Robomotive Labratories introduces immersive reality robot

Cincinnati-based Entrepreneur launches Kickstarter campaign to bring ‘mimic’ innovation to more people

Cincinnati, OH (Oct.1, 2016) – Robomotive Laboratories is changing the way the world sees robotics with the introduction of their transformative new robot, mimic. Today, the Cincinnati-based small family business launched a new Kickstarter campaign (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/713401305/mimic-immersion-robot) to help advance the development and production of the new technology.

Mimic represents a technological breakthrough in the way people interact with a robot. Through a series of interfaces and controls, the user is transported and able to see what mimic sees, do what mimic does, feel what mimic feels, and go where mimic goes.

“After a successfully-funded Doorbell Phone campaign on Kickstarter, I began to indulge in my love of robotics and introduced the Cortex:Robot Arm controller,” said Brett Pipitone, founder of Robomotive Laboratories. “We continued to develop the technology by adding joints, cameras and motion and soon realized that we had developed something truly unique: The mimic robot was born.”

The key to bringing mimic to life is the mimic arm controller with patent-pending Posi-Feel grip controllers. The user wears a device that allows the seamless control of mimic’s arms and grippers by moving his or her own hands and arms in natural ways while holding two simple handles with trigger style grip controllers. A series of joints, pivots and sensors are built onto the mimic Arm Controller to make this possible.

Mimic can also move around on its own power, controlled by the user with an IRS based foot controller. The user places both feet on the controller and tilts the device forward, back, left, or right to command mimic’s movements in natural, hands free ways.

To complete the user’s sense of immersion, immersion goggles receive 3D video from a pair of cameras in mimic’s eyes. Not only does the user see what mimic sees in vibrant 3D, but using a series of sensors and motors the user’s head motion is duplicated by mimic’s head, allowing the user to change view by simply moving his or her head.

This assemblage of new technologies allows the user to see the world from a fresh, new point of view- that of a 12 inch tall, wide-eyed, rotund little robot. In the words of Robomotive Laboratories founder Brett Pipitone „mimic represents a technological breakthrough in think about human interfaces by adapting the robot to the user, rather than the other way around.“

Robomotive Laboratories realized early that a single version of the mimic robot would not fit all users needs, so backers have a choice of four versions of the robot, each design with a different use in mind.

  • The mimic:maker version comes in kit form for the user to assemble. The kit includes a robot with two arms and grippers, as well as a mimic arm controller. The kit does not include a body, however, so the user can tailor the robot to their needs or to make something new. For even more flexibility, all the electronic inputs and outputs are exposed to be manipulated or utilized by the user, including record and playback through an on board SD card. „The future is being invented in basements, garages, and maker spaces all over the world. That’s where mimic was born, and mimic:maker is a chance for other tinkerers to use and improve it,“ says Pipitone.
  • The mimic:play comes as a fully assembled robot, including the 12- degrees-of-freedom arm controller. While mimic:play doesn’t have as many features as some offerings, it’s just as adorable and its simplicity makes it more accessible for some users. Fun features like the mimic arm controller, Posi-Feeel grippers, and on-board SD card are included. As Pipitone suggests, “mimic:play is simpler than the other versions, but still offers intuitive control and a sense of feel. It’s great for younger users or for interactive settings.”
  • The mimic:social has all the features of mimic:play, but also adds the IRS based foot controller, 2D camera, and a video receiver to be attached to the user’s television. „People love the concept of interacting from a distance,“ says Pipitone. „It’s great fun to put mimic:social in a room and watch it’s interactions on TV with your friends.“
  • The mimic 3D is the most advanced and full featured version offered and includes the mimic arm controller with Posi-Feel grippers, the foot controller, and SD card, in addition to the immersion googles and 3D cameras. With this full suite of features the user can completely loose themselves in mimic’s world. „This robot really transports you to an immersive reality. Everyday things seem huge, and you can interact from an entirely new point of view,“ describes Pipitone. „I can interact with my baby daughter on her level as an equal, while it’s simple enough that my 6 year old son can pick it up and use it. It’s an indescribable experience.“

The implications of the mimic immersive reality robot are great, and users can be a part of it now by backing mimic on Kickstarter. According to Pipitone, „We’ve delivered the personal robot of the future. We’re still working on flying cars and jet packs.“

For more information, please visit: http://www.robomotivelabs.com/.

blinkgogo – Wireless program Arduino & Fun Robotic Learning Platform

I just received this information from the blinkgogo team:

Wireless program Arduino & Fun Robotic Learning Platform. Designed for STEM education, Open Source! APP controlled, based on  Arduino, supports Scratch. Let kids Play and Learn!

