Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Service robots - Always at your service

11.07.2008
Who doesn’t long for household help at times? Service robots will soon be able to relieve us of heavy, dirty, monotonous or irksome tasks. Research scientists have now presented a new generation of household robots, the “Care-O-bot® 3”.

The one-armed robot glides slowly to the kitchen table. With its three fingers, it carefully picks up the bottle of apple juice and puts it next to the glasses on the tray in front of it. Then it glides back into the lounge and serves the drinks to the guests.

This is how artificial assistants might work in future. Only 1.45 meters high, Care-O-bot® 3 is the prototype of a new generation of service robots designed to help humans in the household. The quick-to-learn assistant was developed by research scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Stuttgart.

But how does the robot know where to find the items it needs? And what has been done to make sure the robot does not inadvertently touch a human with its arm? It is fitted with numerous sensors to prevent this from happening. Stereo-vision color cameras, laser scanners and a 3-D range camera enable Care-O-bot® 3 to register its surroundings in three dimensions in real time. If a person moves into the radius of its arm, it stops moving. Another feature of the small, flexible helper is that it can move in any direction. “This is made possible by an omnidirectional platform with four separately steered and driven wheels,” explains Birgit Graf, who heads the domestic and personal service robotics group at IPA.

“In this way, the robot can even pass safely through narrow places in an apartment.” The new Care-O-bot® has a highly flexible arm with seven degrees of freedom and a hand with three fingers. This allows it to pick up bottles, cups and similar objects and to operate machines. Force sensors prevent it from gripping too hard. The arm and the grippers were developed by Schunk.

A tray is mounted at the front of the robot, on which Care-O-Bot® can carry items such as the requested cup of coffee. Integrated in the tray is a touch screen via which the assistant can be controlled. “But the robot can also be directed by spoken commands. Unlike its predecessors, it can even recognize and respond to gestures,” explains Graf. Numerous household articles are stored in the robot’s databases. It knows, for example, what a cup looks like and where to find it in the kitchen. It can also learn to recognize new objects. The user simply places the unfamiliar object in the robot’s hand so that it can gain a three-dimensional impression of the item. However, the new robot does not look like a human being. “We deliberately moved away from the existing, humanoid service robots when we designed Care-O-bot® 3,” stresses Care-O-bot-3 project manager Christopher Parlitz of IPA.

Birgit Graf | alfa
Further information:
http://www.fraunhofer.de
http://www.fraunhofer.de/EN/press/pi/2008/07/ResearchNews072008Topic7.jsp

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Multiregional brain on a chip
16.01.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

nachricht Researchers develop environmentally friendly soy air filter
16.01.2017 | Washington State University

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How gut bacteria can make us ill

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

On track to heal leukaemia

18.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle

17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>