My dissertation investigated means to program behaviors on humanoid robots. Programming humanoid robots to execute arbitrary tasks is difficult for numerous reasons, including high kinematic redundancy, complex dynamics, and the problems involved with balancing and locomotion. Additionally, once behaviors have been developed, "porting" a program to a robot with even slightly different kinematics or dynamics is generally quite difficult. Consequently, behaviors are typically written anew, thus ignoring one of the key tenets of software development, component reuse.
The Task Matrix (from the definition for matrix as a surrounding medium or structure) framework promotes portability of humanoid behaviors by providing a consistent interface to access robot hardware; in collaboration with Honda Research Institute, USA, I have developed robot-independent behaviors such as pointing, reaching, and fixating.
My dissertation examined how the Task Matrix can be used to perform occupational tasks (i.e., tasks performed in the workplace). I implemented a large subset of the MTM-1 work measurement system's task primitives; MTM-1 is a proven system for decomposing occupational tasks into primitives. Thus, a full implementation of MTM-1 provides some measure of completeness over the space of occupational tasks. The combination of the robot-independence provided by the Task Matrix framework and the approximate completeness offered by the MTM-1 inspired behaviors results in a constantly improving set of behaviors for performing useful tasks.
Videos from research into the Task Matrix
- Victor Ng-Thow-Hing, Evan Drumwright, Kris Hauser, Qinjuan Wu, and Joel Wormer. "Expanding Task Functionality in Established Humanoid Robots". Proc. of the IEEE-RAS Intl. Conf. on Humanoid Robotics, 2007.
- Evan Drumwright. "The Task Matrix: A Robot-Independent Framework for Programming Humanoids". Ph. D. thesis, The University of Southern California, 2007.
- Evan Drumwright, Victor Ng-Thow-Hing, and Maja Mataric'. The Task Matrix Framework for Platform-Independent Humanoid Programming. Proc. of IEEE-RAS Intl. Conf. on Humanoid Robotics. Genova, Italy. December, 2006.
- Evan Drumwright, Victor Ng-Thow-Hing, and Maja Mataric'. Toward a Vocabulary of Primitive Task Programs for Humanoid Robots. Proc. of the IEEE Intl. Conf. on Development and Learning (ICDL). Bloomington, IN. May-June, 2006.
- Evan Drumwright and Victor Ng-Thow-Hing. The Task Matrix: An Extensible Framework for Creating Versatile Humanoid Robots. Proc. of the IEEE Intl. Conf. on Robotics and Automation (ICRA). Orlando, FL. 2006.