After they had successfully operated the robots, we ran a practical session on 10 and 11 July on "Controlling Robots with Tweets". We presented a quick introduction to natural language processing (using computer programs to analyse human languages, such as English) and provided them with a bundle of software containing a version of the GATE Cloud Twitter Collector modified to run a special GATE application with a custom plugin to use the Java robot library to control the robots.
The bundle came with a simple "gazetteer" containing two lists of keywords:
The sample rule we provided would match any keyword from the "turn" list followed by any keyword from the "left" list (with optional other words in between, so that "turn to port", "take a left", "turn left" all work the same way) and then run the code to turn the robot's right motor (making it turn left in place).
We first ran this project in the Headstart course in July 2017; we made improvements for this year and it was a success again, so we plan to include it in Headstart 2019 too.
This work is supported by the European Union's Horizon 2020 project SoBigData (grant agreement no. 654024). Thanks to Genevieve Gorrell for the diagram illustrating how the system works.