One Small Step for Personal Robot

“”That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

—-Neil Armstrong

What brings the personal robot into our life? To answer this question, we’d better to figure out the way how other intelligent devices turned into our daily life.

So far, two kinds of intelligent devices have been used widely: one is Personal Computer (P.C), the other is Smart Phone (S.P).

Thanks to the long-time technology accumulation, such like the development of binary system, the machine languages, and large scale integrated circuit, P.C was invented and developed. But what makes it to be used widely? In our opinion, it is the graphic user interface. Imagine this, if today to operate a computer still requires users to learn complicated Basic programming language, pass the professional trainings and remember a great deal of demands, then computer would become a specific tool for few professionals, not be popular like now.

Now let’s see how the S.P became popular. At 2003, I bought my first S.P. I still could tell you it was a phone with a qwerty keyboard, without a touch screen nor a stylus. It was equipped with Windows Mobile system. I spent lots of time to learn from the professional website, download the specific Synchronize software and read plenty of instructions to learn how to use it. It also required the spirit of perseverance to find new software and the nerve I was obsessed with it at that moment. The fact is, not everyone has enough patient learn how to use the complex product. Until the easy-to-use interface, which features the multi-point touch screen, and App Store was available. And the S.P was really popularized. The interactive interface based on multi-point touch technology greatly shorted the user’s learning path, and made it possible to popularize S.P. I was so excited my first job was related to this field, from an outsider became as an insider. How lucky I was!

The natural interactive way is the one small step for bring personal robot into our daily life.

There’s no doubt the voice is more natural interaction way than the multi-touch. Basically, speaking is rather easier than literacy. However, just voice commands or voice chat is not enough.

To understand the situation, we need to review the difference of the intelligent terminal generations before personal robot. The personal robot should not be under a mobile computer, or a Smartphone/laptop add several motors. Compare to PC or smartphone, the personal robot is capable to perceive, analyze and make decisions. It should be mobile, able to control and send the feedback. To make it simple, it can use his sensing system to obtain data actively, analyze and judge through arithmetic processing, thus to offer a corresponding output and services.

For networking-based personal robot, to be mobile means to expand the space of perception. Each sensor (Physical layer of sensing system) contains a range of perception, and the possibility for it to move, turn, bend and lift makes the range unlimited. Refers to “Why personal robot networking based will choose limited movement rather than adding a powerful mechanical arm”, we will talk more details in the next article.

To tell the difference between personal robot, PC and smartphone is clear, we can figure out that voice command or voice chat that we have nowadays is not enough. Cause the command sent and judged by human beings, not the robot. The important characteristic that a robot has is perceived actively – recognize and judge – response or act.

The human-computer interaction of robot composed of voice programming and active perception, it provides another possibility. We’ll not only have real-time instruction, such as “Hi BIG-I, turn off the lights.” Based on voice programming, the action will be actualized as, “Hi BIG-I, when you see no one is home, please turn off the lights.”

Both situations under a scene, the results are the same: Lights went out. Essentially, the first one is the human perceive and make the decision, and then robot takes the order. And the second one, human acts naturally according to his habits and robot understands and suits the human’s need through acquisition of data and calculation.

Today, we already moved forward to personal robot period, one small step for personal robot.

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