Blinkgogo is a open source fun STEM robotic learning platform based on Arduino. Blinkgogo supports wireless Bluetooth upload, APP controlled, Scratch.

This robot kit has everything you need to get started. You can demonstrate many standard robot functions right out of the box. It’s simple, easy to use and fun.

With Blinkgogo, you can build many standard robots for example Line Following robot, Light Seeking robot, Edge Detection robot, APP control robot.

It comes with 3D printed shell and compatible with LEGO blocks.

Blinkgogo also comes with a hardware expansion board for those who really want to go wild when it comes to trying new things and developing new robotics systems.

Blinkgogo comes with three step-by-step tutorials to help you learn programming.

  • Binkgogo play right out of the box Tutorial: Blinkgogo works right out of the box. You can demonstrate many standard robot functions. You can drive it by controlling it with your phone through it’s Bluetooth capability. Or have it follow a black line.
  • Blinkgogo for Beginners Tutorial:Blinkgogo comes with a number of step-by-step tutorials. It is easy to program with the scratch graphical programming language. For the more extreme programmers it also works with C++. And the Arduino IDE programming environment
  • Blinkgogo for Advanced Users Tutorial:Blinkgogo offers a lot for advanced users. Blinkgogo comes with a hardware expansion prototyping plate where you can mount servos and many other sensors.

Its perfect for STEM education:

In the home

Perhaps your home has many toys already. However we believe to prepare for the future children need toys that are made to be modified and programmed. Children need to learn not just to be consumers but to actively participate in the building and modifying of things around them.

In school

Everybody knows that STEM education is important however most robotics platforms do not come with enough easy to use tutorials out of the box to be used by most non-engineers and still have enough flexibility to be still useful to those who excel in programming.

Why we made this kit?

Ever since I was a child I have always wanted to learn how to make electronics. Now that I am an electrical engineer my dreams are now a reality. However in the past when friends and asked if they could do electronics, my only answer was you need to go to school to be an electrical engineer.

Luckily time to change. Thanks to Arduino and other open-source platforms it’s not only possible for my friends to start their own hobby electronics products I can now start teaching my two children Harry and Tina. I have selfishly developed Blinkgogo specifically to teach my children electronics. But due to enthusiasm from my neighbors I have developed Blinkgogo into a product to share with the world. I hope you have as much fun with Blinkgogo as I did developing it and share it with my children.

We are on kickstarter now!

We are now crowdfunding on kickstarter now. We got over 60% funds within 24 hours. Please support us and let more kids can enjoy this all-in-one robotic learning platform!

Website:  www.blinkgogo.com

Video:              https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgj2axca16VY3bHaIBzzzuQ

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blinkgogorobot/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/BlinkgogoRobot

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/111819239969740793655

Kickstarter link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/makerstudio/blinkgogo-wireless-arduino-and-fun-robotics-learni?ref=4a4oio

Trending on Kickstarter: ‘MOTI’ is your personal robotic companion for building healthy habits

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. —  Emerging from an industry saturated with apps and wearables, San Francisco based startup MOTI (www.moti.io) is seeing tremendous support on Kickstarter, exceeding a goal of $50,000 within the first five days of launching. At 23 days left on the campaign, MOTI has over 700 backers, and has now released additional “stretch goals” for their little robot. These goals include adding a wild card color that backers can vote on, integrations with Fitbit, Evernote, and Google Calendar, as well as a new top secret feature – should the campaign reach $175,000.

 

Who is this little robot and why is everyone so intrigued by him? First, MOTI is a physically present smart companion for building better habits. The device combines insights from behavioral science, social robotics and human-centered design, and is built to learn and react to human beings’ psychological triggers with the purpose of getting them to start practicing healthy habits (such as jogging, hydrating, meditating, etc). Second, what makes him different is that unlike a standalone app, MOTI’s very physicality, presence, and emotional AI contributes to his ability to effectively influence behavior. Standing at just under three inches tall, MOTI acts as an ever-present environmental queue that is meant to interact with you in the moments and places where you would normally start forming your habit (i.e. your kitchen, your work desk, your yoga space,etc.).

