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Asked — Edited

Community Combined Robot Build

Hey everyone - there's been chatter about potentially working together to build a robot as a combined community effort. I don't believe anything like that has ever been attempted (or accomplished) before, anywhere. It would sure make waves in the industry! The idea was inspired by conversation about "struggling" or "failed" robot companies. Everyone has opinion feedback on what they believe the cause of the industry stagnancy is - and there's no right or wrong opinion because at this stage of the industry, different people/companies/products are affected by different industry challenges.

And, as a optimist, I suggested "Hey, there's no shortage of industry complaints and challenges, so why don't we talk about how to turn it around and build a robot that proves us right". If someone else can do it, we can do - so I'd rather it be us:) 

So, like, wow... I get pretty stoked thinking about this whole thing. If we come up with an agreement on what a robot should do, we can split up the responsibilities and combine them into one project. It'll also help the software grow because I imagine there would be some interesting requirements. 

On that note, I've moved all of the chatter on this topic here. What do you think? Let's work together and make something awesome!

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I sent this email to a forum member but I thought I would share here and ask for input from others. 

We are seeing an increase in delivery robots as a result of the pandemic. They are delivering food in condo's, hotel rooms etc.  Restaurants who are permitted to stay open also want to protect staff. So delivering food to tables is also a requirement. 

The idea is to start a company making lightweight low cost delivery robots.  People are bringing delivery robots in from China but they retail starting at $10,000 https://www.robotshop.com/en/catalogsearch/result/?q=delivery&order=relevance&dir=desc

Clearpath was going to use the roomba to build a robot but they abandoned the project and opensourced everything 3 years ago.  (BSD Licence)  https://github.com/turtlebot-euclid/Turtlebot_Euclid. Not sure why they abandoned the project. I assume because they really didn't have a use case and the cost to buy Roomba back then were quite pricey. It was done with ROS but could easily be done in ARC, and I heard some rumours of ROS and ARC working together in a future release :-) 

As others have pointed out and are working with the create2 (roomba 600) for $199 at the moment.  https://store.irobot.com/default/create-programmable-programmable-robot-irobot-create-2/RC65099.html add a charging base that's $40 . if you developed a low cost shelving unit that housed all of the electronics, camera, battery, wifi etc and a couple of shelves for delivery.   You could probably build the delivery robots for < $1000. Maybe you could sell for $2000-$3000.   

We could probably make the base and shelves using a laser cutter and acrylic (3D printing is a little expensive and slow) and when you get some sales make in bulk aluminium like the Clearpath robot. 

https://github.com/ibaranov-cp/Turtlebot_Euclid/blob/master/turtle-bot-euclid-6.jpgUser-inserted image

https://www.robotshop.com/media/catalog/product/cache/image/1350x/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/k/e/keenon-commercial-delivery-robot-t6_1.jpgUser-inserted image
I could see that. If its gonna deliver food in a restaurant.  You might want it to be able to hold the typical server tray, and the bots hight should be slighty taller than the average table height.

The hospital in my town uses robots to deliver meds, blood,and and food to all rooms and on all floors, guded by wireless sensors in the celing on each floor.

Robot dev cost are def a big factor. Ive been working on HEMI a lilttle over a year now and its cost me close to $10K US already.

Should be interestingto see what we could come up with here:)
Height is one of the issues with the Roomba. I built my telepresence robot with one and it is a little unstable.  I need to print out the new bin and add a caster wheel for greater stability. 
I agree on the dev costs being a major drain and building a self charging robot is a huge expense but bolting on components on an existing robot should take costs and time down. 
VSLAM is maturing and GPU/CPU integrated solutions like Jetson Xavier NX are coming down in price $400 and will open up robot vision to low cost robots. https://www.seeedstudio.com/NVIDIA-Jetson-Xavier-NX-Developer-Kit-p-4573.html 
@DJ We we really need a containerized .net core version of ARC on linux so we can take advantage of these types of technology.
You can use exosphere to map out the environment and train and use exosphere when issues occur.
Hey Nink that Keenon body looks pretty futuristic on the Roomba,really like that,must be light weight and still house the electronic expansion boards, Robotshop sells bodies that could fit roomba as well, The create 2 comes with the charging station so no need to buy that extra $40.00
.The height is always an issue depending what floor or terrain it needs to travel on, I was able to fit all my electronics on the Roomba cover plate but looks like a bird nest all compacted on small area. so for sure will look at different body types I can interchange with...Halloween can be a Zombie or Terminator,take to hospital and could be that Futuristic body, I do believe Telepresence(did i spell that correct?) will be part of the futeure as in Japan they are all over the place in Airports and stuff as Information booth robots and like I said what sick kid in a hospital does not love a cute robot coming to visit?
Hi Robo Rad, 
Great news re charging station included. Already saved $40 we could use that for an LED display.  
I don't think it is actually a Roomba under the Keenon I just thought it was a good design of what it could look like although you couldn't have that many shelves as I don't believe it could handle the weight (maybe 2 shelves).  I like your idea of interchangeable  clip on bodies depending on what it needs to do. 
Business model could be something like $100 a week for Robot as a Service (Maybe min 3 months so we recoup costs) this way we can have people monitoring the robots, cover maintenance etc. If the use case doesn't work that's ok, they send the robot back and we use it for another use case/customer.
#29   — Edited
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Ya I just found a great body for 20 bucks at Walmart to get started extremely light weight black hard plastic fits perfectly over Roomba and if too tall it can be reduced to half size as it is 2 pieces.My other Cylon project head is also just right size. Can't wait to see the Cylon vacuum and then return to charging dock shut itself down to recharge.This is a great winter project. The Ezb , battery and electronics all fit in User-inserted image
A telepresence Roomba on the table would clean some plates for sure!!:D
The vacuum suction power is impressive on these Roombas,mine is missing the brushes but it is still picking up very fine dust!
I think if we wanted to use a Roomba as delivery bot we would need to widen the base of the Roomba and make it a little more stable with some more casters. Probably 2 casters at the back a bit like this.  User-inserted image
This would allow us to bolt a much larger base on top of the Roomba so we could stack shelves on top.

