Teresa Escrig

News and oppinion about Cognitive AI & Robotics

Archive for the ‘uncertainty’ tag

What are the benefits of Artificial Intelligence in Robotics?

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Happy New Year to all!  It’s been a while since my last post. Too busy. Now, I’m back.

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Robotics is not only a research field within artificial intelligence, but a field of application, one where all areas of artificial intelligence can be tested and integrated into a final result.

Amazing humanoid robots exhibit elegant and smooth motion capable of walking, running, and going up and down stairs.  They use their hands to protect themselves when falling, and to get up afterward.  They’re an example of the tremendous financial and human capital that is being devoted to research and development in the field of electronics, control and the design of robots.

Very often, the behavior of these robots contains a fixed number of pre-programmed instructions that are repeated regardless of  any changes in the environment. These robots have no autonomy, nor adaptation, to the changing environment, and therefore do not show intelligent behavior. We are amazed by the technology they provide, which is fantastic! But we can not infer that, because the robots are physically so realistic and the movements so precise and gentle, that they are able to do what we (people) do. Read the rest of this entry »

ESA tests autonomous rover in Chilean desert ahead of ExoMars mission

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With remote control of rovers on Mars out of the question due to radio signals taking up to 40 minutes to make the round trip to and from the Red Planet, the European Space Agency (ESA) has developed a vehicle that is able to carry out instructions fully autonomously.

With Mars lacking any GPS satellites to help with navigation, the rover must determine how far it has moved relative to its starting point. However, as ESA’s Gianfranco Visentin points out, any errors in this “dead reckoning” method can “build up into risky uncertainties.”

To minimize any uncertainties, the team sought to fix the rover’s position on a map to an accuracy of one meter (3.28 ft). To build a 3D map of its surroundings, assess how far it had traveled and plan the most efficient route to avoid obstacles, Seeker relied on its stereo vision.

“We managed 5.1 km (3.16 miles), somewhat short of our 6 km goal, but an excellent result considering the variety of terrain crossed, changes in lighting conditions experienced and most of all this was ESA’s first large-scale rover test – though definitely not our last.”

“The difficulty comes with follow-on missions, which will require daily traverses of five to ten times longer,” he says. “With longer journeys, the rover progressively loses sense of where it is.”

By , June 19, 2012

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We need Service Robots to feed disable students

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Dear Teresa, My name is Paul Doyle and I am Head of Access R&D at Hereward College in Coventry. Hereward is a residential college that supports disabled students. We have for some years developed a keen interest in the use of robotics as an assistive technology.

I have been in contact with many providers of robots over the years from the PR2 at Willow Garage to the Care-o-bot by Fraunhofer with little tangible progress. What we have failed to achieve to date is to embed and evaluate an actual device in a real care/living/education environment such as Hereward to see if it actually works and if it is financially viable!

I would like to challenge any robot for example to help with the scenario I posted recently on a Linkedin forum:

Today when I was having lunch in our refectory I observed a number of students (with a variety of physical disabilities) waiting in an orderly queue for a human career to help feed them their lunchtime meal. Due to a shortage of careers some of the students waited for a very long time before a staff member could ask what the student wanted from the menu, picked up the chosen meal from the counter and then fed the student in an appropriate manner (food at the right temperature consistency and rate).
This situation led me to ponder the questions could a robot have helped carry out these tasks to some degree, and bearing in mind the care staff are paid not much over minimum wage, when (if ever) will a robot alternative be a financially viable?”

I would hope manufacturers could see this exposure to a group of users as a development resource, as we have a residential care and education setting where such technologies can be tested in a managed and safe environment.

Many of the young people at Hereward will eventually be the recipients of assistive robot technologies if and when they come online, so hearing what they need/want would I imagine provide a useful insight to product developers.

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The SICK laser sensor is currently mandatory for autonomous robots – if we want the ability to perceive the world, and therefore show a bit of intelligence

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The security SICK laser sensor is currently mandatory for autonomous robots – if we want the ability to perceive the world, and therefore show a bit of intelligence. It costs almost 3000 euros. While not without its drawbacks, this sensor represents the  state of the art and is the most expensive component in a current autonomous robot.   If we produce robots as prototypes, not on a large scale, we can not provide inexpensive robots yet.

