Teresa Escrig

News and oppinion about Cognitive AI & Robotics

Cognitive Robots enhances Kompai’s capabilities by incorporating its “Cognitive Brain for Service Robotics”

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Since February 2011, Cognitive Robots and Robosoft have been collaborating on the framework of a European project, the ECHORD C-Kompai. The objective of the project is to enhance the companion robot Kompai with the cognitive capabilities provided by the “Cognitive Brain for Service Robotics ®” – CR-B100 – of Cognitive Robots.

The intent behind the improvement of the Kompai platform is to better serve the users – the elderly.

We have identified 3 aspects of the Kompai’s functionality to be improved in this project:

• Autonomous MAP creation was the first aspect identified to improve. Previously when a new user purchased a Kompai and it arrived to its new home, a Robosoft technician needed to spend an entire day creating the map for Kompai. No furniture could be moved in the house without the technician spending another day for the robot to re-learn the map.

• The second thing to improve was decision making. Kompai wasn’t making any decisions by itself, the user pressed buttons on the GUI screen or gave verbal orders to ask the robot to act. The robot was not pro-active.

• And third, we added cleaning functionality to the robot as a plus for the elderly.

The most significant visual changes in the Kompai platform have been the addition of three buttons in the  Kompai’s GUI screen (MAP, CLEAN, and BEHAVIOUR) (Figure 1) and the incorporation of the vacuum cleaner device at the bottom of Kompai and the 3D Kinect sensor (in the front of the Kompai) (Figure 2).

Figure 1. a) Kompai’s original GUI; b) Extended functionalities provided by C-Brain for the project.

Figure 2. New hardware features added to the Kompai platform for the project: the vacuum cleaner and the 3D Kinect sensor.

We are almost at the end of the project. The software development from C-Robots is basically finished. The benefits of incorporating the Cognitive Brain for Service Robotics ® – CR-B100  from Cognitive Robots into Robosoft’s Kompai platform are the following:

1-  Autonomous map creation (Figure 1 b). With the C-Brain, the Kompai will create the new map by itself, not only the first time it arrives to a new home, but every single time the owner changes the layout of the home – without the need to call a technician again.

2-  Obstacle avoidance in 3D. Before the incorporation of C-Brain, the Kompai was only able to perceive a line in the environment at the height of the laser sensor, which was very dangerous in a home environment, with a lot of obstacles at different heights. Thanks to the incorporation of the Kinect sensor, Kompai is able to perceive obstacles in 3D around the home.

3-  Landmark perception/detection. Both with the laser and the Kinect sensors, the distances collected from these sensors are processed to extract the most significant landmarks of the environment (qualitative information), which will allow the robot to reason and make decisions. This is part of the patent pending, proprietary software of the “Cognitive Brain for Service Robotics” from Cognitive Robots.

4-  The navigation system by Robosoft has been substituted by a more sophisticated one, which applies the ‘landmark perception/detection system’ (above) allowing the robot to reason and make further decisions.

5-  Vacuum cleaning algorithms using the ‘landmark detection system’ allows the robot to know what it has done and what still needs to be done.

6-  Decision making. Before the incorporation of C-Brain, Kompai has been a static robotic platform waiting for a ‘call to action’ by the user. With the incorporation of C-Brain, Kompai will be proactive and will start actions by itself to engage the user.

We are now working towards the final demonstration of the project in France in July.

Cognitive Robots will be in France next week (11-15 of June).

We will be uploading videos soon.

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