tHE CURIOUS INDUSTRIAL ROBOT
Mimus is an industrial robot that can interact with the world around it. She is unlike any other industrial robot. Instead of being programmed in advance to follow a set routine, she is able to explore and move about her entire enclosure and interact with those around it. There is an array of sensors spread around the enclosure that allow Mimus to 'see' those that want to interact with her. Mimus was created as a response to the social fear of robots, since they are primarily seen as job takers. Mimus attempts to help us have empathy for these machines. We believe that Mimus not only provides a new way to interact with robots, she also shows us that there is possibility for collaboration between humans and machines.
How She Works
Mimus is has two major components that bring her to life: her vision system and the robot itself. Her vision system is made up of eight depth-sensing cameras that allow us to see 18" to about 7' above the floor. Our software stitches together all of the data from the eight cameras to make one cohesive view of her environment. We then identify each person in the scene and then assign to them set of attributes such as their position in space, speed, and how long they have been in view. From these explicit attributes we can assume implicit attributes such as their activity and engagement levels. All of this helps Mimus choose the most interesting person to interact with. For example, if a person has been in the scene for a long period of time and is not moving around much Mimus will then jump from them to another more 'interesting' person. Once you have Mimus' attention, you have to work to keep it or she just might even go to sleep.
The second component is the robot itself or, more specifically, the code that runs on the robot controller. This code is responsible for taking the data from the vision system and transforming that into smooth motion for the robot. Since Mimus' position is constantly changing, we added checks in the robot code to prevent her from damaging herself or potentially putting herself into a fatal position, know as a singularity. This ensures that Mimus can move all around her work zone without encountering errors.
Together, the two systems bring Mimus to life and allow here to interact to with those around her.