Assistive Robotics

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Presented By:
john dolecki
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Tell us briefly about your project. Is it a work of art or does it serve another function?

What does it do? I get asked that question a lot when I tell people what I'm building or they see it. It's main purpose is to assist people in there homes, doing mundane chores like cleaning, putting the groceries away, feeding the family dog, and home security at night while you sleep. With today's advancements in Electronics, Processor Speed and Memory I feel all the pieces of the Robot puzzle are here now and someone just needs to assemble them into one platform. While it only has wheels now I have been working on the design of the arms and head. Programming has been moving slowly but every week I get a little more done and all of the work is done my myself in my 2 car garage/lab on late week nights and weekends as I work full time and have 3 sons in college. That what this Robot represent is the first in that series I'm building that will end in a final humanoid design.

When did you start working on this project and how long did it take you to complete?

Around a year ago I was searching Craigslist for robot parts for my tracked robot. An electronics recycler near my home had these Surplus hospital computer carts for sale and I thought they would make a great platform for a robot. After I purchased one, the first challenge was to mount motors to it and get all the electronics to fit. While its not complete is is capable of moving around without hitting anything as the video shows. Hopefully I can move it into the house for more programming once I am confident it will not damage anything.

What was your goal in building this project?

To provide a platform for me to create and try out my ideas on robots for the home. And hopefully when it comes time that I need taking care of it will be capable of doing that so I will not have to be put in a retirement community.

Does your project help to solve a problem? If so what problem?

Hopefully a robot that will be able to assist you. Today's and the futures shortage of caregivers, the rising cost of care and the fact that most people perfer to age in place, and don't want to be put into a "Home" I know I don't. Just think a robot that will help you buy getting your medicine or reminding you to take it, A robot that will sense that you are not ok and get you help, a tele-presence robot that your family or doctor can talk to you live and in person.

What makes your idea unique?

Its taller than most robots. Many people make robots that are just tiny and they say "this is the future of robotics" and I say "Dude its a vacuum and its only 4 inches tall how is that going to help me?" Also while building this type of robot I have starting thinking about the Robots interaction with my house. Were will the robot recharge? how will the robot control the lights, the furnace, how and I make my home smarter so the robot can intact with it? Why build a small robot when you can build a big one.

In what capacity are you using bearings and what type of bearings?

In each motor gearbox there are several radial ball bearings that support the 3 shafts for the gear reduction. The motor and gearboxes are from motorized wheel chairs. In the future the arm will use lightweight bearing at each joint and hands.

What is the most important thing you want people to know about your project?

I do it all my self. Robotics combines all the things I like to do. Design, fabricate, build, Electronics and Programming. I also try to recycle or re-purpose things for use in my robots. The hospital cart, the motors are from Wheelchairs, electronic parts come all types of things.

How will you use the $5,000 prize?

I will buy BOCA Ceramic bearing for my gearboxes. 3 axis vertical CNC mill Bridgeport style A decent Oscilloscope. Upgrade my CAD software. Bigger speakers for the Garage / Lab Better quality carbon fiber tubes for the arms.( my current tubes are cutoffs from a sailboat maker) Pizza and Dr Pepper.

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