Group7: Field experiments in the real world

Latest Activity

Development of a field experiment platform for CAs and support activities of a corporate consortium for Avatar-Symbiotic Society (Takahiro MIYASHITA)

We are developing and maintaining a field experiment platform to facilitate conducting various kinds of field experiments with cybernetic avatars (CAs). In collaboration with multiple companies which are interested in CA services, we are working on social demonstration experiments for the practical application of CA. So far, we have built a simple field experiment platform that can provide reception and guidance services using CAs. Utilizing this platform, we are conducting a long-term social demonstration experiment of reception and guidance services with a location-fixed-CA at the entrance of shared space at ATR. We also established the Corporate Consortium for Avatar Symbiotic Society (C-CAS2) in August 2021. As of the end of March 2022, 68 corporations have registered as members. In the consortium, we introduced the results of this project, set up four subcommittees for each business category, and began examining new businesses using CAs. We will continuously develop the field experiment platform by gradually incorporating the results of the R&D groups of the project, conduct various kinds of filed experiments with the platform, and feedback the results of the experiments to the R&D groups.

Demonstration experiment for individuals with developmental disorders and depressive disorders (Hirokazu KUMAZAKI)

We suggests, avatar may offer many unique opportunities for helping individuals with psychiatric disorders, especially autism spectrum disorders (ASD). We revealed individuals with ASD often achieve a higher degree of task engagement through the interaction with avatar robots than through interactions with human trainees. The type and form of avatars to be used for individuals with ASD have been meticulously considered. Simple avatars are acceptable because of their simplicity and the ease of interesting and engaging interactions. Android avatars have the benefit of the potential of generalization into daily life to some extent. We thought considering the affinity between avatars and users is important to draw out the potential capabilities of robotic intervention to the fullest extent. In the avatar condition, factors such as the appearance, biological motion, clothes, hairstyle, and disposition are important. Many factors of a user such as age, sex, and intelligence quotient may also affect the affinity of individuals with ASD toward a robot. The potential end-users of this technology are unaware or unconvinced of the potential roles of robots in autism spectrum disorder interventions. If trainers have extensive experience in using avatars, they can identify many potential roles of avatars based on their experience. To date, only a few studies have been conducted in the field of avatars for providing assistance to individuals with ASD, and we are going to realize an optimal avatar for this purpose.

Lab website:
Field testing for older adults and consortium management (Shuichi NISHIO)

In this project, we will conduct experimental research to realize Cybernetic Agents (CA) that enables and promotes older adults to further participate in society. Through the demonstration experiment in real environments, we aim to develop CAs suitable for older adults and to clarify barriers to their usage. By now, we have developed a prototype CA/teleoperation system that can be easily installed and used by older adults. With this prototype system, we have launched the "Senboku Avatar Project" in collaboration with Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture, and have conducted various demonstration experiments, including surveys on the awareness of older adults, guidance at ward offices, and classroom support at elementary schools. In the future, we plan to establish a permanent teleoperation center for older adults and further expand social trials, aiming for daily remote control of CAs by the older adults and their participation in society through CAs. In addition, we will develop structuring of teleoperation tasks, aiming to realize a system that allows even unfamiliar tasks to be performed easily and without anxiety.

Research and development of 5G communication systems (Masayuki MURATA)

We are working on research and development of 5G communication technology that improves the quality and the stability of CA's communication to realize comfortable remote control of CA. For this purpose, we are developing communication technology, such as service slicing, edge computing, and resource allocation method for 5G, which adaptively allocates the resource for communication against changes of radio environments surrounding CA or operating users. We are now started to operate a licensed local-5G communication system for experiments of CA's communications. In addition, we have developed our own 5G base station based on open-source software, and have demonstrated a high-speed uplink communication, which is essential for CA remote control, and have demonstrated an adaptive resource allocation based on the prediction of CA’s future position. Currently, we are working on methods for the predictions of radio environments, poses/tasks of CA for more sophisticated resource allocation method in 5G systems. For this purpose, we will extend 5G core system to retrieve and utilize the information from CA infrastructure.