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Taiwan University Students Build Tour-Guide Robot

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the to-your-right-to-your-left dept.

Robotics 35

BobB-nw writes "A group of engineering students and their professor at National Taiwan University have built a robot that can map out the area it's operating in and offer guided tours. The robot, named 'Hsiao Mei,' uses laser mapping and GPS technology to navigate on its own, including around corners and obstacles such as tables and chairs. In the first public demonstration on Thursday, an engineering student with a wireless remote control first took the robot through the floor of a small museum on the university's campus so it could create a map for itself. After the initial run-through, the robot was able to make an unaided journey around the floor."

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GPS? (1)

noname444 (1182107) | more than 4 years ago | (#29144251)

I've worked on a similar project, but we avoided GPS, since it doesn't work very well indoors.
What I want to know is if TFA is wrong, or if they're really using GPS. If it works fairly well, that would have made our lives a lot easier during my project.

Easter egg (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29144261)

The robot does the goatse [goatse.fr] .

Re:Easter egg (2, Funny)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 4 years ago | (#29144991)

There's a different between: "where the sun doesn't shine" and "where the satellite doesn't shine"

Re:GPS? (5, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29144329)

I've worked on a similar project, but we avoided GPS, since it doesn't work very well indoors.
What I want to know is if TFA is wrong, or if they're really using GPS. If it works fairly well, that would have made our lives a lot easier during my project.

Synthetic indoor GPS is commonly used for robotics.

Re:GPS? (3, Interesting)

pengipengi (1352837) | more than 4 years ago | (#29144353)

Is it GPS then?

GPS is Global Positioning System. Even though the room is big, it's not global.

I think a better acronym would be LPS, Local Positioning System. But I've never heard that acronym before, and urban dictionary translates it to something else :P

Re:GPS? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29145511)

Could you explain this, or provide some links? The only search result I get, is this very post:
http://www.google.com/search?q=%22Synthetic+indoor+GPS%22&hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&rls=org.gentoo:en-US:official&filter=0 [google.com]

Re:GPS? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29151631)

Yeah looks like its not as widespread as I thought it was, to say the least.

That's pretty cool. Roomba could use it! (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#29144271)

One of the problems I have with the Roomba is how it only operates in a pattern and uses sensors to adjust its path. However, if it were able to map the floor, it could more efficiently cover the entire area without having to retread its steps all the time. Naturally, it would need to test the boundaries every once in a while to see if the boundaries are still valid, but that wouldn't have to be done every single time it swept back and forth.

I wonder if such mapping technology could be used to automatically surf websites in the manner of actual users (as opposed to text spiders which just scan the text for interesting tags). The use of visually mapping the screen would be to simulate actual user interaction with the page. Is the user skipping over large parts of the page. Is the user confused by the weird +- bar in the middle of the story? Wouldn't a couple buttons on the upper right side of the story be preferable to a bar cutting right between the story and the comments link.

I wonder what the name means in Chinese.

Re:That's pretty cool. Roomba could use it! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29144313)

You want an Electrolux Trilobite [wikipedia.org]

Re:That's pretty cool. Roomba could use it! (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 4 years ago | (#29145007)

Is higher than the Roomba, and thus doesn't go under beds. And costs more moolah.

Re:That's pretty cool. Roomba could use it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29145705)

you want this:

http://www.ais.uni-bonn.de/WS0809/PP_RN.html

Re:That's pretty cool. Roomba could use it! (3, Informative)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 4 years ago | (#29144617)

Re:That's pretty cool. Roomba could use it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29145065)

Eh? Is it anatomically correct?

Re:That's pretty cool. Roomba could use it! (2, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#29144735)

I'd be happy with AI sufficient to make it chase the cat.

But... can it defend itself? (1)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 4 years ago | (#29147305)

Does it contain self defense mechanism against theft and dismemberment? Will it use deadly force to assure its own continued existence? Oh wait...

Robot guide (4, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#29144299)

"On your left, you may observe a thirteenth century representa... GZHRRRZT... ANNIHILATE HUMANS! ANNIHILATE HUMANS!"

I love this (2, Funny)

krou (1027572) | more than 4 years ago | (#29144379)

Combine this with the evil and deceptive AI being worked on, and we can have a real laugh watching these robots direct museum visitors into open elevator shafts, or into puddles of water on marble floors. "Beep, you're on Candid Camera" will be all the rage amongst our new robotic overlords (which I, of course, welcome).

