Robots for Enterprise Application Use Enabled by the Cloud

UST Room #419

10:15 am - 12:15 pm

Hardware & Cloud

How This Fits Into IoT 

Robotics engineering may sound like an intimidating field, but with recent advances, and the commoditization of software deployment on devices powered by IoT developments, robots have become exponentially more accessible and affordable for small scale applications.  In the past, buying a pre-configured robot had cost upwards of $60,000 with software charges upwards of $5000 per year.  We have a solution built based upon $5000 costs for the hardware, and any web developer or embedded engineer could program it themselves.

Typically when we think of IoT data, we think of sending data to the cloud so it can be viewed and analyzed.  What we have done at Rover Robotics, a startup incubator based in the Twin Cities, is combined sensors on a box with wheels, and given that box the ability to transmit data into a cloud platform such that the robot behavior can be seamlessly manipulated by individuals with no prior robotics experience.  This is a new dimension of IoT which has emerged over the last couple years.

What Attendees Do 

– We will have up to four robots on site so that class attendees can split into groups and have intimate exposure to the robot-cloud platform.

– The robots will be powered by either a Raspberry Pi, Intel Nook or Nvidia TX2.

– We will go through the process of configuring the robots to do a lap around the room at a minimum. We can then hook up an RFID scanner to the robot so that the robot can report its location upon subsequent laps.

– The focus of this class will not be on the wiring of the robot, the robots will be pre-configured ahead of the class. Rather the focus will be on cloud configuration and programmatic remote navigation of the robot.

– For any embedded and hardware engineers who want to attend, we will share all of the details of which computer we are using, what the details of the hardware are, but the main focus will be on the programming for this workshop.

Learning Objectives 

With the use of off the shelf sensors, any type of developer can now program robots to do useful tasks, it does not take a specific robotics engineer.
Our objective is to map out how repetitive tasks such as navigating a space and counting items or locations with a scanner can be done for much more affordable amounts than one might think, for a less than a $10,000 budget for example.

We would like attendees to really understand the massive transformation that robots have undergone and see how Robots could be used to track inventory as well as other potential applications ranging from safety, inventory tracking to asset movement, and agricultural crop monitoring.

What Attendees Bring 

Laptop – Chrome, Firefox or Safari recommended for browser.

Attendee Preparation Work (Downloads, Reading) 

If you aren’t familiar with Python, maybe just brush up on it a bit before the class.

Knowledge Required 

Python or C++ experience recommended.  At this time we don’t have a drag and drop interface for programming, so to best be able to participate, one of these languages would be helpful.

Pre-class Set-up 

Everything is 100% cloud and browser based.  No drivers or installs necessary.

What Attendees Receive 

We may have T-shirts and/or discount codes on hardware.  We have open source code here:

Links and Additional Reading Material 

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