ROBOSOFT introduces a new robuter aiming at assisting people at home

Brussels 04 December 2007Microsoft's 4th Innovation Day celebrated Living and Building Europe's Digital Future. ROBOSOFT's prototype demonstrated at Innovation Day showed how service robots can help elderly and handicapped people staying at home. It is based on robuLAB10, an off-the-shelf mobile platform, and a robuBOX, the generic robotic middleware based on Microsoft Robotics Studio, that comes with every robot produced by ROBOSOFT: it allows providers of services to customize it and offer various services to their customers.

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At the Innovation Day, government leaders, academic and industry stakeholders were given a sneak preview of the technologies of tomorrow. The event housed an exhibition looking at the digital future from a consumer perspective, spanning Microsoft's future technology and newly developed prototypes in their early development stage.

ROBOSOFT, a worldwide expert in service robotics solutions, confirmed that its over 20 year-old vision that a new kind of robots called "robuters" will help people in everyday life before 2011, is now becoming true thanks to recent advances in software for robots. "We think that the usages are very different depending on the context", stated Vincent Dupourque, CEO of ROBOSOFT. "That is why we have developed this new robuter as a modular system. Even if it comes with basic hardware and advanced robotic software functions, it can be customized and enhanced by developers and integrators willing to implement and deploy their own services to people staying at home."

This new prototype is already available for evaluation. It illustrates services which can be performed by robots at home: social interactions, remote telemedicine, cognitive prosthesis, domestic duties like cleaning. By connecting to the robot via Internet, relatives are able to visit grandma, find her in the apartment and chat. In the same way, physicians can remotely visit their patients who are at home.

This robuter is also able to monitor and record person and house's activities, thanks to dedicated sensors, in order to make sure everything is fine. The robot can act as a real helpmate too: a lot of people forget daily duties such as medications, drinking ... due to mental illness. The robot can also be a companion, says what's on TV on request or bring entertainment.

The software flexibility of the robuter is possible thanks to ROBOSOFT's robuBOX integrating the latest advances in robotics software. RobuBOX is based on Microsoft Robotics Studio, the Windows-based environment for robotics developers allowing a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) for robotics controllers, leading to more flexible and re-usable software components. ROBOSOFT's robuBOX provides high-level services, simulated robots and environments, allowing developers to invent and implement more and more efficient services to the persons using robots.

The RobuBOX launch took place in mid-2006. Several robots embedding the robuBOX have been deployed since: Estele, the remote tele-echography system already in operation in four French Hospitals; robuCAB, an automatic vehicle guided by GPS; a mobile robot for construction sites carrying pallets of materials; as well as the off-the-shelf ROBOSOFT robuLAB and robuROC mobile platforms for miscellaneous indoor and outdoor applications.

robuBOX is now available and allows robotics integrators and mass market manufacturers to seamlessly build a variety of advanced robotics solutions using the Microsoft Robotics Studio environment.

ROBOSOFT is the European expert in service robotics. With more than 20 years of recognized scientific and industrial expertise in this field, ROBOSOFT provides advanced robotics solutions for transport, cleaning, surveillance, health care and research markets since 1985.

Beyond professional applications, the era of personal robotics is now starting. ROBOSOFT thinks that its service robots called "robuters" will be part of everyday life within 5 years. According to forecasts of Japan Robotics Association: in 2010 worldwide the personal and service robotics market will reach 17 billion dollars. Robuters will make easier everybody's life in activities such as entertainment, education, culture, health care, assistance to elderly and handicapped people etc.

In order to bring these applications to life, ROBOSOFT already integrates 80 percent of software complexity in its robuBOX, a software module based on Microsoft Robotics Studio, which is already incorporated in ROBOSOFT's robots, but can also be licensed to integrators and robots manufacturers for mass production. More company news is available in the VMW August 2007 article Robosoft unveils robuDOG, a 4-legged robot at the RoboCup.


Leslie Versweyveld

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