What do you want your robot to do?

JGCASEY wrote:


My wife really doesn't like to spend hours on end making a quilt. She'd rather just plop in front of the TV and watch Redneck Weekend on Comedy Central.
I guess I should offer to build her a quilt-making robot?
-- Gordon
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skip the offer, suprise her with it, and show us pictures of your machine :-)
Rich
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mlw wrote:

My comment wasn't about what was practical, but what is possible, given enough resources. Never say never. The fact that they don't have a dishwashing robot has more to do with realities of labor than technological stagnation. It's far cheaper to hire someone at $6 an hour to load a dishwashing machine, than to construct some weird robot with tentacles that can do it all.
Even the "glorified dustbuster" is more of a curio than an effective vacuum, because making it into a real vacuum would be expensive. People buy it to say they have a robot cleaning their house, though in reality isn't not a very good clean. The Roomba lacks the vacuum suction or strong beater bar to do a thorough job.
This doesn't mean a robot *can't* do this, but the cost of the thing doesn't make it a worthwhile investment for consumers. The best cleaning robot I've seen so far is made for hotels, and costs upwards of $4-5K. It looks more like a snake than a traditional robot.

Why limit the discission to an autonomous mobile robot? Is that the only kind of robot there is, or the only type that's useful? Could it be that specialty robotic applications are not only more functional, they're more affordable? You don't see robots wandering around a Ford plant, but there are hundreds along the line. Car quality wouldn't be where it is today without these robots.
I do agree that the notion of a truly practical autonomous mobile robot, like an R2D2 or Rosie, is more science fiction than fact. We build them because we like to dream, not because they represent the best solution to a problem. But we do build them, and find out they are very limited. Part of it is technology, part of it is cost. But part of it is trying to use a hammer to remove a screw.

Ah, but your bread machine/toaster doesn't also wash the dishes or meter out liquids for the perfect martini. There is little difference in capability between a bread machine and a toaster, though these are unique functions; the bread making part has a motor to sift the ingredients, and a timer to let the dough rise, but they're both ovens. This combination makes sense. I wouldn't say the same of the combinations expected of your typical autonomous mobile robot. Having a robot serve drinks and vacuum the floor and clean the toilet is a lot to ask of any machine, at any price affordable by those who aren't Bill Gates.
-- Gordon
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mlw wrote:

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.
Bob
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(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.

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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.
--
Mike Ross

Instructions said Win98 or better, so I used Linux.
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On Sat, 23 Apr 2005 03:16:36 GMT, Mike Ross

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.
http://www.supercircuits.com / http://www.matco.com /
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On Fri, Apr 22, 2005 at 08:36:32AM -0400, mlw wrote:

Many robots are designed to produce a graduate degree.
-Brian
--
Brian Dean
BDMICRO - ATmega128 Based MAVRIC Controllers
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robotic lawnmower and edger
Haven't seen a commercial one yet. Probably due to liability issues.
I'm wrong there is supposedly a few. http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,62853,00.html http://www.robomowerusa.com / http://www.ri.cmu.edu/projects/project_422.html
Give you something to use triangulation and gps with.
Question is steering.Would have to be self-propelled but could do away with large batteries.
What about as a guide or doorman for a trade fair / conference centre/museum ? Surely there would be a small market for this ? Interact with people especially kids.
People see this at a museum, science fair etc and want one so buy the cheaper $500 dollar version.
http://www.acfr.usyd.edu.au/projects/ maybe a few ideas here http://www.acfr.usyd.edu.au/projects/research/indoor-robots /
Alex
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    --Robotic rat catcher. I'm working on something using a Stamp to catch 'em but it would be better if it could "attack" rather than just "defend".
--
"Steamboat Ed" Haas : For some reason hung up on
Hacking the Trailing Edge! : Mexican Oompah bands...
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I was talking with a guy one day, he asked me what I did for hobby. I told him I enjoy making robots...
He had an idea for a bio-powered robot.
Put a cage on wheels. Put cat food in the cage. Make the robot roam around looking for cats. Find a cat, sit still. The cat walks in the cage to get food. The door closes, and spikes in the top of the cage come down on cat. A kitty-cat eating robot.
I guess that's what he wanted HIS robot to do.
Rich
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Carnivorous robot: http://www.howstuffworks.com/news-item107.htm Slugbot: http://wired-vig.wired.com/news/print/0,1294,47156,00.html
Mitch
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