Dec 5, 2018 | By Cameron

It’s great being able to attend a meeting remotely with a telepresence bot as it allows the user to see presentations as well as who is talking and how they’re reacting, but what happens when the bot is the last to leave the meeting and the door shuts? Someone has to be summoned to open the door and release the helpless bot that’s already late to another meeting. That is not the case with the 3D printed ORIGIBOT2 as it’s armed with a controllable grasper that can pick up objects, turn lights on and off, and even open doors.

The ORIGIBOT2 from Origin Robotics is currently being crowdfunded on Indiegogo to bring affordable, handy telepresence robots to the world. Those who work anywhere near Silicon Valley or at a tech startup will likely have seen or interacted with a telepresence robot. They roam the halls of offices and sit -- well, stand-in at meetings, bearing the face and voice of their controller who is maybe at home with the sniffles or on a business trip in Japan. They’re neat and, at times, convenient. But besides being able to look around and speak with people, most telepresence bots have rather limited functionality.

That’s where ORIGIBOT2 rolls in, with its 53-inch reach and 2.2lb lift capacity, opening doors and ferrying documents throughout the office with ease. Going to various floors unassisted is now possible because ORIGIBOT2 can operate an elevator with its articulating wrist that bends and rotates. With a footprint of only 15”x11”, it can deftly maneuver around tight spaces. Powered by an open-source Arduino board and equipped with an Android tablet, this bot is designed to be hackable, in the good way.

The arm is carbon fiber to increase its strength and decrease weight, but most of the custom components, including the gripper, are 3D printed to keep costs down and to allow for easy repair and customization. Currently, users sign in through a web browser to manually control the motion of the bot and its arm with a joystick and sliders, which works well but is a little clunky at times due to some overly quick acceleration and deceleration of the servos. The system would be improved with more advanced kinematic algorithms driving the motors and the addition of some sensors that could detect objects, but then it wouldn’t cost $599. By keeping the design open with off-the-shelf parts and 3D printed components, users can implement their own upgrades.

The designers point out some of the possible functions of the robot, like feeding pets, handing medication to a grandparent, activating appliances, locking and unlocking doors, and more. Though slowly, the ORIGIBOT2 could probably do a load of laundry, from loading to folding. One use unmentioned in the campaign is aiding the disabled. Many disabled people, such as myself, have very limited use of their arms but through various assistive devices can operate a computer, which is all that’s needed to control the ORIGIBOT2; they could perhaps use it to help with eating and other light physical tasks. While the creators imagined their robot being used in remote telepresence situations, some users may end up interacting with it from in the same room.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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