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Prototype of servicerobot Othello will be presented at Robocup European Open

New possibilities in Care Robotics by Focal and partners.

For almost three years Focal and its partners Fraunhofer AST and Götting KG have closely cooperated in the development of a dedicated servicerobot for handicapped users. This cooperation is realised in the framework of the Eurostars project Othello. Othello’s full project title is Autonomous Object Carrier and Handler for Handicapped and Elderly Persons. This expresses the ambitions of the project partners: to realise a completely new developed affordable servicerobot that from onset is geared to the independent use of such a platform by the handicapped end user himself. The working prototype of this servicerobot will be presented March 30 2016 at Robocup European Open, Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

Several servicerobots are already known. Why do Focal and partners want to come up with their own development? Firstly, such a servicerobot is needed. Many potential users are not wheelchair bound (and hence will not use a robotmanipulator) but have severe disabilities in mobility or hand function, are lacking energy or are bedridden for many hours a day. To be as independent as possible a servicerobot that manipulates and transports object and assists in ADL tasks like feeding, self care or medication could play a valued role in the lives nof many persons.

Until the coming of Othello an affordable servicerobot was lacking. Servicerobots that we see now are mostly made up of existing components that were not designed for use as part of such a platform. Systems often are initiated from a technical perspective lacking sufficient knowledge about user needs and wants. To meet the demands the approach of the Othello project group was different. Profound knowledge and experience in actual care robotics use was available. They integrally developed all major system parts (carrier, navigation, robot) to be part of one highly functional system and had affordability as a major design criterium. Consequently the servicerobot Othello has a large range of motion, is easy to manipulate and can even move around autonomously in less adapted environments. Above all following our philosophy on autonomy the handicapped person using Othello is in charge im- or herself and will not need a caregiver or other persons to execute their badly needed activities of dialy life.

The project Othello runs until July 2016. In the next months the platform will intensively be tested and evaluated. This will soon result in use by early adopters and in a marketable product within 1- 2 years. The project Othello prototype will for the first time be exhibited at Robocup European Open, March 30 – April 3, 2016 at Evoluon , Eindhoven The Netherlands. For more information see https://www.robocupeuropeanopen.org/en

 

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