Subscribe

Latest Blog Post

When will Service Robots be able to Assist Humans Day-to-Day?

JA Carette
by JA Carette. Last updated on May 05, 2016 4:30 PM
Posted on Apr 16, 2014 8:00 AM. 3 min read time

While industrial robotics seem to be reaching new heights with human-robot collaboration and agile manufacturing, service robotics still seem to be slow at entering our daily lives.

Of course there are some robots already available for your home such as the floor sweeping robots: RoombaNeato and bObsweep. Though they don't have any articulated parts, they do involve programming and remote control, so this is why they are considered robotic. Along the same lines are: window washing robotsbarbeque grill cleaning botsgutter cleanerslawn mowers and so on... But the fact is that these household "robots" seems more like gadgets than real day-to-day home assistants.

Asimo Household Robot Future

Service Robots Open New Opportunities for People

However, there is an interesting field in service robotics that could improve the quality of life for people needing day-to-day assistance like the story of Robots for Humanity, R4H. In the area of providing services to those who have mobility impairment combined with upper body restrictions, there is an arm/hand combination available from Kinova Robotics called JACO, which if attached to a wheelchair can greatly increase a person's reach and dexterity. It uses a joystick and appears to be able to establish very fine tuned control. This type of product is really more along the lines of what we are searching for when we look for robots that could provide services for humans. Although these arms are under the direct control of the person and not autonomous. In any case, this is the beginning of the idea of creating an autonomous service robot that could do specific tasks for us, so that we could be free to do other more interesting things.  This is the kind of robot manipulation we thought about when we thought about service robots 50 years ago.

 

 

There is also a team at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) working to develop a day-to-day assistance robot for people with mobility impairment. This team led by John Wen has put together a program for the collaborative robot, Baxter, with certain controlling devices such as; Xbox or Wii remote controls and also a tool named Jamboxx (an electronic device that looks like a harmonica) with which you can control a robot. As you can see in the video, this team has put a Baxter Robot on a wheelchair and made it controllable with a device that requires little mobility from the end user. 

 

 

I must admit that it is not everyone who can afford $20,000+ to have Baxter with them at home. However, the idea to have a robot arm like Kinova or a robot on wheels that is easy to control is a very good beginning to "the dream of an autonomous service robot", who would be able to wash your dishes, change your bed, microwave dinner and play cards with you at night. 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

JA Carette
Written by JA Carette
Connect with the writer:

Related posts

How to capture sharper images of moving objects

So you’d like to count or inspect moving objects?  Here are a few tips that might help you out.

You can work with a few...

Audrey Boucher-Genesse
By Audrey Boucher-Genesse - May 7, 2020
Surface Finishing: The Essential Guide for Busy People

Surface finishing makes the difference between a quality product and a bargain-bin reject. This guide explains how to choose...

Alex Owen-Hill
By Alex Owen-Hill - February 22, 2020
Giving Sight to my Robots Skyrocketed my Production

In June 2014, I purchased my first collaborative robot. At that time I was a one-man shop and I was hoping my first “employee”...

Jay Pierson
By Jay Pierson - January 15, 2020