James Falasco – I am curious about the comment that the SICK sensor is mandatory . How so ?

Teresa – Jim, The SICK laser sensor is still mandatory for robots or vehicles that need to show intelligence because:

  • it’s the most reliable distance sensor for medium-long distances, much more than sonar or infrared (which is basically useful for very short distances)
  • it’s necessary to perceive the boundaries of the environment to autonomously build the map of it. The map is necessary for the robot to know where things are.
  • The linear laser, such as SICK, has also drawbacks. The main one is that it only perceives one line.
  • The best way to go would be to have all the information needed and interpreted from a camera, which would be much less expensive, and with richer information.
  • Although we have developed a cognitive vision system which gives meaning to the objects of an image, with two cameras you can get distances to objects, yet we still need further development and some integration to use only camera.
  • We have also integrated into the Cognitive Brain the Kinect sensor with great success. It gives us depth in a conical area in front of the robot, although with short reach (we can’t see the limits of the rooms) and very sensitive to light changes (not good in exterior settings yet).

Summary: We use laser, Kinect and camera sensors. We can’t avoid the laser yet, which is the most expensive component of the whole robot, by far.

I am sure that with more development we can make the camera work to completely substitute the laser. I would love to do it.

Comments of other experts on the subject are very welcome. Thanks.

Read the comments.

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Cognitive Robots is actively seeking working partnerships and investment capital

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My name is Teresa Escrig (TeresaEscrig.com).  I’m the founder and CEO of Cognitive Robots.

We’ve successfully developed the worlds first truly autonomous Cognitive Brain, and have focused our efforts on Service Robotics.

We’re actively seeking both working partnerships and investment capital.

Highlights to-date include:

  • A part of the Cognitive Brain for Service Robotics has been successfully incorporated into a commercial floor scrubber machine, as well as a Pioneer research platform (investment from different sources).
  • Our ‘Manual Assisted Driver’ has been successfully incorporated into forklifts and buses (funded by the Spanish government).
  • We have integrating the Cognitive Brain into our own service robotics platform.  This will be launched in the next few months, and can be used for a variety of applications, including companion, security, marketing, air contamination detection, etc. (funded by Spanish government).
  • The Cognitive Brain is being incorporated into Robosoft’s companion robot Kompai of (funded by a European Project).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’d like further information, we’ve prepared a .pdf document that explains in detail what we have and are offering.

If you are interested, please, contact me at mtescrig@c-robots.com

Kind Regards, Teresa Escrig, PhD, CEO Cognitive Robots

The Intelligence Revolution: Visions of the Future

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Dr. Michio Kaku is a theoretical physicist, best-selling author, and popularizer of science. He’s the co-founder of string field theory (a branch of string theory), and continues Einstein’s search to unite the four fundamental forces of nature into one unified theory.

In this incredibly well done movie, he explains how Artificial Intelligence is affecting our lives now.  How our kids are spending more time in virtual worlds, such as “War of World Craft”,  than with their real friends. And how this will affect our lives in the near future.

It is an amazing review, of some of the scientific research that is taking place on the planet, related with Artificial Intelligence.

There is at least one thing that I do not agree with at all: that humans are going to have incorporated into their bodies more robotic parts than human parts in the near future.  To me, this final idea is nonsense.

Design of a robot for the elderly: aspect and functionalities

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If you were going to design a companion robot, what would it look like?

What would it need to do?

What would they call it?

How would it change the life of the elderly?

I asked those questions to my colleges at the LinkedIn groups related with Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.

I will be posting their answer here. Thank you very much for all your contributions!  Keep an eye to it…

by Elad Inbar (LinkedIn Group: IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (IEEE RAS))

Check out this new movie… I think it will gove you many answers.

http://singularityhub.com/2012/02/24/new-robot-and-frank-movie-looks-like-a-realistic-portrayal-of-the-not-too-distant-future/

I post the trailer below: Frank Langella and Liv Tyler on their Sundance hit ‘Robot and Frank,’ about an elderly man living with a home health aid robot. (March 23)

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How robots create jobs

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Service Robotics will ultimately create more highly skilled jobs – a good thing in an economy struggling to reinvent itself and a great way to spread the word that the ‘Service Robotics Revolution’ is here.

by Adil Shafi , President, ADVENOVATION, Inc.

