You can program it to detect the presence of other people, and then direct itself to you with lights flashing and says loudly in its synthesized speech. "Danger danger ! Warning warning ! Aliens approaching !"
To deactivate the warning and lights, you reply to the robot. "Silence ! you bubble headed booby"
#1) autonomous mapping #2) cover all floor space program (vaccum, sweep) #3) human interaction mode when you bump the switch on his top --- computer on wheels #4) voice recognition to control all of it #5) "go to" mode. Tell robot "Go to kitchen" and he does #6) "go get" mode. Tell robot "go get ____" and he does (mine does this, items are on bottom shelf of my book case. #7) chase the cat, dog. Go retrieve a ball
please add to the list!
I ran out of ideas and started talking to friends and family about it. Some of the best ideas came from my dad and some from children at the school my mother works at.
Person following is a classical and very useful behavior. The analog task (person leading) is also usefull, but more challenging. Think about making your robot an "autonomous labrador", that could effectively guide a blind person.... that is a very hard problem.
mlw wrote: So we have the solution now what is the problem to solve :)
You can't have it do useful stuff like sweep the kitchen floor because that would go over the $500 budget.
It also rules out clearing the table and stacking the dishes, making the bed, taking out the rubbish, cooking the meals, removing unwanted house guests like spiders...
Perhaps it wouldn't be too difficult to add a fish tank water pump to water some pot plants. Maybe a simple dispenser to feed the fish or fill the cat/dog bowl at fixed times?
Mind you some people find repetitive work therapeutic and would resent the robot doing their job :)
So I guess you are left with entertainment?
Essentially about as useful (or useless) as a house cat.
With your PID control maybe it could learn to dance? Perhaps it could sing a tune at the same time? A cute shell and some flashing LED lights would add to its appeal.
I seem to recall you suggesting fetch/store might be interesting? The items could be in some standard sized boxes and some means for the robot to locate and recognize (perhaps by their location) these boxes. The robot would need some way of picking up and letting go of these boxes. Perhaps a piece of metal on the box and a electric magnet on the robot?
At this stage have you figured out how the robot is to sense its environment in order to navigate and avoid obstacles?
At this stage you haven't said what sensors you will have to navigate and avoid obstacles apart from the wheel encoders for dead reckoning.
I would find it hard to see any robot doing these tasks at the moment. Maybe the spiders.
That is actualy an interesting idea.
Have discussed this with my son. Having it dump food into the aquarium would be cool.
No one I know.
but with a better personality.
It can speak, and I have an LCD screen for it.
Flashing lights are so 1960s.
Figured out, yes, long ago at Denning, not implemented on mine as of yet, and it is hardly perfect, obviously.
Wheel encoders are a very weak source for position information. I was atually wondering if the wireless router that I have could be used for some sort of triangulation, one transmit antenna, two reciever antenntas. It is theoretically possible, whether or not the information is available is a different matter.
This looks like the million dollar question to me. Outside of the industrial robotics environment, I have not seen a single robot advertised or even credibly discussed that can do an adequate job of something that I would pay real money to have done.
This is the "killer app" that is conspicuously absent. This is not to say that building robots is not fun, interesting or an excellent way to pick up saleable engineering experience,it is all of those things.
(Paradigm shift) My robot's already doing heaps of things. Actually it doesn't do a great deal, but it does serve as a focus for intellectual endeavour. Vacuuming the floor, following the dog, identifying the colour green, these are all very noble and desirable abilities, but the most valuable ability a research robot has is the ability to make its owner/developer think, solve problems, research, hypothesize, persevere. In addition, the endeavour needed to physically produce a robot requires the development and practise of a range of practical technical skills which are to some extent transferrable to other contexts.
So while my robot is only able to drive about and say "I am a robot", I'm the one who has benefited from augmented capabilities and knowledge.
About 10 years ago, I built a remote controlled lawnmower. The idea was to sit in front of the TV with a remote controller and cut the grass. The idea was probably crap, but it never got anywhere because I couldn't get a decent wireless video link that wouldn't drop out when the lawnmower went behind a tree. Kinda scary when you lose the link and its a dangerous running lawnmower out there. I kept looking for a robust link, maybe something that would send the video over many frequencies and select the best signal on the receiving end. All I've seen is single frequency stuff, like 900 MHz, 1.2 GHz, or 2.4 GHz, with elaborate antennas which still have to be moved around to get a decent signal.
I would think remote sentry robots would have to solve this problem, anybody heard of any developments in this area? The link doesn't have go far, maybe 200 feet, but it needs to get reliably from outside to inside a typical frame house.
'Course, I was making a joke about the 60s, but I also agree that aesthetics play an important part of our enjoyment of most anything, robots included. Blinking lights *look* like robot stuff to most people. In addition to LEDs, don't forget side-emitting fiber optics and electroluminescent panels and wire. Sort of the "Tron Look."
Sound effects are also critical. Noises, chirps, relay clatter, and all that add a human dimension to robots. People prefer R2D2 over C3PO. There's a reason.
The trick would probably be to put the receiver on a pole above your house to get good reception and connect it to the tv and power inside using some cheap phone cat3 four conductor wire. The below places have some higher power video setups.
Take you word for it. Maybe they just don't admit to the satisfaction of a physical job well done like cleaning the sink or floor or chopping a pile of firewood.
I know one lady that uses her brain all week and one pleasure is to vege out by weeding the garden and doing other routine chores.
Of course it can. Just sing the following choreographic steps,
Just turn to the right, turn to the left jiggle those wheels and go beep beep beep.
move forward 3 steps move backward 3 steps
jiggle those wheels, flash those lights, spin to the left spin to the right
and so on....
Kids would love it if the moves were synchronized to accompanying music.
Don't underestimate the emotional appeal of a good light display and really cool sounds to the general population, particularly the young, even if they leave you cold.
Why do we like fireworks, why xmas lights, why does the Terminator have red glowing eyes? Why do movies use mood music. Think about what many people like when it comes to the appearance and sound of their car.
A domestic robot should look and sound great like all the other possessions we treasure.
Robots of the 2000's will need a "modern" look compared with those of the 1960's. But human emotions do not change, only their cultural expression. The Honda robot and its successors may not look like the steel robots of the 1960's but they still have that "human" appearance.
Today's cool look is tomorrows kitsch :)
Kind of expected you to expand a bit at this point :)
I would consider your basic sensors as part of the $500 robot base. Personally I think any self respecting robot needs a set of four ultrasonic and infrared obstacle detectors and, should they fail to prevent unwanted contact, a set of bumper switches.