The REINS Project
The REINS project, funded by an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council grant at Centre for Automation and Robotics Research, started in 2011.
It develops a semi-autonomous mobile robot with sensory capabilities that can be shared with humans. It focuses on haptic and tactile human robot cooperation.
The main aim is to design and investigate haptic communication interfaces (reins) between a human agent and a mobile robot guide. Inspired by the use of a harness for a guide dog and also the rein to ride or drive a horse, the REINS project will investigate and experiment with haptic interfaces for human-robot cooperation.
The low/no visibility constraint ensures the focus is on the tactile and haptic aspects only. Currently, robots do not sufficiently enhance human confidence. In human-robot cooperation, the human (by nature) will try to 'read' the situation, and anticipate the movements of the robot companion. The robot is provided with an impedance filter and the rein enables the human to feel the robot's movements and behaviour.