Humans will direct groups of autonomous robot swarms in the near future. Human-swarm interaction (HSI) is an emerging field encompassing research in biology, robotics, computer science, and psychology. A subfield of human-robot interaction, HSI involves understanding how humans interact with a swarm and the assessment of human responses during that interaction. It is important to consider the human’s performance when working with the swarm, in order to inform interface design, task assignment strategy, and team performance predictions. Swarms contain large numbers of individual entities (e.g, robots, agents). The swarm is composed of individual agents with limited capacity for accomplishing goals as individuals, but, as a whole, the swarm can perform complex tasks.

The research goal of our human-swarm interaction research is to develop interfaces for interacting with and monitoring large groups (> 50) of agents. The agents may be fully autonomous robots, but optimizing the design of a system of representing the swarm, handling updates from the swarm, and parsing human actions is not a simple task. Working with swarms also presents unique challenges that are not present when working with multiple-robot teams. Swarms produce macro- and micro-level behavioral differences, have greater uncertainty, potentially visualization overload, and contain a large number entities. These challenges must be handled when designing systems for human-swarm interaction.

Current Projects

Biologically-Inspired HSI Metrics
Swarm Visualization and Interaction
Emulating Swarm Communications
Human Perception of Swarms