Peter Coppin | Main menu | Projects | Rover interfaces | Science operations interface for semi-intelligent desert rover

NASA's Life in the Atacama project needed an interface to enable non-roboticists to direct the activities of an autonomous rover.

After watching scientists collaborate and create hypothesis using paper maps, we created a human-robot interface based on a push-pin metaphore. Through the computer, scientists would place a "pin" into a location on a computer based 3D map. Users could then assign rover actions to each pin. Actions included rover tasks such as "take panoramic image," "take microscopic image," etc.

By specifying locations with pins, and assigning actions to the pins/locations, the scientists were able to designate proposed search areas and actions to the rover.

Scientists would later review data returned by the rover through the Atacama Science Website.


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Pin Interface

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A "Science Activity Station": Uplink interface is on the left, web based downlink interface is on the right
Virtual pins indicate proposed rover destinations
The Zoë rover


Project director: Peter Coppin
Lead sofware engineer: Luisa Lu
Graphical user interface modifications: Eben Meyers
Student programmers: Melissa Ludowise and Kevin McCloskey
Rover liaison: Michael Wagner
Rover connetivity packages: Trey Smith and Dominic Jonack