Humanoid bot hitches a ride on Roombas

German AI guys bolted together four Roombas, then put a humanoid robot on top and sent it surfing. Talk about meta.

Leslie Katz Former Culture Editor
Leslie Katz led a team that explored the intersection of tech and culture, plus all manner of awe-inspiring science, from space to AI and archaeology. When she's not smithing words, she's probably playing online word games, tending to her garden or referring to herself in the third person.
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Leslie Katz

Roomba QuadDrive
The Roomba QuadDrive mobile base uses four Roomba 530s as drive units. Each unit is attached to the main plate using a Dynamixel RX-64 actuator. University of Bonn AIS

What do you get when you put a humanoid robot on top of four Roomba floor-cleaning bots? The ultimate meta robot--and hopefully some very clean floors.

Scientists at the University of Bonn's Autonomous Intelligent Systems Lab bolted together four Roomba 530s to create the Roomba QuadDrive, an omnidirectional moving robot base with individually steerable axes.

The QuadDrive can sustain weight up to about 44 pounds, so the AI guys decided to plop their Robotinho android on top of it and put it to work as a temporary tour guide at Bonn's Deutsches Museum. Robotinho, originally developed for the RoboCup Humanoid League TeenSize class, is equipped with an expressive head, movable cameras, a laser scanner, and ultrasonic distance sensors.

In the video below, you can see Robotinho rolling around the German museum at the QuadDrive's maximum pokey speed of 0.5 mph and explaining the exhibits to a group of amused (or is it terrified?) schoolchildren.

The QuadDrive can map indoor environments and avoid obstacles. Which is probably a fortunate thing when it's bot-surfing its way around valuable works of art.

(Via BotJunkie)