Eindhoven University of Technology has unveiled AMIGO, its new humanoid robot designed for domestic applications and expected to compete in the upcoming RoboCup@Home league. The AMIGO robot catches my attention due to its open-source software system based on ROS and Ubuntu, and by its ability to be part of the RoboEarth network and database, which is a very attractive mind-blowing combination for hobbyists and scientists.
The Autonomous Mate for IntelliGent Operations(AMIGO) has been proven over time its abilities among other advanced projects such as Bobbie Robotics or R3-COP, and the next challenge is to equip the robot with superior features able to learn different things from other robots. This is the case when the robot is able to access the RoboEarth network and database to download autonomously instructions related to a certain task and change information with other robots such as recognition of an apple.
What is very impressive is that the machines will be able to do autonomous tasks like navigation or object recognition just downloading from the RoboEarth project the proper information and store these on a memory card.
This learning method is very fast compared with the method of programming every conceivable situation, and we have to pay close attention of this Cloud Robotics infrastructure and future robotic projects designed to become part of the network.
Its anthropomorphic design is limited to the upper side of the body where two of the Philips Experimental Robotic Arms (PERA) are used for interaction with objects or humans. On the lower side is the storage zone with batteries, electronics, and four omnidirectional wheels.
The design is more about how it works than how it looks, and in this area I will enter deeply more in details about the structure and technology used to build this one and a half meter robot that in one day could save the world.
The head is engineered for visualization and consist of a 3D Kinect stereo camera able to scan and recognize the environment with a VGA image sensor at a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels. Other visual system is located in the lower part of the robot and helps the AMIGO to discover every object or any other obstacle in its path, as well as a helping system to work safely in its surrounding environment. The same vision system is programmed to recognize and follow people even the robot is distracted from several sources.
The robot is a reporter on wheels due to its powerful microphone system located at the top of the head. The microphone covers a large area and can detect the direction of the sound.
The 3D vision camera and the microphone, in one word the head, is able to rotate at 300 degrees and can tilt up to 120 degrees. This is a simple way to keep the base at the same position and move the head to see what happens around its body.
The main tools of the robot are represented by the two PERA arms that can lift a weight of maximum 1.5 kilograms with a total of eight degrees of freedom, which is enough to cover a wide area from its surrounding. The arms are helped when grasp objects or do other things by a telescopic body that can adjust the height of the robot in relation to the height of the object.
The entire body of the robot moves on four omnidirectional wheels able to move the robot with a maximum speed of 1 m/s.
The brain of the robot is a powerful Intel Core i5 with 8GB DDR3 that runs the Ubuntu and ROS. Since it is an open-source platform, you are able to use any of the C++, Phyton, Java or Lisp programming languages to learn the robot what you want to do.
In this video you can see how the robot works in different situations.
To finish the article, I have to say that I am impressed how a metal, plastic, and silicon machinery can think, recognize objects and humans, and is part of a robotic network designed to become the most powerful brain for robots around the world.