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Researchers Develop an App which will Convert your Phone into Robot

The phone is both the eyes and brain for the robot, controlling its navigation and tasks

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robot app
The app offers options for how those tasks can be performed, such as under a certain time limit, on repeat or after a machine has done its job. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a smartphone application that allows a user to easily programme any robot to perform a task, dramatically bringing down the costs of building and programming mobile robots.

The researchers demonstrated this app with robots watering a plant, vacuuming and transporting objects. A study on the embedded app, called VRa, was presented at DIS 2019 in San Diego.

“Smaller companies can’t afford software programmers or expensive mobile robots, we’ve made it to where they can do the programming themselves, dramatically bringing down the costs of building and programming mobile robots,” said the study’s lead author Karthik Ramani, a researcher of Indian origin from the Purdue University in the US.

phone robot, robot, robot app
The app provides an option to automatically record video when the phone is docked, so that the user can play it back and evaluate a workflow. Wikimedia Commons

Using Augmented Reality (AR), the app allows the user to either walk out where the robot should go to perform its tasks or draw out a workflow directly into real space. The app offers options for how those tasks can be performed, such as under a certain time limit, on repeat or after a machine has done its job.

After programming, the user drops the phone into a dock attached to the robot. While the phone needs to be familiar with the type of robot it’s ‘becoming’ to perform tasks, the dock can be wirelessly connected to the robot’s basic controls and motor, said the researchers.

The phone is both the eyes and brain for the robot, controlling its navigation and tasks. “As long as the phone is in the docking station, it is the robot, whatever you move about and do is what the robot will do,” he added.

robot app, phone robot, robot
Using Augmented Reality (AR), the app allows the user to either walk out where the robot should go to perform its tasks or draw out a workflow directly into real space. Wikimedia Commons

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To get the robot to execute a task that involves wirelessly interacting with another object or machine, the user simply scans the QR code of that object or machine while programming, effectively creating a network of so-called Internet of Things. Once docked, the phone (as the robot) uses information from the QR code to work with the objects.

The app provides an option to automatically record video when the phone is docked, so that the user can play it back and evaluate a workflow. (IANS)

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Tech-savvy People More Likely to Accept Robot Doctors, Says Study

According to Sundar, the healthcare industry can benefit from increased reliance on automated systems

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Technology
Avatarmind's iPal Smart AI Robots, designed to be companions for children and elderly, perform calisthenics during the 2018 CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jan. 9, 2018. VOA

People with advanced computer skills are more likely to accept and use digital healthcare services and robot doctors, says a study by an Indian-origin researcher.

“There is increasing use of automated systems in the medical field, where intake is now often conducted through a kiosk instead of by a receptionist,” said S Shyam Sundar, Professor at Pennsylvania State University in the US.

“We investigated user acceptance of these ‘robot receptionists,’ along with automated nurses and doctors,” Sundar added.

For the study, scientists recruited participants from the online workforce Amazon Mechanical Turk to gain a better understanding of user psychology behind the acceptance of automation in clinics.

The research team gauged the participants’ preconceived beliefs about and attitudes toward machines — what is called a “machine heuristic.”

The team measured participants’ adherence to the machine heuristic by asking them to indicate their level of agreement with statements such as, “When machines, rather than humans, complete a task, the results are more accurate.”

Robot, Reading Companion
FILE – A visitor shakes hands with a humanoid robot at 2018 China International Robot Show in Shanghai. (VOA)

“We found that if you’re high on machine heuristic and you’re high on power usage, you have the most positive attitude toward automated healthcare providers. This combination seems to make people more accepting of these technologies,” said Sundar.

“A power user (a person with advanced computer skills) is more likely to accept a robot doctor, for example, than a non-power user,” Sundar added.

The results were presented at the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Glasgow, Scotland.

According to Sundar, the healthcare industry can benefit from increased reliance on automated systems.

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“Doctors are limited by their human bandwidth, by their experience, knowledge and even state of mind from minute to minute,” he said.

“In contrast, machines can be programmed to ‘think’ of all the possible conditions that a patient’s symptoms could point to, and they never get tired. Some level of automation is clearly needed.” (IANS)