Storing and Disposal

The day started with a tremendous letdown of <censored>, who came a hour to late to our preparation place. This is a huge no-go in our team. But the dept was payed off in many delicious nuts and raisins. We mostly spend our first half of the day by watching the display and disposal task performance of other teams. At 2pm we started with our performance which went a bit messy because we needed to restart three times before TIAGo was able to do something meaningful. <censored> started to sweat while he was talking in front of a big crowd without having TIAGo doing something. <censored> tried his best to repair the endeffector which was not properly set by TIAGo and to fix the arena setup. Though, after the third restart, TIAGo was working as expected and worked the remaining seven minutes twice as hard to compensate for the difficult start. In the end we displayed nearly as much as hoped and demonstrated a flexible fully autonomous approach.

Here are the stocked items during a test:

Afterwards, we visited the exhibition part of the World Robot Summit and saw a whole lot of robots, including all kind of arms, a table tennis robot, a human lifelike robot and a cute Wall-e like robot. The best part was the Robot Sumo Fight Cup, in which robots had to push each other out of a designated arena area. The used robots were heavily armored and really fast. So, that was it for this day, now we are very tired and excited to go to the award ceremony tomorrow, to receive our third price for the future convenience store challenge. Finally, we can recover all the lost hours of sleep.

<censored> was trying to eat the lunch boxes during the testing session instead of supporting <censored> with testing.

In the actual test run we scored 12 points. Which is not that bad for our first try.

This post was proof read and changed by the homer redaction. Some passages where replaced in order to bring no harm to involved people.

Toilet Cleaning

Today was time to clean the toilet of the convenience store. Therefore a peeing-boy-statue was positioned in front of the toilet and let 300 ml water in the toilet and at the toilet rim as well as on the ground before.

Furthermore pieces of toilet paper were placed somewhere around the toilet and one empty toilet paper roll. The water outside the toilet bowl must be removed and the roll and papers collected and thrown to a trash bin or stored inside the robot.

To detect how much of the water has been removed the water was colored white and a black light was positioned above the toilet as well as a camera which made a photo while a curtain was moved around the toilet room. So a picture was taken before the water was peed as well as after and after cleaning.

While we used our autonomous robot TIAGo, we use for all tasks in this competition, it was also possible to install hardware in a specific area around the toilet and even to use your own toilet.

So we faced impressive constructions like a toilet which could move upwards that the floor was free to be cleaned by one big wiper. Or a toilet seat which falls down on the toilet bowl, makes loud noises and when moving back up the toilet rim is clean.

Our TIAGo on the other hand moved into the restroom with just a sponge in his hand. More precisely one sponge put on each gripper. So he could clean the water as well as collect the papers on the floor through taking it between the both sponges.

Everything was working fine but at the beginning the robot twisted his grippers while moving over the toilet rim and thus was hardly able to collect the tiny toilet papers which had a size of approximately 5 cm. So we took the change of restarting the task while the clock keeps moving. Thus we wouldn’t get the points for removing the water but might be able to collect more papers. Sadly TIAGo was not able to collect further papers, but could remove more water. Thus we cleaned 39% of the simulated urine.

In the pictures you can see quite well, that the toilet seat was cleaned very good but the ground was missed.

We didn’t made it to the winners podium, but are highly satisfied with TIAGos abilities.

Here are some shots from during the tests with our custom built toilet for testing:

And a result of our toilet seat estimation:

We won 300.000

… Yen :) In the Customer Interaction Task yesterday we made the third place. We are very happy about that our proposal for the handling of a Future Convenience Store was accepted that good. When you convert the amount into Euro it’s about 2.321,15 Euro. Not that much but it is a starting point for the next robot competition and may we are able to acquire an upgraded hardware part of it. We were really happy after the announcement also because the competing teams were really good and we were competing against leading Japanese research institutes and companies as well. Ivanna who was contributing the majority of ideas for the scenario was really happy about the success.

Customer Interaction of the future

Convenience store of the future will be for sure the place, where we will meet a lot of robo-helpers. Today we had a chance to demonstrate, how the robots and new services like a SmartBag can make shopping more pleasant for customers.

Here is a video of today’s presentation:

Customer Interaction

So, back to the competition. For us the competition started today with Customer Interaction Task. The aim of this challenge is to show the ideas *of customer interaction in a convenience store in the near future using robot technology. *

The telegram application used for sending a map, handle the payment, get statistics and provide further services strongly coupled with the robot:

In our demo we demonstrated a human robot interaction, detection of calling customer as well as integration of SmartBag and Telegram app in a convenience store.

This is by the way the main entrance of the competition location. Bigger than it could fit in the picture:

In the very beginning TIAGo was looking for a call from customers. This feature is very helpful in noisy and crowded environments like a store. After that he went to the calling person and recognized Ivanna. For this task we trained Ivanna’s face beforehand. Based on customer’s profile of Ivanna, TIAGo guided her to the section ‘Health and Beauty’. Ivanna could not find any shopping bag and triggered help function by pressing a button in the Telegram App. TIAGo reacted immediately: he went to counter and called Lukas, who was a shopping manager in our demo-store. Lukas brought Ivanna a SmartBag, where you can scan items using installed camera and get an invoice using again the Telegram App. Meanwhile Tobias, who was called James, like Bond, James Bond :), entered the store with his suitcase and asked TIAGo to take his trolley bag using a Telegram App. Unfortunately at this moment TIAGo could not localize himself and did not know exactly, where to bring the bag. But we did not panic (ok, Ivanna panicked, OK, Raphael panicked too :D) and restarted the demo after some short time.

After restart TIAGo went to Tobias again and brought his suitcase to designated location. Moreover, he detected Ivanna’s waving and helped Ivanna to carry her very heavy shopping basket. The basket was so heavy, that TIAGo barely could carry it, but he did. He carried the basket to exit and waved Ivanna at the end.

After this Raphael, who moderated our demo, asked volunteers from the audience to enter the store and to call for help by waving. Two girls went inside of the arena and waved. Tiago successfully approached one of them and recognized that she was a new customer in our store. He recommended her to go to the section ‘Health and Beauty’ based on gender recognition. And than the time went out.

Unfortunately, we could not show all of the features we had prepared, like bringing a coffee from counter to the customer. But we could demonstrate our overall idea of the customer interaction in the future convenience store and we hope jury liked it.

So guys, stay tuned, there are two more challenges we are participating in. And keep your fingers crossed for TIAGo.