 

The science and design behind MOTI’s habit-forming influence draws from the habit-loop theory, which explains that in order to build any habit, three things are required: a trigger, a routine, and a reward. To help you form your habit, MOTI supports all three things through a combination of lights, haptics, human-like intonations and other sounds. In order to have the best effect on behavior, MOTI is also designed to form a bond with the user, and his personality is continually adapting to the users’ needs.

 

“What we found in early research is that apps and wearables rely on data, graphs, and tracking for motivation,”  says Kayla Matheus, Inventor and Co-Founder of MOTI. “But we’re human – we need more than just numbers. We need our technology to understand how we work at a psychological and emotional level. That’s why MOTI isn’t another device – he’s your friend, or your cheerleader, or even your mom.”

 

Live demos are available today at BulletProof Bio-Hacking conference, and customers can now pledge an order for their own MOTI at http://kck.st/2d8NBu2 , on sale for $99 each and available in light grey, dark grey, and turquoise.  

 

About MOTI

MOTI is a behavior change company combining science and design to create transformative products that help people live better lives, one habit at a time. Established March 2015 in New York City, the company is led by Founder and CEO Kayla Matheus (Yale BA’11) and Founder/COO Laura Day (Vanderbilt BE’02, Harvard Business School MBA ‘09). MOTI is an alum of Google 30 Weeks and Highway1 Accelerators. Connect with MOTI via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@habitMOTI) or visit www.moti.io to learn more.

People Power Announces World’s First iOS and Android Enabled Smartphone Security Camera Robot – Presence 360

Breathe New Life Into an Unused Phone With the Intelligent Motion-Sensing Smartphone Robot That Can Automatically Keep an Eye on the Most Important Locations in Your Home

DALLAS, TX–(Marketwired – Sep 13, 2016) – People Power, a services enablement company providing apps, cloud and mobile services for the Internet of Things (IoT), today announces Presence 360, the world’s first 360-degree smartphone security camera robot that reveals existing blind spots in home security. Presence 360 integrates with People Power’s free Presence app, which reimagines spare smart devices into remotely monitored video cameras and has already sent more than 80 million Presence Video Alerts worldwide. By downloading the Presence app on an unused smartphone and cradling that device in Presence 360’s adjustable arms, users can monitor their homes and loved ones in 360-degrees, control viewing angles remotely and automatically receive motion detected video alerts when they’re away from home. People Power will be demoing Presence 360 at the CEDIA Expo 2016, September 15-17, 2016, at booth 4171.

Traditional security cameras are costly and only let you see a single static view, which leaves users blind to anything outside of the camera’s visual range. Presence 360’s full pan-and-tilt and 360-degree rotation allows users to look all around. Users can customize how long the camera remains at each vantage point too. Set Presence 360 to automatically pan to the front door for 15 seconds, the kitchen window or any other area of the home. Presence 360 cycles through those vantage points automatically to search for intruders or activity — recording video the instant motion is detected. When motion is detected, a Presence Video Alert of the activity is sent straight to the user’s smartphone as well as to their trusted circle of family and friends.

“In an era where technology is helping workers make impressive strides in productivity, we still find a big need for technology that lets consumers know what’s happening at home when they can’t be there,” said Gene Wang, CEO and co-founder of People Power. “Unless you’ve budgeted for a complicated and expensive home surveillance system, you may never know what’s happening until it’s too late. By revealing those nagging blind spots, Presence 360 brings people peace of mind, and is paving the way for a new era of lifestyle security.”

The Presence Security Pack extends the value of Presence 360. It works through the Presence app and combines entry, motion, water, humidity, temperature and touch sensors to create a whole home monitoring solution.

Also announced today is a significant performance increase to the Android version of Presence, which comes as a result of a conscientious refactoring of the popular mobile application. Android users will experience an increase in performance 3 times greater with the new version of Presence, available today in the Google Play Store.

Presence 360 is compatible with iOS and Android smartphones. To pre-order Presence 360, visit https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/presence-360-smartphone-security-camera-robot-99-app#/.

