Robots have been roaming, rolling and bumping around on internet for quite some time now. Most of them made to help us in one way or another. We see two strikingly different versions of them – the cute-looking or the fierce head-less.
The time isn’t far when all of our Isaac Asimov’s novel fantasies will come to life. Robots helping us in our daily chores, taking care of children, tending to patients in hospitals and what not. As much as we might want it, the level of self-sufficiency like the one Rosie from the Jetsons had, might take a little while longer. Whichever logistical challenges we are facing right now, we have started to strut on a path towards bringing greater automation in our daily lives.
The Era of Extensible Robots
The robots we have today are rather basic, like the famous burger-flipping robots. However, the vision of a more flexible house robot is a rather long-term longing. For example, a burger-flipping robot wouldn’t know how to tuck a child into bed. There’s a whole set of complex actions and programming plus machine’s learning over time, that goes into this. Whereas, we are just beginning to do that.
Up-and-coming steps, towards developing more of such robots that are capable of learning and building their skill set with limited prior programming. These robots will be able to perform complex tasks and enhance their skill set over time.
Meet Misty-the Extensible Robot
We see two major types of robots – in terms of appearance – the ones with cute, harmless, doe-eyed appearance whereas the others with bodies that are more functional and lack basic body parts like heads at times. Misty, as the name suggests is the former, cute-type.
Misty Robotics developed this adorable little extensible and flexible robot, Misty. Let us dive into the features and specifications of this little friend, as narrated by Ben Edwards, the head developer of Misty Robotics.
One Part Software and One Part Hardware
Misty was built in collaboration with Microsoft and Qualcomm Technologies. It uses Windows IoT Core operating system and Android 8 Oreo for navigation and computer vision. All of Misty’s codes are written in C#. Ben further added that they intend on shifting to .NET Core that is similar to C# but provides greater flexibility across platforms like macOS, Windows, Linus, etc. They have also collaborated with Azure Cognitive Services and the text-to-speech engine to make misty more equipped.
Misty comes equipped with high-tech Qualcomm processors like:
- Qualcomm® Snapdragon 820™ mobile processor
- Qualcomm® Snapdragon 410™ processor
You can see a line of sensors across its forehead. Those are vision sensors made by Occipital. Misty’s computer vision comes equipped with facial recognition, is supported by a 166° wide-angle camera, deep-learning AI and a 4K camera. Misty is capable of navigating even in the pitch dark. It also has a flashlight placed near its ear, which it can turn on whenever necessary. It is also capable of recognizing spaces and people.
Touch and Sound
Misty comes with six highly sensitive touch sensors on head and chin. It is also capable of reacting to a little scratch near the chin by tilting its head like a cute puppy. The LED display as Misty’s Doe eyes helps in emoting its reactions more effectively.
Misty has three far-field microphones, and two high-quality speakers installed at the front side. It is capable of turning its head to the person talking to them.
All four corners of Misty’s base have 10 bump sensors installed on its corners. 3 tied on each front corner, whereas 2 on each rear corner. Hence ensuring smooth glide without bumping into obstacles or falling off things like tables. She can make a 3D map of a room and navigate smoothly through it.
Misty has replaceable arms designed for different purposes. Changing the arm is as easy as removing a single screw. Misty’s arm is customizable into a cup holder, or you can add a trailer to it too. The possibilities end where your imagination does. Misty is entirely extensible. You can dream of something new and add it to this little friend of yours.
Misty can self-dock and power itself up whenever it is needed. It can also navigate itself to the charging panel, even in the pitch dark.
She has a backpack that turns it into a robotic base for all your current and future hardware imaginations. The backpack allows expandability via USB.
Misty’s Utility as a Robot
Ben thinks Misty can be very helpful in health and elder care. Like the odds of Misty, a friendly robot that can offer you companionship on a very natural level. He also mentioned that Microsoft has shown interest in Misty’s applications in management. For example, it can go around in a store to give status reports and other activities that are time-consuming and expensive for humans to perform.
This robot has endless utilities and possibilities one can utilize it in. Only time will unravel all the possibilities. Misty is currently priced a $2400, a rather pricey one. But Ben believes that consumers will find utility in investing such amount in Misty once developers start being creative in their idea to use her.
Do you have a great idea? Let me know in the comments below or email me!