HREyes: A Bio-Inspired LED Communication Device

AUVs commonly use digital displays to communicate with divers. However, digital displays are hard to read at a distance or at an angle.

In order to allow communication at further distances, we have previously proposed Robot Communication Via Motion, and now we present a light-based communication method called HREye.

The HREye system operating on board LoCO
The evolution of light-based communication for AUVs.

Our HREye system was developed to take advantage of the long distances at which light can travel in adequate visibility underwater. We also wanted to take advantage of a wide array of colors and of the shape in which these lights are arranged. A sequence of light animations on the HREyes is called a luceme.

The active lucemes of HREye

Active lucemes communicate a single piece of information, and perform only slightly less accurately than a digital display (OLED). Even people who haven't been trained on the meaning of lucemes can identify them with relative accuracy.

Comparison between HREye, Untrained HReye, and OLED conditions.
Comparison between HREye accuracy and operational accuracy for communicaiton phrases.

However, HREyes are capable of more than just active lucemes. In ocular mode, an HREye can mimic the blinking and gaze directions of a human eye

The ocular lucemes of the HREye device

The chart below shows that people can identify the gaze direction of ocular lucemes, with a small amount of error (average 21◦).

Results of gaze indication using HREye.