What if you had a robot that could roll around the office, speak with your coworkers, and act as your eyes and ears when you're 10,000 miles away? How about if that robot's control system was simply an Android app you could download for free? We've been covering the open source Qbo robot project for quite some time now, and this is without a doubt probably the most awesome advancement the project has made in its relatively short history - if you ask your narrator, that is. You must simply download the app, identify yourself and connect, then control away!
Have a peek at the hands-on presentation video in this post to get a better idea of what it could mean for you to be controlling a robot friend from the other side of the world - Qbo does this, or at least it will very soon, and you'll be able to take advantage of it from any Android device. You'll be able to move this little guy around, change his expressions, make him say whatever you want via Google's speech recognition OR directly through your microphone, and, best of all, you can do things like recognize objects and follow them. Weird and awesome!
Here's a note directly from the Qbo team on the inner workings of this new system:
How the system works?
Internally, Qbo acts as a server, with REST as a communication protocol, sending information in JSON format. You will find an API, very easy to use and very handy. For example, in order to move the head just pack the coordinates into a JSON, and make a HTTP petition to, for example “http://192.168.4.6:8880/control/qbo_arduqbo/headServos” and Qbo will manage itself, launching the necessary ROS nodes.
The audio connection uses the SIP protocol (Session Initiative Protocol). We wanted to make each Qbo independent from any external SIP server, so each one has the Asterisk SIP server installed to make calls directly to the robot. On top, it has a SIP client to accept incoming calls and send audio back. This enables Qbo to communicate with devices regardless of the platform, since there are applications available in each of these systems (MacOSX, Windows, Linux, Android, IOS…).
Looks like a lot of fun! Can you even wait to try it out? We can't!