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One of the main challenges faced by social robots is how to provide intuitive, natural and enjoyable usability for the end-user. In our ordinary environment, social robots could be important tools for education and entertainment (edutainment) in a variety of ways. This paper presents a Natural Programming System (NPS) that is geared to non-expert users. The main goal of such a system is to provide an enjoyable interactive platform for the users to build different programs within their social robot platform. The end-user can build a complex net of actions and conditions (a sequence) in a social robot via mixed-initiative dialogs and multimodal interaction. The system has been implemented and tested in Maggie, a real social robot with multiple skills, conceived as a general HRI researching platform. The robot's internal features (skills) have been implemented to be verbally accessible to the end-user, who can combine them into others that are more complex following a bottom-up model. The built sequence is internally implemented as a Sequence Function Chart (SFC), which allows parallel execution, modularity and re-use. A multimodal Dialog Manager System (DMS) takes charge of keeping the coherence of the interaction. This work is thought for bringing social robots closer to non-expert users, who can play the game of "teaching how to do things" with the robot.
sequence function charts; petri nets; instruction-based learning; natural programming; human–robot dialogs; dialog manager system; semantic grammars; social robotics