High technological innovations help retailers stay competitive in nowadays market. The EuroCIS Fair brings together the newest developments in tech for retailers and gathers over 10,000 visitors next week in Düsseldorf (Germany).
In this edition, the huge fair will also count with two robotic attendees. While some of their colleagues are busy taking stock in different European stores, two StockBot robots will travel to EuroCIS to demonstrate their effectiveness live. Find them at Hall 10 Stand C09!
What can StockBot do for your store?
Inventory is one of the hardest aspects to manage in a retail store. For retailers, having StockBot on board means to have an exhaustive knowledge of the inventory status every day, which enables a rapid reaction when detecting out-of-stock situations and misplacements. On the other hand, its report includes a 3D map with the products’ location, which also gives a deeper understanding about customers’ behaviour.
All the collected data is easily integrated in the retailer’s own system and can be analyzed to make sense of what goes on in the store. In the end, StockBot gives the retailer a privileged access to all sorts of innovative strategies that increase revenue. StockBot integrates RFID, vision and navigation technologies to autonomously perform inventory. This is how StockBot collects accurate data and provides unique insights of a store products’ flow.
We want to see you at EuroCIS! Find us at Hall 10 Stand C09 in Düsseldorf, from February 27th to March 1st.
Robots can become the best companions for humans. Our life quality can extraordinarily improve in all aspects of our daily routine, and reshape how we manage (and enjoy) our time. For that to happen, we need to make robots social.
It may look simple, but is a challenge for the whole robotics community. This is why around 30 experts from all over the world digged deep in the world of social robots during the 3rd Joint UAE Symposium on Social Robots (JSSR2018), organized by NYUAD and UAEU. The definition of “social robotics” and the latest advances on the field were some of the big topics addressed by the speakers, each of which came from different backgrounds, which greatly enriched the Conference.
Amongst the multidisciplinary experts there was PAL Robotics’ CEO, Francesco Ferro, who gave a keynote as an example of how PAL Robotics actually builds social robots for assisting people. Ferro explained what do we take into consideration when designing and creating robots like TIAGo, which have clear purposes of supporting old and disabled people at home, and has also abilities to become a skillful aide as a collaborative robot for factory operators.
Thanks to NYUAD and UAEU to host and organize the JSSR2018. It was a pleasure for PAL Robotics to share our expertise developing some of the most advanced robots in the world. Shaping the future to be a better destination by using robotics in our life is a promising challenge that we as a community can only achieve all together!
A stop at the Khalifa University’s Open Day
On its tour through UAE, TIAGo could also pay a visit to the Open Day of Khalifa University. The robot could see the exhibition of amazing research that is currently going on there, and enjoyed some good times at its College of Engineering, meeting students and taking some selfies!
The European Robotics League (ERL) Season is about to finish! Two Service Robotics tournaments were the last opportunity for teams to improve their positions in the global classification, which will be announced in the European Robotics Forum. Lots of TIAGos were seen in the last tournaments of this season, which were held in León (Spain) and Edinburgh (UK) on the last week of January. Three teams shared with us their experiences, challenges and sensations there!
HEARTS Team participated in almost all tests in Edinburgh SR Tournament, adding two new benchmarks. “One breakthrough we had was in our person tracking algorithm. It had been a little flaky in testing but we made many improvements during the competition and were able to achieve good performance by the end”, team points out.
Navigation tests were the focus of Robotics Lab UC3M Team in León, and were fairly satisfied with their final scores. “Participating in tournaments like this helps a lot in defining goals and improving the work capacity when solving unexpected problems along the tournament, in real situations”, they highlight.
IRI@ERL Team set two goals for Edinburgh: improve object detection algorithms, and be capable of grasping objects. It was ambitious and they faced problems, but are happy with the outcome: “As the saying goes: nothing ventured, nothing gained! At the same time, we greatly improved objects detection and position calculation. Thanks to this we could do object manipulation, automatized and avoiding obstacles. A major success given the little time our team had for preparation”, team says.
Enjoyable, intense and challenging: this is how teams mostly describe ERL. An example of this is the HEARTS performance in Edinburgh: “We’d been a little overambitious in our objective to compete in two new benchmarks and arrived under-prepared. We worked extremely hard over the week to improve our performance, achieving good scores in both benchmarks by the end of the competition.”
In this direction, Robotics Lab UC3M Team shares: “The experience was certainly positive, because ERL reflects the efforts made in the laboratory to prepare for the competition. Since the tournament is part of a League, the mere fact of participating is already a challenge to improve the programming needed in order to successfully perform the tests”.
