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Semantic Web for Robots: An Application for Interoperability between virtual worlds and real robots

March 5th, 2012
Robot used in the case study

Robot used in the case study

PhD project done by Alex Juarez.

The topic of this PhD project is in the context of cross-reality, a term that defines mixed reality environments that tunnel dense real-world data acquired through the use of sensor/actuator device networks into virtual worlds. It is part of the ongoing academia and industry efforts to achieve interoperability between virtual and real devices and services.

The research hypothesis can be formulated in short as follows:

Interoperability between virtual worlds and real robots can be achieved by applying state of the art (semantic) web technologies in a proper way. These technologies should handle the heterogeneity and high reconfigurability of robotic systems, while at the same time create information and knowledge about their capabilities, in such a way that this knowledge can be understood and used not only by current virtual world software but also by other web agents. Virtual worlds (and the virtual world’s user experience) can be enriched by augmenting it with the abilities of real robots in remote locations.

The focus of this thesis is on three aspects: a) it focuses on the mechanisms necessary to make information about robots available to virtual worlds, b) it focuses on the creation, maintenance and use of knowledge about robot capabilities to enhance the virtual world functionality, and c) it focuses on the virtual world’s user experience with such system in a remote communication scenario.

To this effect, two systems have been developed: RoboDB a collaborative, communityoriented web system based on Semantic Web technologies that gathers information about robots and their capabilities in a structured way, and PAC4 a web service discovery system that utilizes the knowledge created by RoboDB to connect virtual worlds to real robots. Finally a study was conducted on the virtual world user’s perception of presence when using PAC4 to interact with the real robot in a remote communication scenario.

A. Juarez, Semantic Web for Robots: An Application for Interoperability between virtual worlds and real robots, PhD Thesis, Department of Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, 2012.
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