Re:I love this (2, Funny)

BSAtHome (455370) | more than 4 years ago | (#29144587)

Hello, I am your robotic overlord and tour guide for the day. Please keep your hands off and eyes on the exhibits. My camera system sees all and sensor array hears all. Please also note that I am equipped with multiple dead-man switches, for your convenience, and may explode at any time.

Thats 10 year old news (3, Informative)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 4 years ago | (#29144421)

http://idw-online.de/pages/de/news12995 [idw-online.de]

Thats the google query where you can find more articles about the project: http://www.google.com/search?q=roboter+baumarkt+ilmenau [google.com]

Sorry but obviosly that project was mainly covered in the german press.

English Homepage: http://www.tu-ilmenau.de/fakia/Projects.2202.0.html?&L=1 [tu-ilmenau.de]

Re:Thats 10 year old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29144821)

that is one righteous looking robot!

What is this? News for robots! (3, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#29144625)

Or is it just robot season? We've had throwable robots, fleash-eating robots, evil robots, deceptive robots...

Don't get me wrong, I love robots, it's just I've never seen so much robot related news in a week before.

Bite my shiny metal ass.

Re:What is this? News for robots! (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#29144777)

Or is it just robot season? We've had throwable robots, fleash-eating robots, evil robots, deceptive robots...

And the joke grows ever bigger.

The janitor pops out of his bunker just for a second to throw what seems to be a malformed metal egg with deep red stains over its dark shiny skin. The egg bounces a couple times on the granite museum floor before coming to a stop in front of the tourists.
A gust of green vapours escape the egg as it slowly deploys legs, arms and an open mouth with teeth that seem to have been recently sharpened down to points.

"Good morning. I'll be your robotic guide" says the egg robot with a voice that ressembles an old magnetic tape. Its pitch raises and lowers, giving the impression it's emphasising random words.

"I hope you'll enjoy your visit as much as I'll enjoy you." A vicious grin lights the robot's face for an instant. "I mean, it. As I'll enjoy it".

Re:What is this? News for robots! (1)

spacefiddle (620205) | more than 4 years ago | (#29146307)

Robot season!
Droid season!
Robot season!
Droid season!

Re:What is this? News for robots! (1)

metaforest (685350) | more than 4 years ago | (#29153629)

Wobot Season!
Duck Season!
Wobot Season!
Duck Season!
WOBOT SEASON!
DUCK SEASON!

Shoot him now!
Oh be quiet he doesn't have to shoot you now!

Oh, er sorry...

I'm actually quite surprised at this (3, Funny)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 4 years ago | (#29144667)

I had sort of assumed that all university tour guides were robots. They sure seemed that way to me.

Not of much use ... (2, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#29144715)

... as a tour guide unless it can dodge traffic crossing an Italian traffic circle.

SLAM (4, Informative)

Beezlebub33 (1220368) | more than 4 years ago | (#29144797)

The problem with this sort of article is that it doesn't say how the thing actually works. They are trying to solve the 'SLAM' or Simultaneous Localization and Mapping [wikipedia.org] problem. The best approaches have recently been particle filter based. See the work by Sebastian Thrun at Stanford or Montemerlo's dissertation [cmu.edu] at CMU. I would have to guess that they are using a similar approach.
But of course this has been done before. The discussed project looks very similar to Minerva [cmu.edu] .

Re:SLAM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29145121)

But of course this has been done before. The discussed project looks very similar to Minerva [cmu.edu].

Yeah, but this time it was done in Taiwan. Pittsburgh doesn't register on the Weeaboo radar.

Huh... doesn't Hsiao Mei sound like (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29144979)

..."show me"? If so, great name!

Re:Huh... doesn't Hsiao Mei sound like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29149775)

I thought the exact same thing!

George Lucas? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29145073)

So you mean a Protocol Droid???
Pffft. Let me know when they get to the T3-M4...

bah (1)

spacefiddle (620205) | more than 4 years ago | (#29146251)

NO TOURBOTS [wikipedia.org] .

Fail! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29146389)

"with a wireless remote control"

1. Pretend you made a tour guide robot
2. Hide the remote control when using said robot
3. Post story about the robot on slashdot
4. Profit!

(As you can tell I didn't read TFA...)

We're walking, we're walking... (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 4 years ago | (#29148107)

"On your right is a chair. On the left is the roommate, he's always passed out on the floor. Here is where I ..fall..down..the..stairs. Tour continues when someone picks me up."

I think I've seen this (1)

ehaggis (879721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29148263)

It's called "Johnny Cab".
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