Our mobile telepresence robot is fitted with a robotic manipulator that will allow a person to virtually manipulate the avatar environment. We have shown our robot called “Persona” to be capable of moving up and down ramps, use elevators, manipulate objects such as chess pieces, and to lift and transport loads up to 4.5 kg.
Movie of Current Progress
Current telepresence robots such as the Beam (Suitable Technologies), Double (Double Robotics), Ava 500 (iRobot), QB (Anybots) are all capable of allowing a person to virtually attend meetings using a robot for presence. They are limited however in their ability to manipulate their environment. This becomes a problem if a person wishes to move around their environment easily. Tasks such as opening doors, delivering or collecting and transporting objects, using an elevator to ascend to different floors, all become difficult. A telepresence robot that is capable of such tasks could be useful for transporting items in, restaurants, aged care facilities, schools and universities, hotels, hospitals, manufacturing plants, libraries, inventory managements systems or the office.
Holonomic Motion of Base
Persona’s scoop is capable of holonomic motion although the base is strictly a differentially driven robot. This holonomic motion capability might be useful for accurately positioning the scoop for loading or unloading the robot.
Mast and Scoop
Can lift up to 4.5kg. Prismatic motion is gravity compensated under no load conditions.
Arm and Gripper
The 6 Degree of Freedom arm has a compliant 2 finger Velo made by Willow Garage. This gripper designed and made by Willow Garage can be used for manipulating many objects as can be seen from this video below:
A Nexus 10 tablet is installed on top of the robot that supports many web conferencing apps such as Google Hangouts and Skype. It is hoped that the tablet will eventually be able to control the whole robot and the robot could be operated through a web interface, however we are yet to fully realize this goal and all teleoperation is currently done while an operator is in the same room as the robot.