based leader-follower robotic relay system capable of building end-to-end communication in complicated and dynamically changing environments. The proposed system consists of multiple networked robots - one is a mobile end node and the others are leaders or followers acting as radio relays. Every follower uses directional antennas to relay a communication radio and to estimate the location of the leader robot as a sensory device. For bearing estimation, we employ a weight centroid algorithm (WCA) and present a theoretical analysis of the use of WCA for this work. Using a robotic convoy method, we develop online, distributed control strategies that satisfy the scalability requirements of robotic network systems and enable cooperating robots to work independently. The performance of the proposed system is evaluated by conducting extensive real-world experiments that successfully build actual communication between two end nodes.

Grants: Purdue University
People: Sangjun Lee, Ramviyas Parasuraman

Selected Publications:

  • Byung-Cheol Min, Ramviyas Parasuraman, Sangjun Lee, Jin-Woo Jung, and Eric T. Matson, "A Directional Antenna based Leader-Follower Relay System for End-to-End Robot Communications", Robotics and Autonomous Systems, Vol. 101, pp. 57-73, March 2018. Download PDF, Download Video I, Download Video II
  • Byung-Cheol Min, Eric T. Matson, and Jin-Woo Jung, “Active Antenna Tracking System with Directional Antennas for Enhancing Wireless Communication Capabilities of a Networked Robotic System", Journal of Field Robotics, Vol. 33, Issue 3, pp. 391-406, May 2016. Download PDF
Interactive Indoor Navigation Aid System for Visually Impaired People (2015 - 18)

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Description: World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 285 million people in the world are visually impaired, of whom 39 million are blind. Although safe and independent mobility is a critical element of modern life, traveling in unfamiliar environments can be challenging and often daunting for visually impaired people due to the lack of appropriate navigation aid tools. In order to get familiarity with new places, visually impaired people usually take many times of mobility training through orientation & mobility instructors or their family. However, this training is time consuming and expensive for all the parties. Furthermore, it often appears to be challenging for visually impaired people to memorize all the steps to navigate new places independently. The objective of this project is to develop improved and appropriate navigation aid tools that will enable visually impaired people to travel unfamiliar environments safely and independently with minimal training and effort.

Grants: Purdue University
People: Yeonju Oh

Selected Publications:

  • Yeonju Oh, Wei-Liang Kao, and Byung-Cheol Min, "Indoor Navigation Aid System Using No Positioning Technique for Visually Impaired People", HCI International 2017 - Poster Extended Abstract, Vancouver, Canada, 9-14 July, 2017. Download PDF, Download Video
Emergency and Non – Emergency Response Using Smartphone-based Indoor Localization (2016 - 17)

Description: The purpose of this study is for a blind user to request help based on emergency and non-emergency situation using indoor navigation application. Usage of indoor navigation application is to serve the purpose of sending the exact location of a blind user to the responders when the blind user is in indoor settings. The goal of the study is twofold. The first goal of this research is to build an android application and achieve accuracy of one meter or less using Wi-Fi signals inside the building. The second goal of this study is to evaluate the usefulness of providing the exact location i.e., room number, floor, floor map and building name to the emergency responders to reach the destination promptly. The main idea behind this project is to evaluate, if providing exact location of a user inside a building helps emergency or non-emergency responders to reach location inside the building quicker rather than searching entire building for the victim. As a preliminary study, an accuracy of one meter was achieved around 70 percent of the time in our test runs, and this accuracy implies that we were able to send the exact location of the blind user with one-meter accuracy to the responders 70 percent of the times.

Grants: Purdue University
People: Manoj Penmetcha, Arabinda Samantaray

Selected Publications:

  • Manoj Penmetcha, Arabinda Samantaray, and Byung-Cheol Min, "SmartResponse: Emergency and Non-Emergency Response for Smartphone based Indoor Localization applications", HCI International 2017 - Poster Extended Abstract, Vancouver, Canada, 9-14 July, 2017. Download PDF
Examine the Potential of Robots to Teach Emotional Concepts (2015 - 16)

Description: Autistic people is a special group who have impaired ability in social interaction, social communication and imagination. Several approaches have been used to help them, among which humanoid robot is emerging as a new tool to teach them recently, since it could offer more simplified physical features and controllable environment which is preferred by autistic children. At the same time, a robot could offer a human-friendly conversational environment which is appropriate to emotion and social skills learning. This project is trying to design a set of robot body movements which is supposed to express different emotions and a robot-mediated instruction prototype to explore the potential of robots to teach emotional concepts to autistic children.

Grants: Purdue University
People: Huanhuan Wang, Pai-Ying Hsiao

Selected Publications:

  • Huanhuan Wang, Pai-Ying Hsiao, and Byung-Cheol Min, "Examine the Potential of Robots to Teach Autistic Children Emotional Concepts", The Eight International Conference on Social Robotics (ICSR), Kansas City, USA, Nov. 1-3, 2016. Download PDF
Learn Braille Device (2015 - 16)

Description: Braille is a language that was developed with the sole intention of providing a medium for users who are blind or have low-vision to understand text the same way humans read and write text. Due to the loss of at least one sensory input, this language systems relies on a user’s ability to touch and feel. However, historically, in order to learn braille, the user must rely on additional help to understand how to obtain information from braille. Especially in this era when there are less teaching professionals qualified to teach braille. Therefore, we present a novel approach that provides an alternative to helping users who are blind or low-blind disabilities to learn braille by use of affordable technologies.

Grants: Purdue University
People: Wei Kao, Robert Hinh

Adaptive Learning System in Language based Environment for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (2015 - 16)

Description: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is one of the most significant public health concerns in the United States and also worldwide. Children with ASD are often lack in verbal ability. Even though early interventions can improve it greatly, high cost and difficult access to special education services challenge families with a child with ASD. This research study proposes a technical methodology that can be easily deployed in a daily environment of children with ASD and teach language to them with low cost, based on embedded devices and semantic information which can be extended to a cyber-physical system in the future. This method will provide verbal descriptions of objects and also adapt the level of descriptions to the child's learning achievements. This project is collaborated with the M2M Lab at Purdue University.

Grants: Purdue University
People: Sangmi Shin

Selected Publications:

  • Sangmi Shin, Byung-Cheol Min, Julia Rayz, and Eric T. Matson, "Semantic Knowledge-based Language Education Device for Children with Developmental Disabilities", IEEE Robotic Computing (IRC) 2017, Taichung, Taiwan, April 10-12, 2017. Download PDF
Establishment of End-to-End Wireless Network with Mobile Robots (2013 - 16)

Description: In this research we tackle the fundamental problem of finding the optimal location and allocation of mobile robots in an application of the establishment of an immediate end-to-end communication. Often this is called the multi-robot deployment problem in networked robotics. To this end, we formulate an end-to-end communication problem, in a general optimization form, with constraints that consider the operation of robots and the types of antennas. Additionally, constraints on the propagation of radio signals and infeasible locations of robots within physical obstacles are also taken into consideration for a dense space. To solve the optimization problem we explore the use of evolutionary optimization techniques such as Genetic Algorithm (GA) and Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO).

Grants: Purdue University
People: Sangjun Lee

Selected Publications:

  • Byung-Cheol Min, Yongho Kim, Sangjun Lee, Jin-Woo Jung, and Eric T. Matson, “Finding the Optimal Location and Allocation of Relay Robots for Building a Rapid End-to-end Wireless Communication", Ad Hoc Networks, Vol. 39, Issue 15, pp. 23-44, March 2016. Download PDF