University of Bristol researchers have developed and are studying intelligent handheld robots.
They have worked on developing robot prototypes as well as on understanding how best to interact with a new kind of tool that "knows and acts," focusing on comparing tools with increasing levels of autonomy. The robots are designed to have more degrees of motion to enable greater independence from the motions of the user, and are aware of the steps being carried out, a new feature that permits an unprecedented level of cooperation between user and tool. The overall goal is to exploit the intuitiveness of using traditional handheld tools while adding embedded intelligence and action to allow for new capabilities.
"There are three basic levels of autonomy we are considering: no autonomy, semi-autonomous when the robot advises the user but does not act, and fully autonomous when the robot advises and acts even by correcting or refusing to perform incorrect user action," says Bristol researcher Walterio Mayol-Cuevas.
The research shows users tend to prefer a tool that is fully autonomous and there is evidence that autonomous handheld robots could significantly reduce completion time and perceived workload, notes fellow researcher Austin Gregg-Smith.
From University of Bristol News
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