AllemaniACs at ICIRA 2011

By Stefan Schiffer | January 5, 2012

As part of our continous development we demonstrate newly accomplished abilities of our domestic service robot platform every once in a while. One of those occasions was the 4th International Conference on Intelligent Robotics and Applications held in the Tivoli Business Center in Aachen.

Conference and Setup

This year’s International Conference on Intelligent Robotics and Applications (ICIRA), held for the fourth time, took place in Aachen in the city’s soccer stadium called “Tivoli”. Apart from presenting two papers (one on a modular gesture recognition system and one on fuzzy representations and control for domestic service robots) at the conference, we, the AllemaniACs, also gave demonstrations of our robot(s) throughout the conference. The robot running around caught a bit of attention with the conference participants and we had some interesting discussions on the various topics needed to make our demonstration work.

The AllemaniACs booth at ICIRA 2011. You can see our robot Caesar in the middle in front of of one of the tables used for the interactive manipulation demo. At the left table of our ‘home base’ we displayed the Festo Robotino robot that we also explained to interested visitors when it was not used in the follow demo.

Flexible Interactive Manipulation in a Domestic Setting

(or: Bring this thing over there!)

Our main new feature that we worked on in 2011 is flexible interactive manipulation. That is to say, first the robot can drive around, find, recognize and process places where objects can be collected from and put to, that is mostly tables. Then, the robot analyzes the table-top scene, segmenting the table plane and the objects on it. A human user can then pick one particular object by simply pointing to it. The robot will pick up this object using motion planning for its manipulation device. After that, the robot drives around looking for another table to put down the object, carefully selecting a region on the planar table surface with maximum clearance. Caesar will then start the procedure all over.

At ICIRA2011 we set up two tables and placed a set of colored plastic cups on them, so that the robot could shuttle between the two, picking up a cup at one table and delivering it to the other. At one of the tables a human could select a particular cup using pointing gestures. If no human is available the robot simply picked a cup by itself.

Multi-Robot Following Scenario

(or: Catch him if you can!)

As part of a our endeavour to work towards a multi-robot system we showcased a simple scenario where our robot Caesar is to follow another (human-controlled) robot around, namely the Robotino robot from Festo Didactic. The Robotino could be remote-controlled by conference participants and Caesar’s job was to detect it using its Kinect sensor and to follow its movement closely.

The detection part was being developed in this year’s KBSG lab course “Interactive Games with Robots”.

Above is a visitor remote-controlling the robotino (left) and our robot Caesar closely chasing after it (right).

Here’s a little video of Caesar following the Robotino around:

Summary

We had a good time at ICIRA, and we had various interesting and fruitful discussions with fellow roboticists. Both our demonstrations, the flexible interactive manipulation and the Robotino following went pretty much smoothly. We hope to see you soon at a RoboCup event or another demo event we might be giving sooner or later.

Lastly, here’s a photo of the team that put all this together.

Bahram Maleki-Fard, Caesar, Robotino (on the table), Stefan Schiffer, Tim Niemueller, Gerhard Lakemeyer (from left to right)