A robot that cares

The Bobbie project is aimed at developing modular domestic service robots. To work safely in a care situation, emphasis is put on motion planning of both the mobile base and the manipulators.

PhD Candidate: Janno Lunenburg
Supervisor: René van de Molengraft
Promoter: Maarten Steinbuch
Project Period: October 2009 –September 2013

The ageing population will be putting increasingly great pressure on the health care system. The continuing trend of ageing will clearly increase the difficulty to provide care to acceptable standards. The type of elderly care most needed yet least provided by overloaded care professionals is (non-critical) assistance in daily living: fetching objects, opening/closing doors and drawers, operating switches, etcetera. Thanks to recent advances in robotics and mechatronics, computing, vision and software, it is now starting to become possible to create robotic versions of so-called care dogs.

The overall goal of the Bobbie project is to bootstrap a Dutch industry for personal robots for the elderly care by addressing the prerequisites mentioned above. This project will result in new methods to design a robot system, using standardized architectures, which can safely work in a care situation. As a proof of these methods, a specific realization in the form of a safely working prototype will be shown as an end result.

One of the most fundamental skills of a domestic service robot is the ability to move safely through a domestic environment and to manipulate objects. Therefore, emphasis is put on motion planning of both the mobile platform and the manipulators.