Are there any robot platforms such as the Sony robot or Honda Asimo
that can be purchased for programming & experimentation. These would
have the flexability to have programs added to them & some ability to
learn & adapt.
I have searched around and did not find much. Also I want something a
little more advanced than the 1 foot toy robots that are now
How closely have you looked at those 1 foot "toy" robots? Particularly
the high-end ones, such as the Manoi AT01, or the Robotis Bioloid?
The Bioloid is a great general kit, but Robotis makes an even higher-end
one (with ridiculously strong servos) for research use. It's called the
Cycloid II. Perhaps that's what you're looking for.
Unless your name is Bill Gates you cannot afford either of these robots.
They are R&D only, with the Asimo vosting millions of dollars. The Qrios
are probably $50,000+ each, if Sony sold them.
Like Joe says, the new breed of bipedal robot kits from Robotis or the
Robo-One are anything but toys. They are in essense small versions of
the Honda and Sony robots, with the same control problems to solve.
Learning and adaptation are issues for whatever controller you are
using. The Robotis and other robots could be refitted as you chose, or
even controlled remotely by the Cray in your garage.
Well, the situation is that if I can program a robot to do at least 1
house hold chore
then I could present this to venture capitalists to obtain further
financing. So it would be better to use a robot around 4' or 5' high
to do this.
Not trying to be too negative here, but I think you've got just as much
chance doing any household chore with a 1' high robot as with a 4' high
You might also build a 1/4-scale house (or a few rooms thereof) for it
to do its chores in. The demo would be just as convincing (and easier
to truck around).
But there are other things financiers will think about -- like how much
business liability is involved in letting a 4-5 foot robot around
children and animals. This is why most commercial robots are not used in
If you're going for size, the absolute first thing to program a robot to
do is not kill, crush, bruise, cut, or maim family members.
You'll notice iRobot's vacuum cleaner is so light it doesn't pose a
problem even for Junior's hampster.
I absolutely agree with you, but how does one explain the robotic
lawnmowers? I'd always assumed commercial robots would have to be harmless
around a baby, but those mowers look dangerous. Do they make you sign a
release to buy one?
Just do a google search for robotic lawnmowers. There are about 5 or more
manufacturers, and they seem to be getting popular, although they cost as
much as a good riding mower. They all use buried-wire boundaries and
You raise a good point, though the fact that they are for outdoor use
only would tend to lessen the liability aspects. Still, the (few)
manufacturers who build these run the risk of liability from a homeowner
who goes in for a beer just at the time when the neighbor child gets his
fingers caught under the thing. They all have safety features, but with
age and neglect the safety features lose their effectiveness. The
homeowner may be to blame, but it's the manufacturer who gets sued.
Again, viewing this as a financier, product libaility could totally
destroy the investment, so the risks just may not be worth it. Say you
make a $10 M profit. Just ONE accident, even if the suit is not
successful, could wipe that out in lawyer fees and bad publicity.
Buckminster Fuller had first-hand experience with how a single accident
can totally destroy a product, an idea, and even a market.
When the MECHANICS of the robot are such that they don't pose such a
high liability, then robotics in the house will be a more attractive
business proposition. This isn't a programming issue, it's a materials
and construction issue. Robots are just too damned heavy and fragile. In
Japan they're developing large robots for elder assistance; however,
these require very specific environments, and product liability cases
aren't quite as common in Japan.
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