About People Power
Founded in 2009, People Power Company is an award-winning software company with a successful legacy in mobile and cloud technology. The People Power IoT Suite enables rapid connection, engagement, delivery and management of IoT products and services for services providers, manufacturers and consumers searching for connected lifestyle enhancements. Its ready-made cloud and mobile software stacks connect people with networked devices to humanize the Internet of Things. Services from concept through commercial release enabled by People Power are available as white-labeled solutions for customers around the world. For more information, visit www.peoplepowerco.com

PONGBOT, The new way to play „Beer Pong“

SERIAL ENTREPRENEURS TURN TO LEADING CROWDFUNDING SITE KICKSTARTER TO LAUNCH PONGBOT, THE NEW WAY TO PLAY “BEER PONG”

Pongbot’s Moving and Spinning Targets Add Some Excitement To This Traditional Drinking Game

NEW YORK (Aug. 10, 2016) – The game of beer pong is getting a makeover, as Consumer Goods Veterans and Entrepreneurs Alan Dorfman and Jayson Esterow have teamed up to bring you Pongbot, a new challenging twist on everyone’s favorite drinking game, and it is now available on Kickstarter (add hyperlink). Pongbot is a robotic cup holder that creates a moving target as one attempts to toss a ping pong ball into the cup. This makes beer pong more fun, creative and challenging than the standard of simply throwing balls into a stationary cup that was supposedly, as is rumored, originally introduced at Dartmouth College roughly 60 years ago.

“Everyone loves beer pong. It is the go-to game at parties, pre-game events, tailgates and BBQs,” said Dorfman, who is also the founder and president of well-regarded toy manufacturer Super Impulse. “Jayson and I wanted to raise the bar on the beer pong challenge to make it more fun and exciting for players. Once we had the concept, we knew we had the experience and know-how to have it engineered, manufactured and brought to market. We’re really excited to bring a great new twist to [arguably] everyone’s favorite party game.”

Pongbot re-defines the game with moving targets. Players can shoot at a single cup or add a five-cup rack. Pongbot features edge-sensing technology to keep the bot from falling over the edge of the table and has two modes for play; in Auto-mode, the Pongbot will move and spin randomly in any direction at any time so that the shooter never knows where it is going, and in Manual mode, the opponent controls the motion with a tank-style handheld remote control.

“The Pongbot, in either mode, will shoot at stationary cups, as well as cups that dart, spin and move constantly. Whether you are playing against your friend or the bot, the challenge and fun is so much more than the traditional game. It takes real skill to master!” said Esterow. “While the basic premise of tossing ping pong balls into a cup remains the same, Pongbot adds much more dimension to an incredibly popular game. We think everyone who plays the game will LOVE this new challenge.”

Ideal for tailgating, college or fraternity parties, a backyard barbecue or really any type of social gathering, Pongbot is now available on Kickstarter for a special kick-off price of $39.99 and is suited for all drinking-age consumers.

Entrepreneur turning hobby into novelty toy and apparel company

GREENSBORO, NC — After graduating from college, designer and maker, Charles Wade, began his hobby by making unique animal stickers, which later morphed into woodcraft and papercraft creations. During a test for one of his woodcrafts he designed and built a poseable wooden robot. The Helper Bot was born.

With the creation of the Helper Bot, Wade began experimenting with other ideas. After receiving feedback and appreciation for his work, he created more robots and designed assembly kits that would allow others to build his creations.

Wade has cultivated his hobby into a career by establishing RoboMustache; a collection of wooden robot assembly kits, accessories and merchandise. More than a collection of novelties, the RoboMustache hints at a rich world of storytelling as well. Coined from a found project in a derelict factory, as the company grows, so will the RoboMustache universe. The story will expand to tell more about the existing robots and bring in new robots along the way.

Wade is crowdfunding the project to take the RoboMustache universe to the next level. The Kickstarter launched Dec. 4, 2015 and runs through the new year.

PHIRO: A LEGO® compatible robot for all kids. Learn to Code in 5 ways.

