Vecna Presents at 7th International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI)

CAMBRIDGE, MA – On March 6th, a team of Vecna engineers presented at the evening poster session of the International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction in Boston, MA. The Vecna team’s poster described how Vecna, through a partnership with the U. S. military, has developed a handheld operator control unit (OCU) that is more versatile, portable, and user-friendly than the unwieldy units traditionally used to control military robots.

Vecna’s OCU design capitalizes on mobile technology to facilitate a number of desired capabilities and applications, interacting with the robot server via wireless protocol to direct the robot’s movements and maneuvering. The versatility of the OCU even allows for alternative and more intuitive methods of human-robot interaction, rendering that collaboration more effective. The robot can navigate more autonomously and simply, which reduces the user’s workload and increases his or her situational awareness such that he or she can control more than one robot.

In addition to this poster presentation, Vecna also showcased the QC BotTM hospital logistics robot. According to Dan Grollman, one of four engineers representing Vecna at HRI, “There was much interest in the QC Bot as both a product and a potential research platform, and in Vecna as a possible collaborator.” This enthusiastic response to QC Bot as well as the OCU poster presentation made the conference a successful and valuable experience for the Vecna team. Grollman stated, “We had the opportunity to hear firsthand about the cutting-edge research in HRI, which may impact our own product development and research. In addition, we exposed the greater HRI community to what we’re doing here [at Vecna].”