Entertainment Robotics – Examples, Key Technologies and Perspectives

Entertainment Robotics – Examples, Key Technologies and Perspectives
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Birgit Graf, Oliver Barth
20 ديسمبر 2019
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Entertainment Robotics – Examples, Key Technologies and Perspectives
Birgit Graf, Oliver Barth

Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (IPA)
Nobelstr. 12, Stuttgart, Germany
Email: [email protected], [email protected]
1 Hardware Platform
2 Software Architecture
3 Robot Features
3.1 Self Localization
3.2 Robot Motion
3.2 Robot Motion
3.3 Safety concept
3.4 User Interface
4 Museum Application
4.1 Description of Robots
4.2 Experiences
5 Perspectives
Based on the successful hardware and software
architecture of Care-O-bot [7] [9], a new generation of
mobile robots has been designed at Fraunhofer Institute
of Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (IPA).
Three robots have been created to communicate with and
to entertain visitors in a museum. Their tasks include
welcoming visitors, leading a guided tour through the
museum or playing with a ball. The robots have been
running in this museum daily since March 25th 2000
without noteworthy problems. In this article the hardware
platform of the robots and the key technologies for
applying mobile robots successfully in public
environments such as navigation and communication
skills, safety concept, and handling are outlined. Further
the underlying control software of the robots is described.
Finally the application of the robots at the ‘Museum für
Kommunikation’ in Berlin is presented and perspectives
for future installations of mobile entertainment robots are given.
Keywords: Mobile Robots, Museum Robots, Software, Architecture, Navigation, Safety
Care-O-bot has been designed as a mobile home care
system. Based on this platform a group of mobile
entertainment robots has been created. Their installation
at the ‘Museum für Kommunikation’ in Berlin proves,
that these robots are suited for every day use. Due to the
refined way the robots interact with the visitors they are
well accepted by them. The positive attitude the visitors
develop to mobile robots paves the way for future
systems. However, the underlying technological concept
is not limited to the given applications. Further functions
could be:
?? ”Personal robot” in private homes (”robotic butler”),
robot valet
?? Mobil information desk in public areas (shopping
malls etc.)
?? Safety guard, night watchman
?? Robot receptionist in office buildings
Figure 7. Care-O-bot IIThus development and improvements are going on at
Fraunhofer IPA. A new Care-O-bot platform has been
build, including a manipulator arm to perform handling
tasks (Figure 7).
The value of robots in entertainment applications
depends on the degree of human-machine interaction
which can be used. At the moment, robots behaviour is
felt to be rather simple, because communication flow is
going in one direction only: Machines like tour guides can
bring a lot of visual or audible information to humans by
display and audio speakers. On the contrary, it is still not
possible to talk to machines so that words are properly
recognized, not to mention the problems in analysing
words and sentences to extract meaningful information. In
the long run, to bring a breakthrough to entertainment
robotics in widespread applications, input devices like
keyboards, buttons or touch screens have to be replaced
by audible communication between human and machine.
Another key technology in future applications is
manipulation. Having haptic contact to a robots
manipulator/ hand is a real sensation for humans, because
this kind of interaction is sensed to be very intimate. It is
rather easy to imagine some scenarios where haptic
interaction is mo st useful:
?? Promotion robots put some give-away articles to
?? Mobile robot servants deliver food and drinks to
restaurant visitors.
Unfortunately, haptic interaction has to deal with
safety issues. A robot arm that can carry a tablet with food
and drinks should be designed for a payload of 2 – 4 kg at
least. Taking into consideration 6 degrees of freedom and
an arm length of approx. 1m, the manipulators weight will
come to be in the range of 20 – 30 kg. It is obvious that
such an mechanism could do severe damage to humans if
drive or controller malfunctions occur. To bring
entertainment robot manipulators into application
anyway, some effort is done at the moment:
?? Bumpers at the arms hull bring arm motion to a stop
when touched
?? Sensors like cameras with image processing analyse
the robots workspace to prevent contact of robot arm
and humans
?? Sensors like capacitive sensors or ultrasonic
recognize approaching objects to the arms workspace
?? Mechanical couplings restrict the torque of robot arm
joints to a maximum value
Anyway each solution has its drawbacks, not to
mention that there is no guideline to get a certification of
the involved institutions at the moment (TÜV and
Berufsgenossenschaft in Germany).
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