Monday, March 22, 2010

Finally A Robot To Do My Chores

Many robots have done chores for us, but AR (Assistant Robot) is like no other. For now, it is assigned to doing simple jobs such as dragging a mop around and picking up clothes. Just to do that, it takes a good amount of DOF to bend down all the way to the floor. AR has 32 DOF, pretty good if I may say. Additionally, the Assistant Robot is 155cm tall and weighs 130kg. Another thing that is impressive about the robot is its cameras and sensors. It has a total of five cameras on its head, two wide-angle stereo cameras, two telescopic cameras, and one omnidirectional camera. Its sensors include a laser range finder and ultrasound that are located at the base; used as detectors of objects such as furniture, people, movable objects, ect. Even further, AR has a SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping.) In other words, it uses its sensors to map a 3-D area around it, where it will remember the location of specific items. For example, if you taught it where the broom was, you could command it to pick up the broom and start sweeping.

Now, the biggest problem facing all of home-robot manufacturers is the disconnection between the home appliances and the robots themselves. If AR was doing the laundry, it would get it done, as seen in the video below, but much time would have passed by. If appliance manufacturers set up a partnership with home-robot manufacturers, they could incorporate a plug-in device where the robot would tell the machine to turn on, open door, put to heavy wash, ect. At the moment, Tokyo University IRT is controlling this project, but they are funded by many companies such as Toyota, Olympus, SEGA, Toppan, Fujitsu, Panasonic and Mitsubishi. Many of those companies go beyond the call of duty and create the components used in building these robots. Watch AR trot it’s stuff here.

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