Is it Possible to Turn Your Smartphone into a Robot?

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Recently, researchers at Intel answered this question by signing a free design that answered this question. Yes, most likely your current smart device has the power to manage a robot’s eyes, ears, and mind.

Intel engineers Mathias Müller and Vladlen Koltun said, “Advanced robots are very expensive, even legged robots or models for industrial use are at the price of luxury cars. “Even Franka Emika or Clearpath, known as the cheapest robot on the market, costs at least $ 10 thousand.”

Robots are so expensive because they use a large number of sensors and microprocessors to make consistent calculations. In this way, while the interior parts communicate better with each other, they also perceive the outside world more accurately. Due to the frequent use of these technological evenings, even the cheapest robots are sold very expensively.

Müller and Koltun took this situation from a different perspective. They started the OpenBet project with the idea of ​​making highly capable robots that can bring these prices down by combining the high-resolution cameras, integrated-graphics processors, sensors, and motherboards with the powerful processing capacity of today’s smartphones with robots.

With the OpenBet project inspired by the idea of ​​Google Cardboard, cheap robot bodies can use our mobile phone as eyes, ears, and mind. Also, Intel has developed software that provides all this integration with these plans. Thus, users will be able to easily die by attaching their smartphones to their robots, which they obtained for $ 50.

Battery-powered robots with a very simple design are briefly; It consists of 4 wheels, a simple chassis (the chassis has micro-control mechanisms and motors), and a phone holder on the top that is compatible with any phone.

Arduino Nano card, 4 motors, and 4 wheels, and robots that cost 25 dollars for motor drivers, can be removed/printed in one day with a little material cost ($ 5) in-home 3D printers. Lithium batteries with a life of 45 minutes are $ 21.

Software Part

As for the software part, Intel, which offers a 2-part software, provides the integration of the Arduino Nanosystem with the smartphone inside with the first software, while the second software connects to the Android operating system to enable the robot to benefit from details such as GPS, data transfer and camera use.

Thanks to the second software, Tensor Flow Lite AI, an open-source artificial-intelligence construction, comes into play so that the robot can instantly process what is happening around it, and the robot can recognize people, detect objects and accurately calculate processes such as speed/distance measurement. Optionally, it is also possible to control your robot manually with the controllers of game consoles such as PS4 and XBOX in the system that allows Bluetooth connection.

Autonomous Navigation

Another issue that engineers focus on is the robot’s self-orientation capabilities. Thanks to the Autonomous Navigation system, the robot can follow someone walking in front of it or reach it by itself from one point to another by overcoming obstacles. In the video below, you can see that the robot follows someone walking in front of him.

It may sound simple to demonstrate such an example of artificial intelligence for a $ 50 robot that can be integrated into a wide range from low-end smartphones such as Nokia 2.2 to advanced models such as the Huawei P30, but it is a big and important example for engineers such as Müller and Koltun working on this issue. development.

“Thanks to the smartphone that we integrated into a $ 50 robot body, our robot can follow you on its own and overcome the obstacles by calculating it.

The lowest model, the Nokia 2.2, offers the worst performance but surprisingly manages to follow the people in front of it most of the time ”. “Shortly, we will see artificial-intelligence products that can perform more complex operations more accurately even with low-model smart devices.” They point out the importance of steps in autonomous navigation.

If we come to the feature that distinguishes OpenBet from the previously made “phone integrated” robots. Previously, companies produced robots that could of course be integrated with the smart device, but none of them could go beyond the capacity of the phone used. And again in those projects, smartphones were not used as the brain of the whole robot, except as a remote.

Of course, neither of them offered design freedom that you can completely shape according to your taste. “We hope that as a result of this study we present, low-cost robots create new opportunities in the field of education in all corners of the world. And we see that these robots are used to a great extent.

We also think that these simple ideas presented now will evolve into other forms such as aircraft, watercraft, and so on in the future ”. The researchers state that different forms of robots will emerge shortly.

It’s quite common for simple ideas to be the basis for very large and sophisticated projects. Who knows, maybe shortly we will see security units or robot dogs composed of robots.

Robot waiters are already spreading!