Cambridge, MA, November 2nd, 2015- Robotics Education Startup Robotix USA, LLC, lead by two sisters, Deepti Suchindran and Aditi Prasad, with a mission to inspire the innovators of tomorrow, announced today it is raising funds via a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to develop coding toys for kids, that makes learning to code fun and easy. The company set out to raise funds on Kickstarter to produce the first batch of their innovative robots, Phiro, that is going to change the educational robotics market. (Phiro on Kickstarter is selected as a Kickstarter ‘Staff Pick’. Link to Kickstarter http://kck.st/1SjqW7H)

Robotix has many years of experience teaching coding and robotics to several K-12 schools. They have evaluated educational robots from all over the world and found gaps. The robots are usually expensive, use proprietary programming languages and are not so fun for kids. Robotix has created Phiro, an affordable robotics & coding toy that helps kids learn to code and develop computational thinking skills. Kids can learn to code in 5 ways, either without a computer or with open-source programming languages that millions of kids use and love. Phiro is a LEGO® compatible robotics toy that kids can play, code & innovate with to develop 21st century skills.

“In today’s technology-driven and rapidly changing world, being computational thinkers to solve problems is an essential skill for children to learn. Computational thinking is a critical 21st century skill that is relevant to all fields from economics, sports, medicine, law, and engineering. Research shows that one of the most effective ways for kids, as young as 4, to learn computational thinking is through coding and robotics”- said Deepti Suchindran, PhD, CEO, Robotix USA.

“With Phiro children get to see the practical application of programmes they have created instantaneously”- said Dr. Wolfgang Slany, Professor of Computer Science & Head of the Institute for Software Technology, Graz University of Technology, Austria.

With Phiro, kids can play music, make a movie, create games, flash lights, detect faces and much more. Coding and playing with Phiro empowers and inspires kids to be creators and innovators of tomorrow.  Robotix has created two robots: Phiro Unplugged & Phiro Pro. Both robots come fully assembled and are ready to learn from & play with, right out of the box.

Phiro Unplugged for kids ages 4 to 8. Kids can learn to code & program the robot without a computer! Phiro Unplugged is a great robotic tool to learn Sequential programming and Binary Coding.

Phiro Pro for young people ages 9 to 18. Kids can program Phiro Pro with a computer, tablet or smartphone connected wirelessly via Bluetooth to Scratch 2.0 (MIT, USA), Snap4Arduino (UC Berkeley/Citilab, Spain), Pocket Code mobile apps (Graz University of Technology, Austria). Learners can connect to a community on-line enabling collaboration, sharing & learning. Phiro Pro also has all the capabilities of Phiro Unplugged.

“In one package Phiro does what a whole lot of other systems do individually so it really helps to bring all those together … and make it more cost effective for the classroom”- said Daniel Riles, Technology Integration Specialist, Brookwood School, Boston, USA.

Robotix has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to manufacture the robots for the global market, which will be ready for Kickstarter supporters in the 2nd quarter of 2016 with special Kickstarter launch prices at $99 (Phiro Unplugged) and $149 (Phiro Pro) during the campaign. Crowdfunding and detailed features of Phiro Unplugged and Phiro Pro can be found here:  www.robotixedu.com and on our Twitter at twitter.com/RobotixLS and Facebook at facebook.com/robotixedu

DFRobot Announces Vortex – A First of its Kind, Intelligent and Responsive Robot Toy

New York—July 9, 2015—Robotics and open source hardware provider DFRobot today announces their new interactive toy, the Vortex robot. Designed to teach, empower and entertain children in an interactive robotics environment, DFRobot today also launched its Kickstarter campaign to raise $50,000 for continued product development. 

Combatting the trend of over-reliance on virtual games and screen time while transforming the robotic toy, DFRobot’s Vortex allows children to combine physical and virtual play. Children can interact with their toy robot while also programming and inventing their own commands and games, all via their smartphone or tablet.

Vortex has the following standout features:

  • Ready for Action—The Vortex robot and apps are fully functional right out of the box. Simply pair the robot with each child’s personal phone or tablet (compatible with both iOS and Android) via Bluetooth, and it’s ready to run. Children maneuver the Vortex by simply tapping their device’s screen to initiate commands
  • Infinite Programming Possibilities—Vortex presents infinite possibilities to create and play new games. It’s compatible with highly customizable open source hardware platform, Arduino, as well as with programming language Scratch. The Vortex robot can navigate obstacles, detect lines and report back by using infrared, grey scale and sound speakers. Easy to use, Vortex makes a child’s introduction to programming fully accessible and understandable and will be a great teaching resource for classrooms, making complex programming and coding easier for children to understand and practice
  • Customizable Games—Children have endless opportunities to create their own games and can also play the pre-programmed, free games including: Bumping Fight, Virtual Golf, Driving and Robot Soccer. Each game allows children to compete against their friends, parents or the robot AI. All games are designed to be both intuitive and customizable, as the child creates their own play experience

