Intelligent handheld robots could make is easier for people to learn new skills

May 27, 2015

An intelligent handheld robot assisting a user in placing correct colored tiles (credit: University of Bristol)

What if your handheld tools knew what needs to be done and were even able to guide and help you complete jobs that require skills? University of Bristol researchers are finding out by building and testing intelligent handheld robots.

Think of them as smart power tools that “know” what they’re doing — and could even help you use them.

The robot tools would have three levels of autonomy, said Walterio Mayol-Cuevas, Reader in Robotics Computer Vision and Mobile Systems: “No autonomy, semi-autonomous — the robot advises the user but does not act, and fully autonomous — the robot advises and acts even by correcting or refusing to perform incorrect user actions.”

The Bristol team has experimented with tasks such as picking and dropping different objects to form tile patterns and aiming in 3D for simulated painting.

The robot designs are open source and available on the university’s HandheldRobotics page.

HandheldRobotics | The Design and Evaluation of a Cooperative Handheld Robot