[ 2] Nielsen, J. and R.L.
Mack eds., Heuristic
New York: John Wiley &
Sons, 1994. Available at
[ 3] Shneiderman, B.
Designing the User
for Effective Human-Computer Interaction,
Wesley, 1997. Available
[ 4] Scholtz, J.
Proceedings of the
Metrics for Intelligent
MD, 2002. Available at
March + April 2008
[ 5] Jenson, Scott,
The Simplicity Shift,
of the robot, and the robot will
drive forward toward the dot.
We organized the large list of
“stories” into several areas, and
we found four key areas where
there are many challenges in
HRI—these are the areas that we
will focus on improving for next-generation HRI.
Especially during teleoperation,
users need to know the internal
states of the robot, the robot’s
position in the environment, and
the environment. For example,
good cameras help users understand the robot’s position and
Robot Control and Movement.
Robots are capable of complex
movements, and it is important
to be able to clearly and effectively command the robot to
do what you want it to do. For
example, controls to drive the
robot and move its arm need to
be flexible enough to complete
the task, while remaining accessible for human operators.
robots follow a client/server
model in which the controller
interface is a client that can
operate independently of the
robot. This area has many of its
own challenges, like ergonomics,
because the operator is working
separately from the robot itself.
Communications between the controller
and the robot create limits on
the robot’s behavior, such as how
far away you can send the robot.
Using these stories as a basis
for our future work, we’ve
looked at HCI and HRI theories
and defined a list of key HCI/
HRI principles to focus on. This
list of “heuristics” was developed from three core sources:
Jakob Nielsen’s classic list of
usability heuristics [ 2], Ben
Schneiderman’s core principles
[ 3], and Jean Scholtz’s methods
for evaluation of intelligent systems [ 4]. Certainly, this is an
untested, initial list—there is
room for research in this area.
Many of these principles are
not unique to HRI, but their
relative value of weighting is
slightly different from other HCI
communities. During our evaluations, we found the most space
for improvement in the areas
of “required information should
be present and clear,” “prevent
errors if possible, if not, help
users diagnose and recover,” and
“use metaphors and language
the users already know.” That’s
why these three are on the top
of the list.
Sholtz’s work on intelligent
systems adds a new spin to some
of these universal HCI principles
in the context of HRI.
“Design should be aesthetic and
minimalist” has been the most
important interaction design
principle used in iRobot’s projects intended for use in homes,
like the Roomba. Since Roomba
is a consumer product, a simple
user interface keeps the cost of
the robot down while keeping its
operation simple. As the product
matures, the Roomba team is
taking on a broader ethnographic approach, including more in-home studies.
Sholtz also suggests that HRI
developers “make the architecture
scalable” and “support evolution of
platforms,” because robotics is
still an immature medium and
the robots are often required to
do much more than they were
designed for. In short, if you
don’t make it easy for the system
to grow, it will be outdated very