Intelligent Systems And Their Societies Walter Fritz

 

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"Robby", A Household Robot

 

Robby sitting (during construction).
With air cylinders and electromagnetic air valves, but without senses and interface.
This is the way Robby looks at present.
The blue tubes supply air to the (blue) cylinders that move the limbs.
The brass boxes are protectors for the rotation sensors (encoders) at the axles. In front of the chest (and in back) are the air valves. The head contains the eyes and the interface with the computer.
Not visible are the verticality sensors inside the chest and the pressure sensors at the sole of the feet.

 

A low cost humanoid robot
The study of intelligent systems (IS) has now advanced to a point where a serious intent should be made to build a low cost, intelligent household robot. For a description, why we should build robots, see "Why build Robots" (Enter for continuous reading, like a book) and "Robot Servants" (Exterior link).

A human intelligence depends on having senses like a human being and the possibility of actions (hand movements) somewhat similar to a human. This is needed, so the brain can form concepts related to theses senses and actions, and so that it can understand these concepts. See Meaning and Symbol Grounding (For continuous reading, like a book - do not enter here now)..

To begin the creation of a human-like intelligence we need to experiment with a robot having human-like senses and body. Below we describe such a robot, which, for cost and weight reasons, has been chosen to be a pneumatic one.

The author is now building a prototype of this robot (The body is finalized, the brain is in construction). He wishes to check out the difficulties of building this robot, of controlling the robot body from the brain and of teaching (not programming) the robot to react adequately to a given situation.

 

Specifications
A household robot should be of moderate size and weight, so that it does not cause fear. The size and strength of a 12 year old person seems about adequate. It should cost less than a car and be able to operate in a home. Therefore it should run on rechargeable batteries or be plugged into the household electricity system. It needs only enough intelligence to cook, serve at the table, make beds, and use existing household appliances.
For detailed specifications, see: Specifications for "Robby" (Enter for continuous reading, like a book).

 

Robot Brain
The mind of the robot is a "General Learner" program. I started running this program in a Macintosh Quadra 605, and plugged the eyes into that machine. Then I had an iMac, and tried out limb movements on that computer.
This robot mind is like a proverbial black box. The input is sense information that the brain transforms into concepts. The output are concepts that manage the limbs. The black box learns which outputs are reasonable for which inputs.
See details of the robot brain here.

Here (Enter for continuous reading, like a book). you can see how Robby's brain uses the Perceptual Control Theory.

 

What do you need to build your household robot
The robot should be build by a commercial enterprise. However, if you absolutely want to build your own, get together a group of persons, do not do it alone. It is too much work for one person and quite diversified knowledge is needed.
The abilities existing in the group should be leadership in the boss, then mechanical engineering, knowledge of pneumatics (if air cylinders are used), electrical engineering (if electric motors are used), electronics, computer programming, wood and iron working.
Be aware that this is an experimental robot project. There is no guarantee that the robot will finally work as desired.
For a discussion of the advantages and difficulties with the control of air cylinders click here (Enter for continuous reading, like a book)..

 

Prototype construction
The progress of the construction of the prototype has been as follows:


Cost
Total material cost of the prototype body 5200 dollars.
(Without computer and air compressor; I did not find a suitable air compressor)
The main material cost items were:

 

Training
Since the robot starts without any concepts or response rules in its memory it has to learn just like a human baby. It has to learn to stand, to walk and any other activity we want it to do.
Here is a tentative training program (Enter for continuous reading, like a book)..

 

It is interesting to learn how a robot is being build. Many persons around the world are trying to do this. For other minor robot projects see: Smaller Android Projects (Exterior link)

If you liked this page, please do me a favor: Tell your friends about it.
The author appreciates comments and suggestions.

 

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Last Edited 13 June 2013 / Walter Fritz
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