Providing the basis for human-robot-interaction: a multi-modal attention system for a mobile robot
In order to enable the widespread use of robots in home and office environments, systems with natural interaction capabilities have to be developed. A prerequisite for natural interaction is the robot's ability to automatically recognize when and how long a person's attention is directed towards it for communication. As in open environments several persons can be present simultaneously, the detection of the communication partner is of particular importance. In this paper we present an attention system for a mobile robot which enables the robot to shift its attention to the person of interest and to maintain attention during interaction. Our approach is based on a method for multi-modal person tracking which uses a pan-tilt camera for face recognition, two microphones for sound source localization, and a laser range finder for leg detection. Shifting of attention is realized by turning the camera into the direction of the person which is currently speaking. From the orientation of the head it is decided whether the speaker addresses the robot. The performance of the proposed approach is demonstrated with an evaluation. In addition, qualitative results from the performance of the robot at the exhibition part of the ICVS'03 are provided.