One of the challenges of outdoor robots is developing effective portable Human-Robot-Interaction (HRI) frameworks. Hand-held devices offer a practical solution. By equipping these devices with robot software, they can be made to interact with the outdoor robots. Android devices are ideal as they are open source and can be integrated with robots powered by the Robot Operating System (ROS), also open source. However, due to the limits of rosjava, the mechanism that links ROS with android, and the conflicting modes of operation between ROS and android, current implementations of ROS-android offer limited robot applications that do not support advanced operations such as autonomous navigation and others. This paper implements selective compartmentalization to overcome these limitations, by combining ROS with android through a number of ROS and android bridges that would facilitate the development of advanced robot applications. Through the proposed method, authors were able to develop a portable HRI framework that allowed human operators to supervise an outdoor mobile robot while it performed an autonomous task. From their mobile devices, users were able to initialize the robot, configure its motion, and monitor its progress. Also, users were able to reprogram the robot to perform new tasks (not previously planned) through a creative use of features offered in the developed HRI framework. Also, user cognitive effort was reported to be low as evident by the positive score on the NASA-TLX scale test which was corroborated with robot performance data. This paper presents the detailed development and implementation steps.
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