Towards Mixed Societies of Chickens and Robots
To design, to study, and to control mixed animals-robots societies is a challenging field of scientific exploration that can bring new frameworks to study individual and collective behaviors in animal and mixed robot-animal societies. In the Chicken Robot project we aim at developing a mobile robot, able to collaborate with a group of chicks and to control certain group behaviors. The first research step is to build formal models of relevant animal behaviors by performing ethological experiments. Hence, one of the principal tasks is to design a setup equipped with appropriate monitoring tools. In this paper, we present a toolset for running chick-robot experiments and analyzing results. It includes an autonomous PoulBot robot and an experimental setup, able to autonomously record experimental video and audio data, to detect displacements of chicks and robots, to detect their calling activity and to provide robots with these data. We also present a visual data analysis system to extract behavioral features of individual chicks using the variational Bayesian Gaussian mixture model classification with a particle filters based prediction of future positions of chicks. We show how these tools are currently used to carry out chick-robot experiments, to collect behavioral data and to extract animal behavioral features that allow us to build behavioral models bound to be implemented in the robot.