“We’re transforming the household into part robotics lab, part playground,” said Ricky Ye, CEO, DFRobot. “We fully believe in the philosophy of learning through play. With our robot, which offers an immersive programming experience, children can learn to code while having genuine fun. Our mission is to bridge the gap between toys and education–particularly STEM education–as technology-driven skills are more important than ever.”

Vortex’s pre-programmed games are designed to be fun and intuitive. Bumping Fight serves as a pushing match between two players to force others from the arena, while Virtual Golf allows children to direct the robot towards a target, while controlling the power of their shots. In addition, Driving allows children to use their device as a remote control to drive their Vortex forward, backwards, right or left around a track, and with Robot Soccer, children can play a match with anywhere from 2-22 players.

DFRobot’s Vortex is suggested for children ages six and up. By supporting the Kickstarter campaign, backers can pre-order the Vortex robot two-pack for $119 with their contributions. Robots will ship to consumers in fall, 2015.

About DFRobot

 DFRobot is a robotics and open source hardware provider that is dedicated to creating innovative, user-friendly products that foster a strong community of learning. DFRobot collaborates with multiple tech giants including Intel and Microsoft and has a product catalog boasting over 1,000 components and widgets including sensors, robotic platforms, communication modules and 3D printers. DFRobot is one of the early evangelists of the Maker Movement and strongly supports greater access to the maker culture.

DFRobot’s new product, Vortex is an intelligent and responsive robot that will enable children to learn, play and program. Vortex will bring together robotics with digital games through fun and interactive apps that allow children to explore, program their own games and solve problems.

DFRobot is headquartered in Shanghai, China. For more information visit www.dfrobot.com.

Game-Changer: First 3D Printed, Educational Robot Launches on Kickstarter

Seattle, WA – SociallyShaped, an educational robotics company, is pleased to announce the first, advanced, 3D printed, customizable robot that teaches electronics, programming, and 3D design. Named Roby, this amazingly versatile robot has a full on-board computer and programming software designed to teach children the basics of programming. The first robot of it’s kind, Roby provides the platform needed to excel in many areas of technology.

The mission of SociallyShaped is to improve access to technical skills, and empower anyone to become innovators in the technology industry. You can become part of SociallyShaped’s community and mission by visiting https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/758562141/3d-printed-educational-robotic-platform

SociallyShaped is an educational robotics company, which encourages learning and entrepreneurialism for children and adults alike. SociallyShaped was founded by John Villwock, MBA (Cornell), Mikhail Stolpner, MBA (Cornell), and Aubra Taylor, MA in Seattle, WA. Combined, they have extensive experience in child development, technical innovation, programming, business management, 3D printing, and electrical engineering.

Robots as multifunctional gentlemen

Care-O-bot 4 / Photographer: Rainer Bez (2015)

Following the success of the personal computer (PC), our private and professional lives could soon be improved by personal robots (PR). These would function as  a sort of “electronic butler”, bringing the newspaper, pouring coffee or clearing  the table. They are friendly and affable, yet remain discreetly in the background  when not needed. The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA has been developing innovative service robots since the 1990s.  These can be used in areas including households, hotels, care homes and hospitals,  for example. Researchers have now developed a new model centred on the concept of a universal helper for everyday scenarios: the fourth generation of  the “Care-O-Bot®”. While its predecessors from 1998 onwards were used primarily in the development of technological fundamentals, the Care-O-bot® 4 is a modular product family providing the basis for commercial service robot solutions.

Together with the Stuttgart-based design studio Phoenix Design and Schunk, Fraunhofer IPA has been working on the completion of its new service robots for three years. The  result is unique. “The fourth generation of the Care-O-bot® is not only more agile, modular  and charming than its predecessors, but it also stands out through the use of costreducing construction principles,” explains Dr Ulrich Reiser, Project and Group Leader at Fraunhofer IPA. In this way, large parts of its internal construction feature folding sheet metal, which is economical to produce in small quantities.

