About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2652-2659
Publication year: 2016
ISBN: 978-84-617-5895-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2016.1570

Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain

OBSERVE BEES & FISH COMMUNICATING BY ROBOTS THROUGH VIRTUAL REALITY! SCRIPT TO ANIMATE

A.P. Cláudio1, J. Soeiro1, C. Meireles1, L. Betto2

1BioISi- FCUL (PORTUGAL)
2FCUL (PORTUGAL)
The project ASSISIbf [1]– “Animal Societies Self-organize and Integrate by Social Interaction (bees and fish)” - is a European Project with the main purpose of establishing “a robotic society able to develop communication channels to animal societies (honeybees & fish swarms) on its own”. The results of this project may have relevant impact on agriculture, livestock management and environmental protection. This project involves an interdisciplinary team composed of specialists in biology, robotics and informatics from six different countries: Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Portugal and Switzerland.
This paper describes an activity, involving undergraduate and graduate students of Informatics Engineering, focused on scientific dissemination of this European project. The students worked on two distinct approaches: i) a video game, called BeeFish, which is already available on the Google Play Store [2] and in the Apple App Store [3] with several levels of difficulty, and ii) animations that can be visualised resorting to an immersive low cost Virtual Reality equipment, comprising a smartphone (with two images on the screen, one for each eye) held, for instance by a Google cardboard [4] or a Durovis Dive support [5].
Concerning the animations, these will be based on the behavioural experiments: the researchers in the project perform experiments with programmed robots, real bees and real fish. Based on the observation of the behaviour of the animals during robot influence, the researchers get insights on how to reproduce those behaviours through computer simulations, applying Artificial Intelligence algorithms. The results of these simulations produce data which is usually visualised in traditional graphics, such as bar charts, or alternatively in simple 2D animations showing the movements of the animals.
Creating frame by frame animations to recreate these simulations with 3D models of robots and animals would be impractical. Therefore, we developed a two-step approach: a group of students used Blender [6] to produce models of bees, fish, and robots; a distinct group developed Python scripts which Blender executes to automatically create the 3D scenarios and to generate the animations based on the data files produced by the simulation programs. This connection between Python and Blender is possible because every action in Blender has a corresponding command in Python that we can include on the script, together with all the regular Python language commands. We also explored different camera perspectives and the manipulation of those perspectives using scripts: to make the camera follow the movement of an animal or to simulate that the scene is visualized from the point of view of a bee or a fish, for example.
We developed an expeditious solution to produce virtual 3D animations that recreate the computer simulations that are being implemented to mimic the behaviour of the real animals tested in the ASSISIbf project. The possibility of visualizing these animations in an immersive low cost VR equipment is an addition most appreciated presently. We also implemented a videogame inspired by the experiments where the animals move autonomously and the player only controls the robots in order to guide the animals.
The informal feedback provided by the students involved in this process was very positive. Some of them referred that it was stimulating working in their curricular activities towards a well-defined research goal instead of having the mere objective of making a project to have a final grade. The animations together with the videogame are ludic ways of raising attention for a research project whose conclusions will have potential applications in a near future.

[1] assisi-project.eu
[2] https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ASSISI.BeeFish
[3] https://itunes.apple.com/pt/app/beefish/id1079852831?l=en&mt=8
[4] https://vr.google.com/cardboard/
[5] https://www.durovis.com/index.html
[6] https://www.blender.com
@InProceedings{CLAUDIO2016OBS,
author = {Cl{\'{a}}udio, A.P. and Soeiro, J. and Meireles, C. and Betto, L.},
title = {OBSERVE BEES & FISH COMMUNICATING BY ROBOTS THROUGH VIRTUAL REALITY! SCRIPT TO ANIMATE},
series = {9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2016 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-5895-1},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2016.1570},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2016.1570},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {14-16 November, 2016},
year = {2016},
pages = {2652-2659}}
TY - CONF
AU - A.P. Cláudio AU - J. Soeiro AU - C. Meireles AU - L. Betto
TI - OBSERVE BEES & FISH COMMUNICATING BY ROBOTS THROUGH VIRTUAL REALITY! SCRIPT TO ANIMATE
SN - 978-84-617-5895-1/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2016.1570
PY - 2016
Y1 - 14-16 November, 2016
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2016 Proceedings
SP - 2652
EP - 2659
ER -
A.P. Cláudio, J. Soeiro, C. Meireles, L. Betto (2016) OBSERVE BEES & FISH COMMUNICATING BY ROBOTS THROUGH VIRTUAL REALITY! SCRIPT TO ANIMATE, ICERI2016 Proceedings, pp. 2652-2659.
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