The ARMAR Robot is the Ultimate Kitchen GadgetTECH
The ARMAR Robot is the Ultimate Kitchen Gadget
Anyone who likes to cook knows that a new gadget can make life easier in the kitchen. Mixing bowls, blenders, mixers, popcake makers, and waffle irons are all the rage in most kitchens, but what if you could have a gadget that’s not so much a gadget as a helping hand in the kitchen? The ARMAR Robot was designed to be just that, and best of all, he can even load your dishwasher!
What is the ARMAR Robot?
The ARMAR Robot is a humanoid robot with advanced movement capabilities. It was designed with function in mind and features four DOF (25 degree movement) areas. That means that this robot can move in multiple directions to lift, carry, grasp, and move items. While it was originally designed in 2000, the creators at the Collaborative Research Center 588 have continued to work on it and have created multiple new versions with better functions and capabilities.
It’s also equipped with dozens of cameras and sensors that allow it to literally watch and learn. The robot obeys commands, and orients itself inside of a room, learning movements and gestures from the person controlling it. Sensors on the ARMAR also allow it to learn new objects and movements by touching them. ARMAR is also almost unique in that it can ‘learn’ and ‘solve problems’ by investigating the issue and attempting to find a solution. This ‘cognitive’ approach to the robot uses a system of connections that file new objects, label them, and then learns to recognize them on sight.
What Can it Do?
ARMAR is a truly fascinating robot because it can learn. The robots in the lab have learned to recognize and name specific objects, even being able to bring similar objects to a person based purely on color. ARMAR can load the dishwasher, open it, but has not yet been shown to actually turn it on, although this should technically be possible. ARMAR can learn new objects, and often asks the owner what the object is if it does not know. Therefore, the owner controls what the robot learns by telling it what objects are.
According to the developers, ARMAR learns tasks much more quickly when they are first explained and demonstrated by a human, as it reduces trial and error time usually associated with the learning process. Without a demonstration, the robot, like people, might not succeed the first few times.
ARMAR’s only real flaw is that he is slower than most people would find acceptable in a ‘robot companion’ as he is still made of machinery. Future versions might fix this issue, but for now he is very slow. For example, opening the dishwasher or a cabinet can take ARMAR almost a minute, where humans would usually perform this same tast in under ten or fifteen seconds.
When You Might See ARMAR in Stores
If you’re dreaming of a Jetsons like kitchen with your own personal robot, you should probably calm down. ARMAR is still in test phases, and while he is incredible, he is nowhere near ready for public consumption. Why? Building a robot to the technological scale of ARMAR is extremely expensive, meaning that if sold, it would be a slow luxury commodity that very few people could afford.
However, the fact that ARMAR has already existed for 13 years shows that this technology is here, and here to stay. Within ten more years, the technology used to build the robot might be cheaper, allowing it to be cost effectively marketed to the public. For now, you can watch ARMAR’s videos to see what he can do.