Welcoming Visitors and Semantic Mapping

Preparing Scratchy for its next run..
Preparing Scratchy for its next run...

It works well over here in Lisbon. Yesterday, we focused on the “Welcoming Visitors” and “Getting to know my Home” tasks — today it’s time for “Catering for Granny Annie’s Comfort” and “Visit my home”. Scratchy is doing well so far.

The current scores of TBM1 - Getting to know my home and TBM2 - Welcoming Visitors
The current scores of TBM1 - Getting to know my home and TBM2 - Welcoming Visitors.

TBM1 is about autonomously learning where the things in the apartment are located — Scratchy does this by creating a semantic map. But because of facing some issues with the trained object recognition model, TBM1 didn’t earn that much scoring yet. Also in TBM2 we encountered a few initial mistakes but than there was steady progress. For each benchmark task, it is allowed to do seven runs and the final scoring is the median of the three best ones — so there’s still room for improvement today.

Scratchy is able to grip objects - at least occasionally
Scratchy is able to grip objects - at least occasionally.
And here he hands over a parcel during the Welcoming Visitors task
And here he hands over a parcel during the Welcoming Visitors task.
Our friends from SocRob are also doing a great job with their mBot
Our friends from SocRob are also doing a great job with their mBot.

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The birth of Scratchy - and we are back in Lisbon

Team Homer is back! Back in Lisbon. Just after Magdeburg for RoboCup German Open, Lisbon now tends to be the most frequent location for competition attendances of our team. First time we were here for RoCKIn in 2015. Afterwards we attended the European Robotics League each year. We are here with our newest robotic family member Scratchy — as the Simpsons character, but also as in “built from scratch”.

Kinect --- 150€. Hokuyo lascerscanner --- 1000€. Kinova arm --- 25.000€. Passing the security check with a robot in the hand luggage - priceless!
Kinect --- 150€. Hokuyo lascerscanner --- 1000€. Kinova arm --- 25.000€. Passing the security check with a robot in the hand luggage - priceless!.

Receiving no guaranteed financial support this time, we had to reduce our travel expenses to a minimum. That’s why we came up with a lightweight robot based on our former “Maggie” model. The great benefit of this new robot is that it fits completely into one piece of hand luggage plus a bagpack (for the arm). Of course this results into interested faces during the luggage inspection and nice looking x-ray pictures at the airport.

Scratchy together with its competitor mBot from team SocRob
Scratchy together with its competitor mBot from team SocRob.

Once in Lisbon, we went directly to the robotics lab of the technical university and reassembled Scratchy — which didn’t take much more than one hour.

The base.
The base..

You want to learn more about Scratchy? Read it up on the robots section.

Hamster is enyoing its view out of the window of the Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon.
Hamster is enyoing its view out of the window of the Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon..

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ERL in Oldenburg is done

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Friday evening we came back from the European Robotics League Tournament in Oldenburg. It was a pretty cool but also exhausting week.

Our team from the ERL in Oldenburg together with a creepy dummy (next to Lisa), Dr. Max Pfingsthorn from OFFIS (second one on the right) and Dr. Meysam Basiri (ERL judge)(on the right)
Our team from the ERL in Oldenburg together with a creepy dummy (next to Lisa), Dr. Max Pfingsthorn from OFFIS (second one on the right) and Dr. Meysam Basiri (ERL judge)(on the right).

There were four benchmark tasks to be done: Getting to Know My Home, Welcoming Visitors, Catering for Granny Annie’s Comfort and Visit My Home. Over all, they went quite well and we are at least on the second place of each category. The official scoring can be found here. So we are very ambitious to reach the first places in two weeks in Lisbon — we will challenge the local SocRob team there.

TBM 2: Welcoming Visitors. Lisa accepts a parcel from *the postman* aka Chris
TBM 2: Welcoming Visitors. Lisa accepts a parcel from *the postman* aka Chris.

On wednesday morning, a reporter from a local journal interviewed us and a photographer took some photos of Lisa and the team. You can have a look at the article and the photos here.

The five days in Oldenburg went by very fast and having the chance to benchmark our robot in a real smart apartment was a pleasure! :)

Ever wondered how Lisa looks from the inside? Here is a picture we made while disassembling her for the transportation back home
Ever wondered how Lisa looks from the inside? Here is a picture we made while disassembling her for the transportation back home.

Entering the Arena

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Entering the arena: the livingroom
Entering the arena: the livingroom.

Today was the second preparation day for the ERL in Oldenburg and Lisa got a chance to explore the benchmark arena. It’s a fully furnished and functional smart home apartment. Because it’s used permanently for researching assisted living for elderly people, two very creepy dummies are “living” there.

The bedroom: creepy dummy nr°2 lives here
The bedroom: creepy dummy nr°2 lives here.

By exploring the rooms, Lisa creates a map of the apartment, so that she is able to navigate autonomously. Afterwards, we set POIs (points of interest), so that Lisa knows where to go for the different tasks.

Bathroom
Bathroom.
Hallway
Hallway.
Kitchen
Kitchen.
.
.