Norwegian robot is made to help scientists – and seniors
You might think that most new robots are designed to head off into factories or other workplaces, but the fact is that many of them are made to be used in the lab, by robotics developers. That's the case with EVE r3, although its successor may find use in applications such as home care for the elderly.
Manufactured by Norway's Halodi Robotics, a preproduction model of the robot was on display last week in Montreal, at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation.
The self-balancing wheeled humanoid EVE r3 is capable of performing a variety of tasks with its two articulated arms, each one of which can lift 8 kg (17.6 lb) when held out straight. It stands 175 cm tall (5 feet, 9 inches), weighs 76 kg (168 lb) and rolls along on its two primary wheels at speeds of up to 22 km/h (13.5 mph). When it needs added stability for performing fine tasks, it leans back on its rear third wheel.
Sensors such as two RealSense cameras linked to dual Intel CPUs help EVE r3 to perceive and navigate its environment, although it is intended to operate only semi-autonomously. Instead of being fully autonomous, it will utilize a "human-in-the-loop" telepresence model, in which one person in a central control center remotely operates multiple internet-connected robots. This setup should reportedly result in a better experience for clients interacting with the robots, along with cost savings.
Halodi CEO Bernt Øivind Børnich told us that EVE r3 will initially be aimed at universities, where it will be used by researchers who are investigating methods of using robots to perform mobile manipulation tasks. Instead of having to spend a lot of time and money developing their own robots from scratch, those scientists can just buy pre-made EVE r3's.
Down the road, however, a simplified and less expensive descendant of the robot may find use assisting independent-minded seniors in their own homes.
"For us, it's all about pushing the boundary of when you need to move to an institution," said Børnich. "This usually happens when [caregivers] can't defend driving out to help you for five minutes every hour. It's a very spiky demand, you need five minutes of help, and then you don't need help for a while … By reducing the need for driving, you condense the caretakers' time into one big time slot, so they can actually spend time with the person when they go there."
Halodi has already presold a number of EVE r3's, which should ship early next year. The robot costs US$150,000, and can be seen in action below.
Company website: Halodi Robotics