Therefore, they are designed to help people to perform tasks that are dangerous or repetitive.
In this research field, we designed two service robots, ALTER-EGO and LHF-Connect, that can work in a full autonomous way or that can be remotely operated by humans as robot avatars.
ALTER-EGO is a two-wheeled humanoid robot born in 2017 from the joint efforts of the SoftBots Lab of the Italian Institute of Technology and the Research Center “E. Piaggio” of the University of Pisa.
To perform safe physical human-robot interactions and to operate in different working scenarios, ALTER-EGO arms are designed with Variable Stiffness Actuators (VSA) that reproduce the elasticity and natural adaptability of our muscles. Moreover, each arm mounts an anthropomorphic synergistic artificial hand inspired by the synergistic movements of our hands (the Pisa/IIT SoftHand) that allows the robot to easily grasp a great variety of objects.
To make the robot able to work autonomously, the system is equipped with tilt sensors, accelerometers, gyroscopes, proximity sensors and a double stereoscopic vision system that allows it to see well both indoors and outdoors. It presents also microphones and speakers to verbally interact with people.
Moreover, a pilot station composed of lightweight and wearable interfaces makes it possible to use ALTER-EGO as an avatar in which to dive to remote operation.
For more information
- G. Lentini, A. Settimi, D. Caporale, M. Garabini, G. Grioli, L. Pallottino, M.G. Catalano and A. Bicchi, “Alter-ego: a mobile robot with a functionally anthropomorphic upper body designed for physical interaction”, IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine. 2019.
- G. Zambella, G. Lentini G, M. Garabini, G. Grioli, M.G.Catalano, A. Palleschi, L. Pallottino, A. Bicchi, A. Settimi, D. Caporale, “Dynamic whole-body control of unstable wheeled humanoid robots”, IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 2019.
- G. Zambella, S. Monteleone, E.P. Alarcón, F. Negrello, G. Lentini, D. Caporale, G. Grioli, M. Garabini, M.G. Catalano and A. Bicchi, “An Integrated Dynamic Fall Protection and Recovery System for Two-Wheeled Humanoids”, IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 2020.
LHF, an acronym for Low Hanging Fruits, because we want to highlight the fruits of the most advanced robotic research carried out in past years, which are now at hand for a vast and immediate application. Our project focuses on a telepresence robot (i.e. a remotely operated iPad reaching hospital beds). Patients who are isolated for weeks from their families would really appreciate this robot, so imagine if we could just give even the slightest relief to those who cannot even say hello to their loved ones during a long-lasting hospitalization.
Our first LHF project is LHF-Connect, a telepresence robot avatar, that can be assembled with hardware still available off-the-shelf and deliverable in a few days. We are developing apps that are as much user-friendly as possible for bedridden patients. These robots can be remotely operated without exposing medical staff or patients’ relatives to any risks, while the patient can virtually meet his/her loved ones or can be monitored from a health point of view.
We are also writing “IKEA-style”, foolproof instructions to make these apps easily usable. The mobility of telepresence robots (which exist on the market but are not in stock at the moment) is ensured by the presence of robotic vacuum cleaners, that are specifically designed to avoid obstacles and be guided inside and outside rooms. Thanks to an agreement with iRobot, one of the main robotic vacuum cleaner manufacturers in the world, we can offer specific upgrades based on their software architecture.
For more information
How to bring LHF-Connect on your territory:
Manuals and Instructions: