Robohub.org
 

When mud is our greatest teacher

by
03 September 2021



share this:

On 25 March, a small RoboHouse team went out in the fields of Oldeberkoop in East Friesland with gas leak detector Waylon and mechanic Rob. They began by checking the calibration to prevent malfunctions. Then they cleaned the detector mat and changed the filter, after which the search could start.

The two men proceeded slowly, constantly checking their tablet to see whether they were still close enough to the pipes. A big cart was pushed forward with the mat dragging behind it. Except for the grinding of the equipment on the sidewalk, everything was quiet.

The team waited to hear from the device, which is supposed to sound an alarm when it detects a leak. And then they heard it: a beep! After taking a few steps back, because the system lags, Rob sprayed a yellow dot. Waylon pointed to the beauty of the on-screen image that enables assessment of the severity of the leak. “It’s not a biggie”, Waylon said to the RoboHouse team. That means someone will come within a week to measure it again, before calling for a repair.

The team slowly walked on, looking for more leaks. When they bumped into any kind of obstacle, they had to lift the device over it themselves. They also pushed the big device while constantly looking down on their tablet. After a full day of leak detection, every member of the team could feel it in their shoulders.

The RoboHouse team then realised how easily bad ergonomics can lead to injuries. There have been tests with more expensive machines and Segways but a solution has not yet been found. So our ambition remains: develop robotic technology that transforms the daily grind of leak detection, but stay modest and don’t overestimate our progress.

At RoboHouse, the process of improving working life starts with the worker. “Research, development and co-creation go hand in hand to deploy robotics in the best way possible,” says Marieke Mulder, program manager. “The goal is to support 90% of the work in gas leak detection autonomously so Rob and Waylon can make the pipelines safe and future proof.”

The field research sparked many new ideas. Waylon was curious about next steps and Rob said: “I just hope we can come up with something that allows me to take the right routes without destroying my back by looking at the tablet all day”.

After the field session, the team from RoboHouse gathered experts from different sectors to analyse the challenges at hand and co-create the first concepts towards a solution. Development engineers Bas van Mil, Tom Dalhuisen and Guus Paris joined the team online in a workshop on Miro. Together they envisioned a way forward and this was translated into a roadmap to 2031 by the RoboHouse team.

There will be many interactions with workers at Alliander along the way, and many more hours in the field. Marieke Mulder says: “After walking just a mile through the mud, we have barely begun to know how it is to do this work every day. But by going beyond our lab, into the field, we already discovered so much more about the challenges that workers like Rob and Waylon face every day.”

The post When mud is our greatest teacher appeared first on RoboHouse.




Fay de Grefte





Related posts :



Robotics Today latest talks – Raia Hadsell (DeepMind), Koushil Sreenath (UC Berkeley) and Antonio Bicchi (Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia)

Robotics Today held three more online talks since we published the one from Amanda Prorok (Learning to Communicate in Multi-Agent Systems). In this post we bring you the last talks that Robotics Today (currently on hiatus) uploaded to their YouTube channel: Raia Hadsell from DeepMind talking about ‘Scalable Robot Learning in Rich Environments’, Koushil Sreenath from UC Berkeley talking about ‘Safety-Critical Control for Dynamic Robots’, and Antonio Bicchi from the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia talking about ‘Planning and Learning Interaction with Variable Impedance’.
21 October 2021, by and

Sense Think Act Pocast: Erik Schluntz

In this episode, Audrow Nash interviews Erik Schluntz, co-founder and CTO of Cobalt Robotics, which makes a security guard robot. Erik speaks about how their robot handles elevators, how they have hum...
19 October 2021, by and

A robot that finds lost items

Researchers at MIT have created RFusion, a robotic arm with a camera and radio frequency (RF) antenna attached to its gripper, that fuses signals from the antenna with visual input from the camera to locate and retrieve an item, even if the item is buried under a pile and completely out of view.
18 October 2021, by

Robohub gets a fresh look

If you visited Robohub this week, you may have spotted a big change: how this blog looks now! On Tuesday (coinciding with Ada Lovelace Day and our ‘50 women in robotics that you need to know about‘ by chance), Robohub got a massive modernisation on its look by our technical director Ioannis K. Erripis and his team.
17 October 2021, by
ep.

339

podcast

High Capacity Ride Sharing, with Alex Wallar

In this episode, our interviewer Lilly speaks to Alex Wallar, co-founder and CTO of The Routing Company. Wallar shares his background in multi-robot path-planning and optimization, and his research on scheduling and routing algorithms for high-capacity ride-sharing. They discuss how The Routing Company helps cities meet the needs of their people, the technical ins and outs of their dispatcher and assignment system, and the importance of public transit to cities and their economics.
12 October 2021, by

50 women in robotics you need to know about 2021

It’s Ada Lovelace Day and once again we’re delighted to introduce you to “50 women in robotics you need to know about”! From the Afghanistan Girls Robotics Team to K.G.Engelhardt who in 1989 ...
12 October 2021, by and





©2021 - ROBOTS Association


 












©2021 - ROBOTS Association