Robbie the Robot

Robbie has been a long term project (7 years) mechanically Robbie is complete there will still be upgrades and improvements but overall I'm happy with the design the shoulder gearboxes will be replaced soon with a version that has bearings and magnetic encoders stronger motor drivers but they are still the same size. Over all the printed structure is strong enough and has the rigidity to do the job required.

Right now Robbie is able to navigate around the house the kinect sensor works well but not with dark objects. Some form of continuous mapping is required in a typical home where furniture keeps moving. The internal health monitoring will navigate to the charger and auto dock when the batter voltage is low. We did a reliability trial a while back which highlighted numerous flaws ranging from overheating CPU, low voltage resets of the micro controllers, noisy power connections. Robbie's arm is controlled with ROS MoveIT but the potentiometers in the shoulder gearbox and the printed nature cause a problem with accuracy


You can read more about Robbie at my blog


Now it's time for Robbie to do some thing useful Robbie is voice controlled the AI system will send a request to the behaviour tree engine to carry out the task at the moment is is limited to simple tasks like go to the kitchen move left, right etc.

I have a bench mark project call “Get me a beer” I have a basic version running is simulation but running it on the real robot is not nice I need to have more control since Robbie already has a simple behaviour control program(Pi_trees I will expand on that, like when navigating to the fridge he will read a QR code and update he exact location and move to the position the run the kinematic solution to open the fridge door(Knowrob). Request a scan of the fridge to locate the beer call movit to get the beer and return with it and of course be able to handle failure at any stage  

Update 07/04/17

Removed Robbie's I3 computer and replaced it with a Raspberry Pi 3 with camera the advantages are longer battery life, 6 hours now compared to 20 minutes before. The Ai has been moved to a desktop computer. At the moment we have basic functions on Robbie working ie Navigation, mapping, voice and the behaviour tree. The arms are on hold waiting for parts. Face recognition has been changed to openface and works better than any i have used before. I just need to incorporate it into ROS

Robbie getting a beer in simulation
Robbie Mapping Run


Submitted by Roxanna77 on Sat, 2016-05-28 09:29

Roxanna77's picture

Welcome to CKR and thank you for the post! Nice robot Peter! I love a full size robot, especially one that can get me a beer. I am very interested in the Kinnect setup, which version is that? I have a Kinnect sensor on my Xbox360 that I never turn on. I've been tinking of trying ROS for my large bot, I might ask you for some help.
Hope you can post some more detailed pictures of the robots internals?

Submitted by peter_heim on Sat, 2016-05-28 18:11

Hi Roxanna

Thanks for the comment, both the kinects are version 1 the top is a older version there is some difference the audio works better on the older ones. the bottom kinect I use for navigation with just some basic tuning of AMCL and Gmapping I can localise to about 10cm which is good enough for most tasks. Here is a picture of the back electrics every thing else is under covers  

Submitted by mtriplett on Fri, 2016-07-29 12:14

Hi Peter,

I've been following your amazing project for several years, and reading your blog entries.  I started my InMoov but then got the bug to build "Ava" when I was halfway done printing the InMoov head.

The localization features you are talking about are truly amazing.  I am especially intrigued by the AI posts on verbal skills and the mention of querying ontologies (KnowRob).  

I wanted to take advantage of owl files and resources but I haven't gotten past the learning bots use a DB and I haven't figured out yet how to extract data from one to another.  I'm sure I got distracted and moved on to other problems...there are so many!

Anyway, I greatly enjoy your work and hope you post a lot more in the future on your progress.



Submitted by peter_heim on Mon, 2016-08-01 17:41

Hi Martin

Robbie has taken a bit of a back seat at the moment I'm helping Matt with his robot. The knowrob ontologies are more for motion planning ie how to position of the base then move the arm to open the door. I'll get back to that after I have replaced the gearbox's. Using AIML as a chat bot works well it just need more integration with the behaviour engine its the same as Max the robot so the work load will be less. The other AI uses natural language and RDF triples it has the ability to learn but that is still a long way before its usable. But there is not enough hours in the day to do all the work



Submitted by Roxanna77 on Mon, 2017-04-10 21:55

Roxanna77's picture

The Raspberry Pi sure is nicer on battery for sure, I'll be interested in how you set it up. I am just starting a project that will also use the Pi and Pi Camera, I'm thinking of add a Propeller to do some sensors work.


"Propeller Girl"
I tinker, therefore I am.....

Last updated: 
9 Apr 2017 - 18:41
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