“One of the greatest ERL SR virtues is the healthy competition that is generated between all teams. There’s enough communication to learn how each team faces the same problem and in this way, we can all improve algorithms for future tests”, spotlights IRI@ERL Team.
The three teams had a TIAGo as a team member, and all agree in standing out its robustness and reliability both in hardware and software. Robotics Lab UC3M explains that due to TIAGo’s good behaviour, they could focus on developing high level functionalities for it. “We have to point out the navigation system implemented in the robot, very efficient in varying environments, as we could verify”, they stressed.
“TIAGo has proven to be an ideal platform for both assistential and service robotics. Its dimensions and manoeuvrability are excellent to navigate in domestic environments, as we experienced in the diverse testbeds”, told us IRI@ERL Team. They also liked its large workspace, “provided by TIAGo’s arm position and lifting torso, which makes it easy to manipulate objects in diverse heights.”
Congratulations to all teams! We look forward to seeing you all at the final classification announcement at the European Robotics Forum, in Tampere (Finland)!
They say knowledge is power, and retail industry is no exception to this. Inventory control is at the heart of any business that deals with stocking. Frequently learning what you have and where you have it in a store or a warehouse opens the possibility of optimizing stock management, which has a direct impact in sales.
Robots can be instrumental in handling stock. StockBot has proven to speed up stocktaking and optimize inventory management at the stores where it is deployed and operating. It provides an exhaustive picture of everything that is in store and how it is distributed in a 3D map, which is highly appreciated by retailers. The consequences: fast restocking, misplacements detection anddecisions supported by reliable data.
Upgrading StockBot with vision
A new technology is now available to be integrated in StockBot. Besides RFID technology and the autonomous robotic navigation, now StockBot can also benefit from having vision cameras. This means that, built upon the robot, there can be RFID antennas, cameras or both systems working together for a maximum stock controlunlike anything ever seen.
Profitable applications are possible for retailers when using StockBot, such as planogram checking, strategically improvement of products’ visibility, price checking, well-foundeddata-driven decisions, or Big Data opportunities.
Autonomous behaviour 24/7
One of StockBot’s biggest advantages is to enable managers and staff to forget about the inventory task, while knowing for sure that accurate data will be delivered every day. The information collected by the robot is integrated to the retailer’s inventory system, enhancing its usefulness when processing such data.
How can StockBot work autonomously? Its sensored advanced navigation plays a big role here. It only requires one first set-up to start working without any supervision nor environment modification needed. Even if the store distribution is changed, the robot will understand it and search for a new path.
Would like to see the robot in action? StockBot will be at EuroCIS trade fair (Hall 10 Stand C09) in Düsseldorf, Germany from February 27th to March 1st!
There’s no need to have a robot to start developing applications for it! TIAGo, as all our robots, has the ROS simulation available for free and open to anyone willing to improve your code skills or even get started in robotics. A set of comprehensive tutorials in basic, intermediate and advanced levels are suitable both for those who want to improve their programming skills, and for people without any robotics’ knowledge (yet). Entering into robotics is easy with TIAGo!
Here are some useful resources that PAL Robotics put available for you:
MoveIt! is an easy-to-use ROS software for mobile manipulation that puts together the latest improvements in motion planning, manipulation, 3D perception, kinematics, control and navigation. It has become one of the most widely used platforms for developing advanced applications and for testing a robot’s design. MoveIt! is also open source, just like ROS is.
How to use MoveIt! on TIAGo
Using MoveIt! is an easy way to take full advantage of TIAGo’s skills. Here you can find some detailed applications to start running MoveIt! in your TIAGo simulation:
Planning in joint space: How to reach a given joint space configuration using motion planning based on MoveIt!. Torso-arm group of joints of TIAGo can be brought to any desired joint space configuration, ensuring joint limit avoidance and self-collisions.
As robots’ skills are amazingly rocketing at the technical level, our imagination flies envisioning their vast potential to assist us in our everyday life. But technical breakthroughs cannot walk alone. A favourable ecosystem is essential to foster robotics, and this means that legislation, ethics, businesses and end-users have to be ready to embrace them.
With the aim of fostering a suitable paradigm for the introduction of robotics, a new EU Project was born in Brussels, called INBOTS. The consortium has more than 25 partners from 13 different countries, and wants to create a community hub that gathers together multidisciplinary experts to deliver the best future guidelines for creating responsible regulation and standards.
