Robot development platforms have boosted the projects and experiments around robotics. Many companies, individuals and conglomerates are now leveraging robot platform use cases to create robots for solving everyday problems of businesses and humans.
The global robot investment has set a new record reaching $16.5 billion in 2018. Across the world, more than 2.4 million industrial robots have been deployed in various factories. Over the years, we have seen more and more robot projects that have revolutionized how we work and live. This article reviews a few projects that are based on robot development platforms such as the open-source Robot Operating System (ROS) and others.
Ohmni’s Developer Edition Brings ANA’s Vision to Life
Our first robot platform use case features newme, a robot recently unveiled by ANA Holdings at CEATEC JAPAN, the largest consumer tech conference in Japan. Developed by OhmniLabs using our own Developer Edition platform, the newme aims to fulfill ANA’s mission to integrate multiple exponential technologies such as robotics, haptics, AR/VR, and AI to enable humanity to instantaneously teleport their presence to a remote location.
With these avatars, ANA plans to offer futuristic social infrastructure services known as Society 5.0. Combining its air travel capabilities with the connectivity of Avatars, ANA is working to reduce barriers to travel and enable everyone to equally participate in society.
newme was engineered and manufactured specifically for ANA by OhmniLabs. Each newme has the capability to transmit full-HD, 2K video that will allow users to see and interact with the robot’s surroundings in high resolution. Furthermore, newme has customizable body accessories that can be adjusted to fit a variety of deployment needs and can be controlled from a remote location.
ANA aims to deploy 1,000 of these robots across Japan by summer 2020 in various use cases, including shopping, tourism, senior care, and banking.
Fetch Robotics: Robots for Warehousing and Logistics
More familiar robot platform use cases include industrial robots for warehousing the logistics. Fetch Robotics, an automation-as-a-service startup, has introduced a line of robots for managing inventory and warehouse operations. The goal of the robots is to automate handling and data collection so that human labor can be used for more productive purposes.
Fetch robots use the proprietary Fetch Cloud Robotics Platform, which is the only cloud-based Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) solutions. The platform incorporates a range of advanced software and services to offer warehouse automation and unified controls.
You can classify Fetch AMRs in two divisions: Data collection and Material handling.
Data collection: You can automate your warehouse data collection using Fetch’s DataSurvey line. The TagSurveyor tracks RFID tags to automate inventory cycle counting and reduce the loss of inventory. You can integrate TagSurveyor with your existing RFID tracking strategies for optimum results.
The ShelfSurveyor AMR ensures accurate tracking of inventory by taking high-quality pictures of shelves.
Material handling: Fetch has several AMRs in its series of material handling and automation solution. HMIShelf robots can work alongside humans to transport and deliver goods in busy warehouse environments.
RollerTop AMRs enhance the automation levels in conveyor applications in warehouses. The CartConnect robots can automate material handling and transportation in any environment. The Freight500 and Freight1500 robots handle all payload capacities and automate pallet-based workflows.
You can also use the Fetch Mobile Manipulator and Freight Mobile Robot Base for research purposes. Both models are compatible with ROS for ensuring industry-wide application and use.
The solutions of the company can be deployed seamlessly in any warehouse quickly due to its cloud capabilities. You can also scale as needed without any hindrances.
Fetch Robotics raised $46 million in funding in July, which increased its total funding to $94 million.
Samsung Chef Bot: The Cooking Robot
Service robots have been doing their rounds for some time now. But how about a robot that can cook your favorite cuisine? This might be the most fun robot platform use case on the list.
Believe it or not, Samsung has come up with a chef robot that can prepare various meals. Samsung showcased its Chef Bot at Berlin IFA, where it assisted Michelin-starred cooks to make delicious dishes.
Chef Bot is basically two robotic arms that hang from a ceiling and do the boring job of stirring a pot or adding the salt. The robot is developed based on Samsung’s robot development platform, the Samsung Bot. Chef Bot can acquire new skills over time and you can also download more skills from Samsung’s skills database.
For instance, if you want your robot to stir a bowl of sauce, you can download “stirring” skill from the Samsung database. Then you can use your voice to issue commands to Chef Bot.
The cooking robot is capable of locating various objects like spoons and bowls. So it can automatically find the item and start, say, stirring a bowl without any direction. The robotic arms are just like human arms with the same reach and diameter, and six degrees of freedom.
The sensors and algorithms also make the robot safe to work alongside humans, without interrupting each other’s work.
Other Cooking Robot Initiatives
Samsung is not the only company to experiment with cooking robots. Seattle startup Picnic has also created a robot that can make custom pizzas with minimum human intervention. The robot can make around 300 pies per hour!
You can customize the robot to prepare pizzas the way you want, including your favorite choice of toppings. The small machine fits inside any restaurant and can come handy when you receive a huge batch of orders.
Many hotels in Singapore, like The Millennium Group, Park Avenue Rochester Hotel and Sofitel, have also started using robots to serve guests. The future is not far when we may see an eatery or restaurant completely handled by autonomous robots!
Heron USV: The Unmanned Surface Vessel
We have seen many aerial and underwater drones, but how about a vessel that traverses the surface of the water?
Clearpath Robotics, based in Canada, has made an unmanned surface vessel called Heron for research purposes. The autonomous water vehicle weighs around 28 Kg and uses two jet thrusters powered by batteries. The Heron can carry around 10 Kg of equipment like cameras and sensors onboard.
Clearpath has used ROS and MOOS to develop its water surface vessel. It can travel at a maximum speed of 6 km/hour and can also go in reverse as it’s bidirectional. The vessel also has a GPS for easy tracking.
Heron can be used for a variety of purposes apart from research. You can use it to measure the sediment buildup in stormwater collection ponds without the need for a human or separate boat.
You can even use the unmanned vehicle for surveillance and reconnaissance. It can collect water samples using tubes that reach down the water.
Disaster Relief Robots from Mitsubishi
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has been working on disaster relief robots for a long time. Recently the company unveiled the Firefighting Robot System consisting of Water Cannon Robot and Hose Extension Robot.
The robots are ideal for use in situations where it’s too dangerous to send a human crew. The Water Cannon Robot is designed to douse flames in hazardous environments like petrochemical plants. The Hose Extension Robot, on the other hand, supplies the Water Cannon Robot with 300 meters of additional fire hose.
Mitsubishi used the frames of small farm buggies to build their firefighting robots. Laser sensors and GPS enable the robots to reach and navigate a fire scene automatically. While the Water Cannon Robot fights the flames, the Hose Extension Robot makes trips to nearby water sources.
The whole firefighting system is carried on a transport vehicle specially made to house the Firefighting Robot System. It’s not clear whether Mitsubishi plans to introduce its robots in service any time soon.
Robot development platforms have the speed at which robots can be brought to market. Various companies like OhmniLabs have created innovative and unique robots that solve many of our current challenges.
If you are ready to bring your vision to life, check out the Ohmni Developer Edition, the ideal starting point for exploring your own human-scale robot applications. We’ve designed the Developer Edition to be the easiest to extend robot platform in the world. Researchers are up and running in days, not weeks.
Our goal is to strike the perfect balance between a robot platform that’s polished and ready to go on day one and something that’s super hackable and extensible so you can quickly build it into whatever you need. The platform comes with an amazing cloud development API, powerful hardware and extensible software with ROS support that lets you get started with robot development in minutes.
Purchase here: https://store.ohmnilabs.com/products/ohmni-developers-kit