Yaskawa Electric’s SmartPal VII Operated Using Kinect

SmartPal VII

Getting robots to do our chores for us is nothing new. Mankind has long held this dream and more and more it is becoming a reality. Yaskawa Electric, the world’s largest industrial robot manufacturer, is doing its part to make our dreams come true. The SmartPal VII is basically a telepresence robot, but with an interesting twist. It can be controlled remotely by using Microsoft’s Kinect.

The demonstration here shows how telepresence can do more than just let you attend a meeting remotely. Say you want to check in on an elderly relative like your grandmother. Once you make sure that she’s alright, you might notice that the place needs some serious tidying up. Well, through this robot, you can get on with it and clean up the house for her.

Head-mounted stereoscopic cameras and an infrared sensor allow the robot to navigate a room autonomously. If you want to comfort grandma, maybe give her a rub on the arm, it is safe to do so. The robot’s light-weight arms have touch sensors that make it safer for some human/robot interaction. The video shows how the operator can control the robot and go about cleaning objects off the floor, putting them away where they belong.

The human operator has a surprising amount of control. It should, as this version features upgrades to all the components of the SmartPal V version from 2007.

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