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 Bots @ Home 
The race is on to make robots in the home as common place as the TV, vaccum cleaner, computer or washing machine. Maybe one day they'll even replace those things in your home. Imagine a bot that could clean your bedroom, vaccum the house, find your favourite music on the internet and wash your clothes. Companies all over the world are trying to design and build bots that will be helpful around the house. And now you too can start designing, building and testing your very own bot to do the stuff round the house that you'd rather not do yourself.

At SCSM we have been using Lego NXT kits to build our robots. They are relatively inexpensive and are good for exploring ways to overcome the challenges most robot engineers face.

Building household bots presents a number of challenges. Here are a few that you may wish to think about.
Complex bots can cost thousands of dollars. Who's going to spend $3 million on a bot that loads the dishwasher, vaccums the house or hangs out the washing? The cost of sensors are dropping quickly. Maybe soon household bots will cost not much more than a television or fridge. read more
A bot that can't find its way round the house isn't very useful if it keeps bumping into things. Even expensive industrial bots need to be programmed to find their way round factories. Ultra sonic sensors can "see" walls and doors but how do they know which room they are in? What if the door is closed? Can the bot open it? A compass sensor may be useful but only if the bot knows which room its in. Maybe a bot could be built that could follow a floor plan or map of your house. read more
Object Detection
How can the bot distinguish between a shirt, a toy car, a wall, a door, an empty coke can or a person? Object detection with a video camera and complex computer software is possible but currently too expensive for household bots. read more
Bots can speak but they find it difficult to understand humans.

   NXT Instruction Sets    SCSM Bots

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