We describe a new method for controlling a group of robots in
three-dimensional (3D) space using a tangible user interface called the 3D
Tractus. Our interface maps the task space into an interactive 3D space,
allowing a single user to intuitively monitor and control a group of robots.
We present the use of the interface in controlling a group of virtual
software bots and a physical Sony AIBO robot dog in an urban search and
rescue environment involving a bomb hidden inside of a building. We also
describe a comparative user study we performed where participants were asked
to use both the 3D physical interface and a traditional 2D graphical user
interface in order to try and demonstrate the benefits and drawbacks of each
approach for HRI tasks.
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