Robosoft unveils ESTELE, worldwide first health care robot for tele-echography

Bidart 03 April 2007ESTELE is officialy launched at Med-e-Tel, the International Educational and Networking Forum for eHealth, Telemedicine and Health ICT, held in Luxembourg, April 18-20. ESTELE is a tele-operated robotic system allowing any expert clinician to remotely perform echographic diagnosis as if he was "on site". ESTELE allows hospital staff to perform an echography without a physician expert on site; hospitals and health care centres to easily share their specialists and to strengthen their emergency capabilities and availability; and expert physicians to double and secure any difficult diagnosis.

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ESTELE implements the robuBOX leading technology of Robosoft. This concept of tele-echography, validated by the LVR - Robotics & Vision Laboratory - of Bourges, on an original idea of Professor Arbeille and carried out first by the European Spatial Agency and the CNES, has been industrialized by Robosoft, who, thanks to its experience in service robotics, succeeded in developing and producing off-the-shelf robots.

One of the ESTELE characteristics is to incorporate the leading technology of Robosoft, RobuBOX, developed with Microsoft Robotics Studio. This technology allowed to quickly finalize development and industrialization of this new health care robot. Robosoft is now considering wide deployment of this promising product in 2007 with clear interest from hospitals and other health care centres, but also first aid organisations anywhere in the world.

With ESTELE, Robosoft demonstrates that a tele-echography robot can be used anywhere in the world, by any medical assistant and operated by a specialist from his desk, using available data transmission systems. Thus, the latest medical advances and the highest levels of expertise are no longer out of reach of less industrialized countries.

Robosoft predicts that by 2011, service robots, or so-called "Robuters", will be part of people's everyday life. This vision is in sync with reality in which the ageing population means fewer workers and more retired persons. An ageing population requires more services like security, cleaning or short-distance transport. Robuters will help elderly wanting to stay at home as long as possible, helping them to move and communicate with their relatives. Today, such Robuters already allow grandparents to stay permanently connected to their families who care for them, using UMTS telephones.

Vincent Dupourqué, CEO of Robosoft, the European expert in service robotics, pointed out that his company is in the core of innovation's best solutions with its service robots that allow substantial improvement for everybody's life. Mr. Dupourqué predicts that by 2011, Robuters will be part of everyday life, exactly the same way computers are part of life today. With "2011, the Robuter Odyssey", Mr. Dupourqué is calling European research and industry to take up the challenge with him.

In this case, with ESTELE, the improvements are also tangible for health care professionals. First results of ESTELE are improvements and bargains on quality care for patients anytime and anywhere; reduced waiting time for patients; handling threats linked with conveying such as tire, stress, road threat, etc.; more time for the physician, who does not have to travel towards the patient in case of emergency; and reduced health care expenses for social security with no ambulance needed and simplified emergency procedures.

Robosoft conceives, creates, produces and distributes today's professional robots and tomorrow's consumer robots, Robuters, to make people's life easier. Robosoft always defended the idea that software for robots is not the same as software for PCs. Today, that is obvious for everybody. In the same way, Robosoft is to the robot what Microsoft is to the computer.

The lab, the R&D section of the company, designs and develops software that will animate the robots of tomorrow; either Robosoft's own robots in the solutions department; partners integrator ones in the modules department; or robot maker ones in the technology department. The future views of Robosoft and Microsoft are converging. That is why both companies became partners for the best of robotics, to develop by 2011 numerous applications like people assistance, education, supervision, security, health, transportation, and so on.

Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft Corporation, will remember Robosoft's ESTELE. He took time to discover the robot during Microsoft's Innovation Day in Brussels in the fall of 2006. Microsoft Innovation Day is an event dedicated to giving a sneak preview of tomorrow's technologies to government leaders, academic and industry stakeholders, and media. During this demonstration, Mr. Gates was joined by Mr. Matti Vanhanen, Finland's Prime Minister and current President of the European Union; Charles Leadbeater, Innovation Adviser to UK Prime Minister Tony Blair; as well as the politic leaders and managers of the European Union.

Vincent Dupourqué presenting ESTELE to Bill Gates at Innovation Day

Robosoft announced its support for Microsoft Robotics Studio (MSRS), a new tool based on Windows, for developers, amateurs and professionals, to easily create robotic applications for a wide range of computing platforms. Robosoft, partner of Microsoft, provides a first range of professional service robots compatible with MSRS, an advanced robotics control software (robuBOX) developed with MSRS to quickly design powerful mobile robots and free tutorials to build simulations of existing robots.

"As soon as we evaluated Microsoft Robotics Studio, we decided to immediately use it for all our robotic software developments", stated Vincent Dupourqué, CEO of Robosoft. "Microsoft Robotics Studio, with its advanced simulation tools, and its capability to deploy distributed applications, allows our engineers and customers to develop reliable applications much faster than ever."

"We have been nicely surprised by the quick results obtained by Robosoft in such a short time", stated Tandy Trower, general manager of the Microsoft Robotics Group at Microsoft Corporation. "This demonstrates how flexible Microsoft Robotics Studio is and what a seasoned robotic company such as Robosoft can do with it. In particular, we expect both Microsoft Robotics Studio and Robosoft's robuBOX to rapidly become a must-have for robotics engineers to seamlessly build powerful robotic solutions in various industrial and domestic applications."

Robotics require different software from computers: real time management which is the base of all robotics algorithms and robustness are their two main characteristics. Robosoft already provides a range of robots entirely programmed with MSRS, ready to use for various robotics applications.

Robots available to date are:

  • robuLAB, an indoor platform for research, automated transportation of goods in hospitals and warehouses, supervision or entertainment application;
  • robuROC, an outdoor platform for military and security applications;
  • robuARM, a robotic arm with 6 degrees freedom designed to be embedded on mobile platforms;
  • robuCAB, a robot for automatic people transportation

On the other hand, Robosoft provides the robuBOX, a generic and advanced robotics controller software, developed with Microsoft Robotics Studio and implementing high-level mobile robotic functions like path generation and following, obstacle avoidance, localization, etc. It aims at quickly robotizing any type of mobile platforms and vehicles. The robuBOX provides integrators and manufacturers with an off-the-shelf set of software modules to quickly build standalone or fleets of service robots, such as Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGV), scrubbing machines, golf cars, and so on.

Robosoft also provides a set of tutorials for Microsoft Robotics Studio showing how to build models of real robots for simulations.


Leslie Versweyveld

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