This video is a sequel to one where the robot played ping pong. Both are excellent demonstrations of the precision capabilities of robots. The trouble is that to create machine this precise is incredibly expensive and outside of manufacturing highly unnecessary. The preparation for this video would have kept a few roboticists busy for quite a while
We've decided to definitely go ahead with using the drive train designed for Jerry as a basic mobile robot platform. We're going to call it Mo.
Mo is a 14 inch wood cube. the kit will have both high-torque drive motors with quadrature encoders, Two 12V lead acid batterys will provide a 24 V power-source, that should last approximately 5-7 hours. And there will be an adjustable voltage converter built in to allow for the implementation of any type of microcontroller, but the focus will be on arduino.
The appearance is still in flux. But there will likely be little coloration in order to maintain a low cost, which is expected to be in the range of 350-500 dollars.
A complete design and product page will be completed soon to begin taking orders. This will be a great kit for people that need a robot quick to test some software or electronic hardware.
This video was put together to give a quick summary of the build for Jerry thus far. Enjoy. He will be fully unveiled soon.
Slant Robotics is working to create a robot for everyone. But there are steps on that path. Jerry will not come and do everything right off the bat as a robot should. In order to achieve that level of competence for a robot it will take more than the efforts of a single company or team.
For that reason much of Jerry's design will be open-source when it is completed. And portions of Jerry will be available to order to allow other experimenters to build on the Jerry platform.
With the help of many minds working toward the creation of personal robots we will meet our goal of a true home robot butler within two years.
Here is the first module that will be release for order very soon. It is Jerry's drive module or mobile base. The final product will be cleaned up and configured to take input from a number of devices. Ideally, this module will reduce the cost of mobile robot development for hobbyists and researchers.
The prototype for Jerry is coming along nicely. I was able to run a mechanical test of all of the basic systems today. It looks like he will be ready for basic demonstrations perhaps even by the end of this week.
There has been a lot of buzz the last year or two about social robots. These first steps into personal robotics use expression in order to create a bond with their owner. They are designed to look cute and friendly and even to read the person's emotions, as in the case of Softbank's Pepper. But does a robot need to have expressions?
From a practical standpoint one would originally assume that expressive robots are a waste of time. The addition of a face or a smile seem to add little to the purpose of the robot. This is what many would assume about robots like Baxter, Rethink Robotics collaborative robot. But the idea of making a robot friendly is a waste of time is false. Robots need to have expressions of emotion and humanity in order to be accepted.
In America there is a highly negative connotation associated with the word robot. Immediately instead of thinking of a friend or hero like Pixar's Baymax, people imagine the Terminator. Robotics companies have to overcome over a hundred years of robots being portrayed as evil villains. The addition of humanity to a robot allows companies to break down the gossamer physiological barriers within people's minds. People react with less suspicion to a robot that expresses itself than to a trashcan that just runs around the house.
But there are other benefits to giving robots visible emotions. The capability of expression within a machine provides a UX benefit. Imagine how you would react to a robot that bumps into something and then simply edges around it mechanically. You would probably dismiss it and not care what the appliance is doing. But if the robot has a reaction when it makes a mistake and makes a correction similar to Wall-E, where he runs into something and then squeaks in dismay and shakes his head, you gain sympathy for the robot and a connection. The reaction also gives you a status of the robot. Emotions in robots are a bit like a buffering wheel from a UX standpoint. If there is no buffering wheel than most people would get frustrated waiting because they don't think anything is happening. Expression in robots lets their owner know what is going on inside the robots head and also gives the master patience with the robot as it trys to do something. The mindset goes from being a "stupid robot" to "I'll help you little guy."
In the case of Baxter the face on the two industrial arms is really the deal breaker because it accomplishes everything that was just discussed. It breaks down the psychological barriers to adoption and acceptance by being friendly. Then the eyes of Baxter's face serve to show what the robot is thinking and what it is going to do. Baxter looks where he is working, and if he gets stuck his face shows frustration or dismay.
Emotions and expression built into a robot are not only useful, they are almost vital to products that have to work with humans. They serve to improve UX and they break down fears and inhibitions that people have been trained to have through media that they have been presented with their whole lives. Jerry himself adopts all of this wholeheartedly. His cameras are placed to be eyes and he has several physical reactions which endear him to a person. Jerry is a practical machine first, but that only matters if people like him. And it makes the creators like him more to.
In this video I give an outline of where I think robotics is. I talk about the technology but more the design mindset of the industry within robotics as I have experienced so far.
With all the supplies and tools in I was able to start the build today. Took quite awhile to get adjusted to the new shop set-up but it was a productive day none-the-less.
Most of Jerry's primary parts have been rough-cut. After some finishing they will be ready to be nailed together. But Jerry's drive motors have not arrived so the final assembly may not be done for a week or so. Until then, a test rig will be made for his arm so it can be verified.
Most of the parts for the prototype arm are made on a bandsaw
Like all good superheros, Jerry has a backstory. This is how the project got started and evolved to become Slant Robotics