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on programming robot vacuums…

I have an good friend that is a long time college professor. She often talks about the reality of being an academic. First off, her field (mathematics) is often dominated by men. She struggles at times with the reality of being a woman in a “male field.” Her field, mathematics is filled with the search for, the process of and the application of proofs. Math is the language of physics. It is the language of precise. Math doesn’t always allow for variance. We were discussing robotics via email over the past three days. I had shared the Jibo program and robot with her (she is responsible for her elderly parents and was looking for an easy way to check in on them when she was teaching).

She bought two Jimbo’s and had one in her classroom and one at her parent’s house. Her actual goal was to buy a 3rd one for home, but Jibo went out of business. Our conversation drifted to the complexity of the mathematics required to map an unknown home. Many roots offer the option (such as the iRobot vacuums and the Share Vacuums) to map your home. That map allows for more efficient use of the device. You see, even if you live in a Frank Lloyd Wright Prarie Home (they are all the same) you still have furniture that is different than other people. Your furniture and other personal effects are arrayed in a way that makes sense to you. That doesn’t allow for one map fits all.

So Robots map space, each one differently. The math is complex and involves both a motion algorithm and an object permanence. She sent me the equation used to map a small room with a robot. I won’t share it; I don’t want the formula. But it was interesting the number of variables you have to track to move a robot through space simply. Remember a robotic vacuum intends to clean the floor. Based on that the robot doesn’t go in a straight line. It, the robotic vacuum has to move about the entire floor. That means if you move objects in your space, you create variables that the robot has to note. It is a very interesting topic overall. Robots have to learn the physical space in a manner similar to what toddlers do!

  • Did you know that ants leave a scent trail so that other ants can follow them?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Did you know that bees use a complex dance to convey the location of flowers?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Dogs can follow a scent that is over 2 hours old did you know humans cannot do that?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Did you know that birds fly virtually the same route every year when they migrate?

    • Yes
    • No

What do you think?

5 points
Legend

Written by DocAndersen

I am a long time blogger and technology poster.I focus on what is possible, but I also try to see what is coming. In recent years I have been focused on sharing the memories of my family, as part of my Family History Project.

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  1. I am not certain if you will find this funny, and still I laughed for a good 3 minutes. I am fairly sure that sometimes my husband smells so bad I could follow his scent for weeks!

    I am going to have to learn about the bees, I think that is amazing.

    Everyone in my family has one of the vacuums but me. I kind of enjoy pushing my little vacuum around!

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