Proposal for a Multitasking Robot Answered
Greetings, I am a senior EE major at Polytechnic University. I spent most of my time working with robotics and electronics. I always wanted to enter one of these robots competitions but finding the time and funds was always the problem. Its really interesting that iRobot is deciding to sponser a few teams. After brainstorming I came up with a few robot ideas that I believed novel. Then I thought about it some more and came up with more ideas. Instead of narrowing them down I thought how great would it be if all of them could be made. That led me into designing an idea for an iRobot Butler that can do many tasks. The idea is to create a modular robot that has the ability to dock with its base station and perform multiple tasks with different specialized modules. The project I propose is to develop the modular autonomous docking system and several modular tools for the robot to utilize. These tools can be used for entertainment purposes or for human aid. Here are a few concepts 1) Mobile Music docking station and amplifier - You have a stereo system, great! Only down side is its always stationary so you have to blast it till the neighbors know the lyrics if you want to hear it everywhere in the house. With this kind of a docking station just come home plug it in and let the music follow you. 2) IRobot key fob (that thing that opens your car) - Why have robot if you can't command it when you need it. With a IRobot linked to some off the shelf electronics you could have it meet you in whatever room you are in. 3) Where's the remote? Who knows? But iRobot can help you out by using a embedded universal remote following the sony ir protocol. Just give iRobot a buzz and he could come in and change it to your liking. 4) Not so Clocky Alarm Clock - Clocky is a robotic alarm clock. It rolls off its nightstand, hides somewhere in the room and then starts to wake you by forcing you to find where it hid. With the modular IRobot when you go to sleep it can hook up with its Music docking station and do pretty much the same thing. 5) Life Alert System - Many of us have been hurt at times where we wished someone could come to our aid. If you are in a accident and unable to reach a phone, press on IRobot's key fob and him lock onto another tool which brings you a cordless phone module to call for aid. The Docking Station The docking station for the robotic butler could be tracked using the same method as the self charging station. In order to remove platforms or add them a servo would be placed on the iRobot which would lock or unlock the tray. To maintain electrical connection between the two trays an array of spring header pins could be used. There are many great robotic ideas out there for the iRobot however the expense for one robot to only do one thing is pretty great. In order to compensate for the overhead expenditure a multifunctional robot with inexpensive and optional tools is a possible solution to suit home needs. This way all of the design entries can be utilized. Regarding my qualifications, I taught for three years as a teaching assistant to a freshman engineering course. My most recent completed project is the development of a chemical model car experiment and an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle design project for freshman engineering. Both of these projects underwent a rigourous amount of work and will be shown at the American Society of Engineering Education 2007 conference.