Modular robots have a significant potential as user-reconfigurable robotic playware, but often lack sufficient sensing for social interaction. We address this issue with the Fable modular robotic system by exploring the use of smart sensor modules that has a better ability to sense the behavior of the user. In this paper we describe the development of a smart sensor module which includes a 3D depth camera, and a server-side software architecture featuring user tracking, posture detection and a near-real-time facial recognition. Further, we describe how the Fable system with the smart sensor module has been tested in educational and playful contexts and present experiments to document its functional performance.
Proceedings of 18th International Symposium on Artificial Life and Robotics, 2013