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Jul 22, 2008

Robot butler

From Smart Mobs 

Care-O-bot 3 serving a drink

(Credit: Fraunhofer IPA
German researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute have introduced their third generation of household robots, the Care-O-Bot 3. The robot has has a flexible arm with seven degrees of freedom and a hand with three fingers. This allows it to pick up bottles, cups and similar objects and to operate machines.

Here are the major functionalities of Care-O-bot 3:


  • Omnidirectional Navigation: Care-O-bot 3 has an omnidirectional platform, with four steered and driven wheels. This kinematic system enables the robot to move in any desired direction and therefore also safely to negotiate narrow passages.
  • Safe Manipulation: Care-O-bot 3 is equipped with a highly flexible, commercial arm with seven degrees of freedom as well as with a three-finger hand. This makes it capable of gripping and operating a large number of different everyday objects.
  • 3D Environment Detection: A multiplicity of sensors enables Care-O-bot 3 to detect the environment in which it is operating. These range from stereo vision colour cameras and laser scanners to a 3D depth-image camera.
  • Software Architecture/Middleware: Several interlinked computers are used to evaluate and control the sensors and actuators inside the robot. The system resources are coordinated and managed by a specially developed middleware which controls communications between the individual processes and which reacts appropriately in the event of a malfunction.
  • Human-Machine Interaction: The primary interface between Care-Obot 3 and the user consists of a tray attached to the front of the robot, which carries objects for exchange between the human and the robot. The tray includes a touch screen and retracts automatically when not in use. A laser projector on the gripper also enables the robot to project information onto objects.

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