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I will be trying for 5 feet on mine as I have very flat smooth hard wood floor here and will be able to slow down the Jerky Fast stock movements. also 2 Sonar sensors for the upper body.
Dang Robo Rad. That's a nice looking floor. Put some plywood under those lead acid batteries!
#36   — Edited
Lol! Perry you are so right these acid batteries can start to leak with a simple temperature change in the room!

----The second biggest battery is 12 volt 18 Amps there ,I tried it in the body bucket,and the Roomba was able to carry on as if no extra weight was added! Half the size of a regular car battery and about 8 pounds of weight there.
I am wondering if a home food delivery bot would be a good idea.  Deliver Uber eats door dash etc. 

we get some old jazzy wheelchairs as a base you can pick them up pretty cheap on craigs list etc. Strip them down and add a box for food a camera, cell phone and a realsense  then use exosphere to control them.  We can drive them remote and map out their paths and then when we have enough data let them go autonomous.  I think a prototype could be built for under $1000 and we do a test run with a local restaurant .
Wonderful thread but the forum pic for it gives me vertigo.
Perry haha

nink. The robots that drive outside have some challenges - kidnapping and battery power. Navigating the sidewalks with a well mapped area is doable. People would just need to not mess with it. How do we solve he kidnapping and energy problem?
As a victim of robot theft , I suggest sharks with Lasers attached to their heads.I live by the beach so,
#41   — Edited
@perry_s agree with the pic. If only there was a moderator who could change it on this thread;)

Theft is always going to be a problem and we can throw cameras and alarms at the problem (remember the security robot made from a jazzy chair https://synthiam.com/Community/Robots/Security-Cam-Robot-This-Droid-Is-Watching-For-You-Jazzy-Power-193 ) I guess we could disguise the GPS and with a separate data feed like Lora so at least we can find it. 

 If you go to a lot of cities there are hundreds of electric scooters just laying around and no one steals them. Norway, Sweden etc even Toronto has a pilot program. Even  high crime areas like Sao Palo, Brazil they are everywhere. 

If we started off in low crime wealthy neighbourhoods (the people who can afford uber eats) I believe the problem of vandalism or theft would be lower. Once they are pervasive people would get used to seeing them and begin to ignore them I believe.   

If we started with a location where testing autonomous vehicles is legal we could start to do test runs on known straights or low risk sections of the journey.  One person could control 2 or 3 at once this way. 

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Once we have these on the road we can use them for a whole lot of other purposes as well.  Courier deliveries, cover them with Advertising, you could probably even charge people to get to drive one (cutting labour costs).
Interesting - although someone stealing a robot might be more inclined to do so... over a scooter :D. Did you hear about that thousand scooters they found in the bow river in calgary? ha hilarious. People were just chucking them off the bridge when they were done with them.

A faraday cage (i.e. tin foil coated emergency blanket) work well for blocking wifi/gps/all radio signal for kidnapping robots. Okay, you caught me that I think about that stuff. Mostly when I see news about delivery drones or robots.. I think to myself, what a wonderful world - how could i steal that robot?

Battery power in cold weather is gonna be a biggy - so maybe Canada isn't the best place for pilot HA

Lastly, if the robot was designed to have short range, it really could operate downtown in trendy spots to serve other downtown residents (or some sort of down town area). Meaning, it would be a real neat marketing ploy for restaurants. Think about it... chill'n with your friends and ordering some pizza and it gets delivered by a robot?! Heck yes! Best party ever!

But... even with a robot delivering the food, you're in competition with monster well-known companies like skip the dishes, uber eats and door dash (apparently they're still a thing). Guess you'd have to work with one of those companies to get on the radar of people?

Okay so logistics aside - maybe that's something solved with pilots and such. Is this the best robot? Better than an affordable robot that cleans floors in malls/supermarkets/etc? Or a door greeter telepresence at offices that asks covid questions and brings people to their meeting autonomously?
Note to self do not pilot in Calgary. Scooters in the river?  You guys are brutal.   I have been trying to steel your robots remotely for weeks now but I just can’t seem to navigate my way out of the box. 

The problem with robots in malls etc is they don’t want autonomous robots with consumers around.  The greeter robot sounds great but when a customer is hit by a robot and sues the corporation they could be liable for millions.  This is why we don’t see them running up and down the isles in Loblaw and Walmart even though they have been testing them for years.

Cold weather can be solved with heater batteries, Tesla is a good example. They drive them in Canada in the winter (why on earth you would drive a low profile Tesla in snow though is mind boggling)   

yeah you would partner with Uber eats etc they would rather pay $5 for delivery than $10.