When you walk across a room or down a path, your brain is making thousands of decisions on how best to move. For example, how best to use your weight, scanning for any obstacles or uneven surfaces, and how rigid (or soft) your limbs and joints should be. Teaching a robot to conduct the same decision-making process is ongoing in robotics, and a team from ADRL, ETH Zurich and NCCR Robotics is studying existing direct transcription methods for trajectory optimization applied to robot motion planning.
Designing robots that can function outside of controlled, factory environments isn’t easy. When those environments have people in them, they are especially unpredictable and difficult for a robot to navigate.
Enter Rezero: a compact ballbot that can fluidly drive in any direction without prior orientation.
San Francisco based Bossa Nova Robotics develops personal robots for the home based on the ballbot technology under license from CMU. Founded by robotics entrepreneur Sarjoun Skaff as a spin-off out of Carnegie Mellon University´s Robotics Institute in 2005, the company manufactures the mObi robot that will be available for researchers and developers in 2013. The platform will feature PrimeSense 3D depth sensors, next generation Intel hardware and a reconfigurable plartform. The Intel processor runs either Windows or ROS (Robot Operating System). As the first commercially availavble ballbot plarform, mObi will provide unique capabilities for a broad range of robotics research and Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) applications.