Vipo: Spatial-Visual Programming with Functions for Robot-IoT Workflows

by | Mar 1, 2020

Authors: Gaoping Huang, Pawan S. Rao, Meng-Han Wu, Xun Qian, Shimon Y. Nof, Karthik Ramani, and Alexander J. Quinn
In Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

Mobile robots and IoT (Internet of Things) devices can increase productivity, but only if they can be programmed by workers who understand the domain. This is especially true in manufacturing. Visual programming in the spatial context of the operating environment can enable mental models at a familiar level of abstraction. However, spatial-visual programming is still in its infancy; existing systems lack IoT integration and fundamental constructs, such as functions, that are essential for code reuse, encapsulation, or recursive algorithms. We present Vipo, a spatial-visual programming system for robot-IoT workflows. Vipo was designed with input from managers at six factories using mobile robots. Our user study (n=22) evaluated efficiency, correctness, comprehensibility of spatial-visual programming with functions.

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