This study proposes tangible devices that assist non-expert users to design specific navigation routes for mobile robots. The user places the devices, called pebbles, on the floor along the paths to the places where the user wants the robot to move. With infrared communications, pebbles know their network topology by exchanging information about visible neighbors, and the robot then plans a navigation path and moves along the devices in the path. During the deployment, the system provides LED and voice feedback for the user to know if devices are appropriately connected without expert knowledge. In addition, because there is a device at each goal location, our method supports to name locations by associating a device ID with a particular name. Our user study showed that the system feedback largely worked to help non-expert users to design robot navigation. We also discuss observations and participants’ comments of the user study.
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