Characterizing Input Methods for Human-to-robot Demonstrations

Pragathi Praveena, Guru Subramani, Bilge Mutlu, Michael Gleicher

Human demonstrations are important in a range of robotics applications, and are created with a variety of input methods. However, the design space for these input methods has not been extensively studied. In this paper, focusing on demonstrations of hand-scale object manipulation tasks to robot arms with two-finger grippers, we identify distinct usage paradigms in robotics that utilize human-to-robot demonstrations, extract abstract features that form a design space for input methods, and characterize existing input methods as well as a novel input method that we introduce, the instrumented tongs. We detail the design specifications for our method and present a user study that compares it against three common input methods: free-hand manipulation, kinesthetic guidance, and teleoperation. Study results show that instrumented tongs provide high quality demonstrations and a positive experience for the demonstrator while offering good correspondence to the target robot.

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