Andreas Haug, co-Founder and Managing Director of Phoenix Design, adds: “Care-Obot® 4 is a successful symbiosis of design and engineering, as well as functionality and emotion, which quickly encourages user interaction.” Its streamlined design, with two arms attached at the side and a type of head, mean that the robot is reminiscent of a  human being. However, developers did not want its appearance to be over-human, as  this would “encourage false expectations with regard to its capabilities” for users, says  Ulrich Reiser. It is just the robot’s “internal values” which are human: it always maintains  a respectful distance, shows what it has understood and what it intends to do, while also being able to make simple gestures and reflect emotions. As with previous generations, social role models were used as a guiding vision in developing the design and functionality. While the concept for the Care-O-bot® 3 was a more reserved, cautious butler, its successor is as courteous, friendly and affable as a gentleman.

Modularity ensures economical solutions

The Care-O-bot® 4 also features a greater range of movements in comparison with previous generations. The smart helper is fitted with patented spherical joints around discreet pivot points on its neck and hips. These allow the robot to bend forward without losing its balance. Developers took inspiration from human anatomy, creating a moving part which shifts backwards when the robot bends over, ensuring that balance is maintained. The Care-O-bot® 4 does therefore not fall over when carrying a load in outstretched arms.

An innovative one-finger hand was developed with Schunk especially for the Care-Obot® 4. The combination of simplicity and elegance with integrated sensors is impressive. Schunk also manufacture their own standardised Schunk Powerball ERB modules, which  are used as arm joints. Their compact ball shape permits seamless integration. Managing  Partner Henrik A. Schunk comments: “The Care-O-bot® 4 represents a significant milestone in the mobile service robot industry on account of its high degree of standardisation.”

In comparison with its predecessors, the fields of application are far more wide-ranging for the Care-O-bot® 4. Its modular construction allows various different configurations. Arms, spherical joints and sensors are optional. If the intended purpose if to serve drinks, one  hand can be replaced by a tray, or the mobile base platform can be used on its own  as a serving trolley. Targeted adaptation for specific tasks significantly reduces costs. Individual robot platforms can be configured for a wide range of applications: a mobile information centre in museums, DIY stores and airports, for collection and delivery services in homes and offices, for security applications or as museum robots at attractions – the Care-O-bot® 4 is a safe and handy human helper at all times.

Facial expressions and gestures for a user-friendly service

IPA developers were determined to ensure that the Care-O-bot® 4 is simple to use. Users are more open to the help a robot can offer when they know that it functions properly. With this in mind, the Care-O-bot® 4 is fitted with an easily accessible touchscreen on the head. Moreover, it possesses a microphone for speech recognition and cameras for personal and gesture recognition. The Care-O-bot® 4’s spherical joints allow it to intuitively inform users what it is planning to do and what it has understood, including gestures such as nodding and shaking the head. A circle of LEDs on its torso area and a laser pointer in the hand serve as information exchange points.

Establishing a developer community 

Care-O-bot® 4 offers open software interfaces that makes it easily expandable for deve- lopers. Ulrich Reiser is keen for as many scientists as possible to use the system developed in Stuttgart in order to steadily advance its possible areas of application. “The objective is to steadily grow the developer community that was established already around CareO-bot® 3,” he explains. Numerous developers at research institutions and universities around the world have already worked with the Care-O-bot® 3 and the new Care-Obot® 4 should follow suit.

More detailed information on: http://www.care-o-bot.de

The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA was founded in 1959. It is one of the largest single institutes within this research organization and employs around 435 scientists. It has an annual budget of approximately 58,4 million euros, of which 22.9 million euros derive from industrial projects. The Fraunhofer IPA is made up of 14 individual departments engaged in the fields of Production Organization, Surface Engineering, Automation, and Process Technology. Its research and development work focuses on organizational and technological issues in the manufacturing environment of advanced industries, including Automotive, Mechanical Engineering, Electronics and Microsystems Engineering, Energy, and Medical and Biological Engineering. The R&D projects aim to enhance production processes and make products more cost-effective and environmentally friendly by identifying and exploiting the potential for automation and streamlining at our customers’ companies. This helps to maintain jobs and to strengthen international competitiveness.