Originally posted 04/04/2012 on Robotics Online

No army can stop an idea whose time has come ~ Victor Hugo

In 2011, the International Federation of Robotics commissioned a report on how robots create jobs. http://www.ifr.org/robots-create-jobs/. The findings report that, “One million industrial robots currently in operation have been directly responsible for the creation of close to three million jobs… A growth in robot use over the next five years will result in the creation of one million high quality jobs around the world.”

Further, the market research firm Metra Martech wrote, “In world terms three to five million jobs would not exist if automation and robotics had not been developed to enable cost effective production of millions of electronic products from Phones to PlayStations.” The report actually covers several markets in the automotive, electronics, food and beverage, plastics, chemicals and pharmaceutical industries and focuses on countries like Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, Republic of Korea and USA. The complete report is available at ifr.org .

Read more: http://roboticsonline.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/how-robots-create-jobs/

Artificial Intelligence: time to “invest in soft-robotics”

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The increasingly popular field of soft robotics is set to have an enormous impact on the service and manufacturing industries. … The concept of ‘soft’ in robotics applies to multiple levels: literally soft to the touch – skin, tissue on body surface, muscles, tendons – soft as in natural movements in contrast to manufacturing robots or many walking robots, and soft as in safe interaction with humans. …

And there is no need to be concerned that automation will put people out of work – the reverse is true as jobs that would otherwise be outsourced to China can be protected. …  As John Dulchinos, the chief executive of Adept, the largest US-based manufacturer of industrial robots, argued in a recent interview, the US has lost several million jobs in manufacturing to China because they did not automate their production lines but outsourced them to cheap labor countries.  …  moving people from dull or unhealthy jobs to more interesting ones, according to Foxconn founder and chairman Terry Gou.

We expect soft robotics to have an enormous impact on the service robotics industry because we will share our living space with these machines, and we will closely interact and cooperate with them.

The European Commission is doing an outstanding job at supporting basic research and development in the area of robotics and related fields with the 7th framework programme, and in the future with Horizon 2020. Examples of soft robotics basic projects include ECHORD, the European Clearing House for Open Robotics Development, which has the aim of bringing industry and academia – basic research – together.

Cognitive Robots is leading one of the ECHORD research projects, C-Kompai. The objective of the project is to enhance the companion robot Kompai by Robosoft with the cognitive capabilities provided by the Cognitive Brain for Service Robotics of Cognitive Robots.

Read the full article by professor Rolf Pfeifer (11 April 2012) – deputy director of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research Robotics and director of the artificial intelligence laboratory at the University of Zurich-: http://www.publicserviceeurope.com/article/1772/time-to-wake-up-and-invest-heavily-in-robotics-technology


New Applications for Mobile Robots

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This article explores the potential for autonomous robots.  Manufacturing arm manipulator robots, which have been successfully incorporated by industry for the last century, repeat actions and do not adapt to environmental changes. Autonomous robots, need to include a higher level of intelligence, to be able to interact with humans in changing environments, where uncertainty exists. Most of the current autonomous applications, still do not incorporate this existing and available technology. The following is an excellent article that reviews the most important current applications for autonomous robots. Enjoy!

by Bennett Brumson , Contributing Editor
Robotic Industries Association
Posted 04/05/2012

Mobility promises to be the next frontier in flexible robotics. While fixed robots will always have a place in manufacturing, augmenting traditional robots with mobile robots promises additional flexibility to end-users in new applications. These applications include medical and surgical uses, personal assistance, security, warehouse and distribution applications, as well as ocean and space exploration.

Read more: http://www.robotics.org/content-detail.cfm/Industrial-Robotics-Feature-Article/New-Applications-for-Mobile-Robots/content_id/3362