Autonomous physical performing agents with external direction

Date of Completion

January 2004


Engineering, Mechanical|Computer Science




We have combined autonomous robotics and puppetry (puppotics ) to build a multi-robot team that performs a lazzo from the Commedia dell'Arte. The robots present a live performance of a dramatic script while a human director monitors the performance and makes changes in real time. ^ We present a classification of the types of communication that take place in a performance and discuss how these types of communication can be implemented for robot performers. We represent dramatic scripts as hierarchical plans using a standard planning representation. We have extended the representation to include hierarchical steps in the plan itself rather than the domain representation. ^ We describe the hardware and software developed to allow for the communications between the human director and the robots. We also discuss the physical implementation of the robots, including the propulsion system, controller and pup pet body. The software running on the robots to execute the plans is presented as well as the software running on the director's console displaying the plans with a graphical user interface and communicating plan changes to the robots. ^