Researcher Sonia Chernova, who's currently doing a postdoc with Cynthia Breazeal at the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab, wrote in to let us know about a new online game to study human interactions.
In the game called Mars Escape each player can take on the role of an astronaut or a robot on Mars, who must work together to complete various missions before oxygen runs out. In the current first phase of the study the researchers study how human players work as a team. In a second phase later this year the researchers will use the data collected from human players to build a model of how they interacted for task assignment, action synchronization, and problem solving. The model will then be tested by creating an in-game AI.
The long-term goal of the project is to create robots that are able to assist and work with humans in a natural, predictable and robust way. To this end, the researchers will recreate the game environment in real life this summer at the Boston Museum of Science, and test their behavior model using their MDS robot Nexi.
Check out the game!