Readybot, a research group that last year released videos of a simple prototype cleaning robot, has revealed that the robot is managed through a combination of cloud-based software and skilled remote teleoperators.
The company’s Cloud Robotics Collaborative Control (CRCC) system monitors a semi-autonomous robot via a broadband connection. When faced with a particularly tricky task, such as opening a cabinet door, the robot will send a request for a human supervisor to step in and take over. The human operator does this by selecting or refining one of several prepared code of instructions (“scripts”) or writing new ones, according to Readybot’s director, Tom Benson. The CRCC system is designed to let a single user supervise a large team of robots.
“This has the potential to deploy large quantities of robots much sooner, because they’re cheaper and because you aren’t required to build high levels of autonomy,” Benson said. “It’s much more forgiving in the sense of allowing you to have less sophisticated systems and still do the job.” Benson says that Readybots would be best suited for applications like home assist or manual labor.
Using a regular mouse and monitor, a user can switch between 3D simulations of different robots (with a video feed showing the bot’s environment) and can swap between supervising and taking completely control of a robot. Currently, the software can control a single prototype Readybot and up to nine virtual robots.
The company says it took inspiration from video gamers by examining how people playing World of Warcraft, The Sims, and other games and designing the system based on those observations. Gamers who tested out Readybot’s operating software were able to operate it quickly and efficiently, according to the group. People who have played a lot of video games “can manage large amounts of remote devices and can think in that way,” says Benson. “They are capable of managing vast amounts of multitasking.”
Courtesy of Readybot
So far, Readybot can clear a kitchen table, load a dishwasher, transport objects, paint walls, and clean and dry surfaces. The group is currently looking for partners to build more prototypes and to expand the capabilities of CRCC.
This artist is dominating AI-generated art. And he’s not happy about it.
Greg Rutkowski is a more popular prompt than Picasso.
VR is as good as psychedelics at helping people reach transcendence
On key metrics, a VR experience elicited a response indistinguishable from subjects who took medium doses of LSD or magic mushrooms.
This nanoparticle could be the key to a universal covid vaccine
Ending the covid pandemic might well require a vaccine that protects against any new strains. Researchers may have found a strategy that will work.
How do strong muscles keep your brain healthy?
There’s a robust molecular language being spoken between your muscles and your brain.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.