Are you an enterprise I.T. developer, a domain expert, or an entrepreneur?
Do you want to build a motile robot app, but not the robot?
Don’t build the robot! Instead put your resources into the software. Telepresence Robotics Corporation (TRC) supports 3rd party developers and entrepreneurs such as yourself in developing new motile robot applications. TRC breaks this down into four categories. We will assist you and your team’s ICT/IT department to meet your goals without having to build a robot.
- Out-of-the-box Use Cases
TRC’s telepresence robots can be used out-of-the-box with only the setup to be performed, analogous to setting up a smart phone before you install the applications. (See our Products page for examples.)
- Cloud Based RaaS™ Apps
Using TRC’s Robots-as-a-Service (RaaS™) API’s, a cloud or server based application can connect to other cloud services for specific functionality. Your custom cloud based app can direct the motility of the robot and it can hand off control of the robot’s movements to a call center or a human operator. Also, a RaaS™ app can be downloaded into the robot for disconnected autonomy when connectivity is an issue. Furthermore, a RaaS™ can be integrated into an Enterprise I.T. infrastructure. In §3, you will see that this can also link to hardware accessories, add-ons, or special skinning.
- A School Attendance RaaS™ App can link with the school’s management software and allow sick or home-bound students to authenticate to the School’s Cloud, and then take remote control of a RaaS™ robot to attend class and play with friends.
- A Receptionist RaaS™ App could automate connection to an employee for a guest, communicate with a host (an employee, or location) that the guest is here, open a videoconference channel on the RaaS™ robot for initial contact (if an employee), and then take the guest to meet their host.
- A Concierge RaaS™ App can let a live operator answer questions (switching to another operator for a different language) in a business environment and then post information to the screen for the customer. This RaaS™ App can migrate using machine learning algorithms to reduce the human interface to become more autonomous over time.
- A Tour Operator RaaS™ App can allow a single individual to lead a group of spectators through an environment (museum, manufacturing site, tradeshow) while providing a voice over and fielding questions. This is a One-to-Many application of the Cloud Media Server with remote control of the RaaS™ robot. The tour could be tied into a cloud based map that will prevent it from entering restricted zones.
- Integration with any of the Video Conference Equipment vendors (e.g., Cisco, Polycom, Huawei), so that a remote RaaS™ robot driver (an authenticated user) can roll into a Conference Room site and then transfer to the big screen. The same integration lets a person on the big screen transfer to the robot and go for a walk with a local participant. This is the avatar experience: you direct a robot to move with or toward the person near the robot; they look into your eyes as you talk; you can walk with them, follow them, or lead them. It appears that you are holding eye contact with them. This is much more than video conferencing by itself.
- Custom Hardware plus RaaS™ Apps
The plug-and-play interior allows for 3rd party hardware accessories such as credit card scanners or printers. An additional screen can be hung off the back and used for digital signage. Or, a custom payload area can be added to accommodate secure package movement, such as prescriptions in a medical center. Plug-n-Play allows add-in sensors to meet your specific needs. Digital media handling allows for VR, UHD, 360, and 3D.
™ Security Robot could add infrared, ultrasonic, motion detection, and other sensors. It might use embedded vision software and a database of expected images to compare that the warehouse is undisturbed. It might use facial recognition on the Cloud to check if an encounter with a person is authorized or not. If not, then a human supervisor could be connected to look through the robot’s eyes and discuss the situation with the encountered person.
- Using an interchangeable payload area, and connected to a distribution app, the RaaS™ Last Mile Delivery Robot could start at a restaurant where it gets a meal in its heated storage area and drinks in the refrigerated space, and then drive down sidewalks and bike paths to deliver the food to the customer. With the addition of a simple robot arm accessory, the robot can open a door, push an elevator button, and deliver a pizza to an office on the fourth floor of a building within two miles of the store.
- A RaaS™ Customer Service Robot could help a person in the aisle of a retailer’s chain store, possibly scanning the bar code of a product they are seeking, take them to the product, and allow them to purchase the product on the spot. The robot can provide human assistance in whatever language is needed, provided there is a speaker of that language in the central operations office for the chain.
- Branded Versions with Custom Skins
Fleet purchasers may want a RaaS™ robot to fit into a brand motif such as in a hospitality or retail situation. For a fleet order, our manufacturing process can deliver a turnkey solution for your custom brand and skin. New form factors can be developed that use the same architecture.
Explanation of TRC’s Robots-as-a-Service (RaaS™)
TRC’s Robots-as-a-Service (RaaS™) strategy is fundamentally better than the strategy of other commercial or DIY robotic systems. Unlike every other commercial robot on the market today, a RaaS™ robot does not have to be a single use robot, but can have many functions or purposes in daily operations.
Consider a RaaS™ robot for the home. A child, “Calvin”, comes home and the robot wakes up, approaches the child at the door, identifies him as an authorized resident, says “Hello”, and sends a message to the parent that the child is home. “Dad” can then go online, connect through the robot and give Calvin instructions to clean his bedroom after he has his snack and before he plays. Calvin tells Dad that his friend “Felicia” is home sick, but he’d like to play with her for a while. In order to keep Calvin from being exposed to whatever Felicia is sick with, Dad instructs the robot to send a message to Felicia so she can take control of the robot. Felicia is able to take control of the robot (which is still at Calvin’s house) and use it as her avatar so the two children can play games together. Later that evening, the family goes out to dinner to celebrate Mom getting a promotion at her job. While they are out, the burglar alarm goes off. The Alarm Company’s Call Center authenticates to the robot and views through the robot’s cameras to explore the cause of the alarm. In this case the dog knocked over a lamp which caused the motion detector to trigger. It turned out to be a false alarm, which did NOT result in the Alarm Company sending out a patrol to answer the call, or worse, a 911 call that results in a large bill to the resident for a false report. Since Dad has another of these robots at his mother’s house, when the alarm goes off, he is reassured to know that the first-responder will be the Call Center checking to see that his mother is OK, and then calling 911 fast enough to save her life.
RaaS™ robots bifurcate the robot intelligence. It puts decision making in the cloud (remote), and employs on-board intelligence (local) to control the robot’s native functions and make disconnected decisions. RaaS™ robots are intelligent peripherals to the Internet. The intelligence requirements that are latency dependent, such as collision avoidance and cliff detection, are built into the robot and are supported by the SDK. This way, the app developer may have more events triggered by what would otherwise be a standard reaction.
The decision making requirements that are not latency dependent, such as facial recognition or following directions to a location, can reside in the cloud. Remote intelligence will be provided through API’s by TRC and may be handed off to a remote human operator, or provided by 3rd party cloud services such as Amazon’s AWS (e.g., Mechanical Turk), Google, and IBM’s Watson.