This study shows that appropriate human interaction can benefit a swarm of robots to achieve goals more efficiently. A set of desirable features for human swarm interaction is identified based on the principles of swarm robotics. Human swarm interaction architecture is then proposed that has all of the desirable features. A swarm simulation environment is created that allows simulating a swarm behavior in an indoor environment. The swarm behavior and the results of user interaction are studied by considering radiation source search and localization application of the swarm. Particle swarm optimization algorithm is slightly modified to enable the swarm to autonomously explore the indoor environment for radiation source search and localization. The emergence of intelligence is observed that enables the swarm to locate the radiation source completely on its own. Proposed human swarm interaction is then integrated in a simulation environment and user evaluation experiments are conducted. Participants are introduced to the interaction tool and asked to deploy the swarm to complete the missions. The performance comparison of the user guided swarm to that of the autonomous swarm shows that the interaction interface is fairly easy to learn and that user guided swarm is more efficient in achieving the goals. The results clearly indicate that the proposed interaction helped the swarm achieve emergence.

Meeting Name

2008 IEEE Swarm Intelligence Symposium (2008, St. Louis, MO)


Electrical and Computer Engineering


National Science Foundation (U.S.)

Keywords and Phrases

Human-Robot Interaction; Mobile Robots; Particle Swarm Optimisation; Radiation

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2008 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Sep 2008