Expectations are high for RoboEarth, a new European funded system to speed the development of human serving robots. Scientists from five major European technical Universities gathered in the Netherlands for its launch and to demonstrate possible applications.
First: the deceptively simple task of delivering a glass of water to a patient in a mock-up hospital room. The system is sometimes billed as a kind of Wikipedia for robots, allowing them to turn to it for information. RoboEarth wirelessly instructed a scrappy waste bin sized robot called Avi to scan a room’s physical layout, including the location of the patient’s bed and the placement of a carton of water on a table nearby.
Then the system activated a second robot, the more humanoid Amigo, which used the map provided by Avi to locate the water, grasp it with a pincer hand and bring it to the side of the hospital bed.