Prototype robot does kitchen cleanup

Last updated Feb 27, 2008 — 811 views

A Silicon Valley homebrew robotics club has released a video demonstrating its kitchen-cleaning robot. The robot scrapes dishes, loads a dishwasher, and scrubs a counter-top with “human-sized” arms and a few simple tools.

The ReadyBot was created with the goal of finding the answer to the question, “How many common household and commercial tasks can a two-armed, moderate-dexterity, simple robot perform?” Now, following several years of development and an investment of around $5,000 in parts (not including a laptop and a small server PC), ReadyBot Version 1 reportedly performs enough basic tasks to demonstrate the feasibility of a kitchen-cleanup robot.

ReadyBot reports for KP
(Click each thumbnail to enlarge; source:

The ReadyBot currently is controlled by a mix of autonomous and teleoperated processes. “We combined several off-the-shelf or shareware algorithms to control the movement and localization of the robot in the room, and to recognize and determine action for the objects on the tabletop,” the group says on its website. “These components are linked into a custom-written robot, arm, and object (RAO) operating system.”

The following YouTube video — released today — shows the ReadyBot performing several simple kitchen-cleanup operations. The bot will also be demonstrated at trade shows and other public venues, the group says.

(Click image to play video)

Bad news for Linux fans: currently the ReadyBot’s embedded software resides on a pair of Windows XP-based computers that are located within its box-like body. Motion control functions run on a laptop, while vision processing takes place on a compact quad-core server PC, lead developer Tom Benson told DeviceGuru.

When can you expect to buy one of these helpful gadgets? Although the group says its ReadyBot was “designed to be mass-produced,” currently it’s just a prototype. The group reckons that with suitable investment a shippable product could appear in as little as two years.

For further information, visit the ReadyBot group’s website.

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