November 2, 2004 At a time when most handheld PDA's are racing to miniaturise their hardware, MILO, the world's first Robotic Personal Assistant platform (RPA) takes a brave step in the opposite direction, developing a four foot tall mix of robot butler and mobile telecommunications hub with programmable commands.
Milo's makers - RoboDynamics - say that RPAs are designed to live alongside their owners and help them to organize information, appointments, communications, and assist in other tasks such as telepresencing and security.
MILO was mechanically designed to be a tall, sturdy and safe platform capable of negotiating various terrains and slopes, with the ability to look over tables and inside baby cribs. 8” diameter diamond treaded plastic lawn mower wheels provide sufficient grip for almost any surface terrain. Powerful worm gear motors allow the robot to negotiate 15 degree slopes (industrial ramps) easily and safely.
Powerful Microcontroller - a proprietary MCU Board provides plenty of I/O to handle all of MILO's sensors and actuators plus seven free ones for user expansion.
Sensor Variety - A fusion of sonar, infrared, bump switches, wheel encoders and higher level sensors such as microphone and a webcam allow for a great deal of environmental feedback.
Heavy Duty Battery - the large SLA battery provides plenty of juice to keep MILO running for up to two days under normal conditions.
Component Box - MILO's electronics are housed in a component box that can be easily removed from the robot without needing to disassemble the frame, allowing for easy expansion and modification. There's an entire 9.5” x 7” tray dedicated for mounting custom electronics.
External Ports - With an x86 PC onboard MILO there are a variety of ports such as USB, IEEE 1394, etc. available for expansion.
Off-the-Shelf Robotics - The utilization of PC components and technologies allows for easy, standardized, and inexpensive expansion of MILO's functionalities and capabilities.
MILO's SDK was designed to be modular, flexible, and scalable. Easy to Understand APIs allow you to create powerful applications in your programming language of choice.
Create Custom Calls* - Create your own DLLs and call your own commands and they will be executed by MILO.
MILO ships with three pieces of software making it ready to use out of the box, with a number of further applications being developed. MILO's current capabilities include:
MILO Control Module (MCM)
The MCM is a client application that allows the owner to control the various functions of MILO. Designed with telepresencing in mind, the MCM allows the owner to drive MILO from the client PC (over LAN or Internet) and receive a live video/audio feed. The MCM is the main user interface.
MILO Display Editor
MILO has two 8x8 LED Grid displays that it uses to convey moods, emotions, and information. These “eyes” are the gateway of owner/robot interaction and the MILO Display Editor allows the owner to customize the sequence of graphics (or text) that is displayed in accordance with various events.
MILO Command Editor*
The MCE allows an owner to set the overall governing goals of MILO. Think of the MCE as a programming environment for the robot. A simple IF-THEN interface lets the owner set the appropriate response to various events. For example, a user may want the robot to play a certain sound (laughter) every time the robot sees the color red.
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