The United States Department of Defense (DOD) is making significant investment in military robots, including unmanned air vehicles for surveillance and search and rescue, unmanned ground vehicles for logistics, and surface robots for reconnaissance. 3D visualization of robots for military operations includes supervising multiple robots operating concurrently to accomplish a military objective. In such multi-robot operations, it is essential to shift the user's focus when another robot outside the current field of view requires attention. Thus the proposed technology for notification should be directly applicable to remote supervision of military robots. Since the military is actively funding research on human attention shifting during complex operations and visual de-cluttering of geospatial displays, the proposed approach should be both interesting to a variety of DOD customers and compatible with military robotic operations.
The notification software produced in Phase II will be immediately useful for NASA's future analog robotic field tests where VERVE provides 3D robot visualization. NASA's Robonaut 2 mission to ISS in FY11 is another near-term mission that could benefit from the proposed notification technology by alerting the human operator to important events that occur while he or she is interacting with the robot. The modularization of notice construction from notice presentation should ease integration of the notification software with other 3D visualization software that NASA might use in the future. Longer term, the techniques for determining when to shift the user's attention from the visualization and how to notify without increasing visual clutter should be useful when specifying flight support software for future exploration missions, including robotic precursors for human exploration, ranging from missions to Near Earth Asteroids (NEA) to Mars.