INBOTS CSA focuses on interactive robots, meaning all those which work closely with humans. This is the framework where PAL Robotics’ robots are also placed, since their mission is to actively collaborate with people. We also agree with and believe that we have to support each other to grow a positive European robotics ecosystem all together. INBOTS is a great opportunity for that and it is aligned with other strong European initiatives.
The four pillars that sustain robots’ success
INBOTS becomes “a platform to establish a working synergy between four pillars that covers all stakeholders in Interactive Robotics”, which are:
Ethical, legal and socioeconomic Pillar
End-users, policy makers and general public Pillar
As the head of Unit of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence in the European Commission Anne Bajart stated at the Kick-off meeting,coordination and support actions are important to achieve agreements on relevant aspects, both technical and non-technical. This is key to reinforce the European leadership in robotics, which can lead to strengthen the industry and boost the economy.
Five teams from different European universities competed in Barcelona in a thrilling European Robotics League Tournament hosted byPAL Robotics! In this Service Robots’ category contest, robots had to prove themselves useful helping an old woman at home autonomously. This is why PAL Robotics’ offices got quite transformed, adapting the space to recreate an apartment. Tests involved domestic tasks like following a person, understanding and obeying voice commands, accomplishing with specific orders or receiving guests at the house.
Using TIAGo for Service tasks
Four teams used TIAGo to compete at ERL! They got creative on integrating their favourite devices to the robot to expand its capabilities, easily plugging gadgets such as an Amazon Echo Dot or an Intel NUC. Participants could also use an independent operating system on a laptop to command TIAGo thanks to the ROS open source framework it uses.
The RGB-D camera that comes inside TIAGo helped a lot in the object recognition tasks and in supporting the autonomous navigation. Thanks to the camera, TIAGo can detect obstacles like tables, which are trickier if only detected by the lasers. All of this, in addition to the comfort of programming the robot from the TIAGo’s convenient laptop tray!
Raphael Memmesheimer, from the HOMER@UniKoblenz Team, pointed out: “I’m impressed by the progress we’ve made in just one month with TIAGo. We received it one month ago and we are already able to grasp objects, to navigate properly, and I think that we can achieve much more in the future.”
ERL: An enriching experience that boosts research
“At Bristol Robotics Lab in the UK, it’s quite a sterile environment, quite clinical, things are organized. But when you come to an environment like this that represents a real home, there is a lot to learn about uncertainty, things not being quite what you expect them to be. That’s what has been so valuable about the competition, that we can test it in a realistic environment”, expressed the HEARTS team member Zale Steer.
Many hopes are put into the role of robots in the future, as the SocRob@HOME Team Member Luis Luz said: “I think that they will help in a good way and not as we sometimes see in movies”. In fact, ERL stands as a unique framework to boost such robotics field. The IRI@ERL Team member Ferran Martinez stated that ERL “is a good opportunity to improve your code skills, to learn new things that you don’t learn in your studies. And it is a chance to learn how different people approach to the same kind of problem”.
This practical side of the competition is also appreciated by Juan Victores, member of the Robotics Lab UC3M Team, who said that “the problem with robotics up to now is that all the fields have been studied separately. Challenges like ERL force us to focus our developments on integration. So you are bridging all the gaps that are classically missing in robotics”.
A way of celebrating the European Robotics Week
The European Robotics League was one exciting way to celebrate the European Robotics Week. The participants could be part of the one-of-a-kind working environment that is felt at PAL Robotics, while being also surrounded by many robots from the company during the contest. Organizing and hosting the Tournament was a pleasure for PAL Robotics!
Now we’ll have to wait until the European Robotics Forum, in Tampere (Finland), to see the final classification. Best of luck to all teams!
The European robotics community celebrated its Robotics Week (ERW) from 17th to 26th of November with more than 950 events all around the territory. This year, the house of all the regions, the European Committee of the Regions, hosted the ERW Central Event in Brussels, an event sponsored by PAL Robotics.
The European Robotics Week Central Event at the CoR. Picture credits: euRobotics
The diverse EU projects in which we participate stand as an example of the direction in which we want to push robotics: to make robots serve people and improve the quality of life. The ERW Central Event was a useful chance to share this vision with the European institutions and related stakeholders, who were also very enthusiastic to meet REEM-C and two TIAGos – for some, it was their very first time shaking hands with a robot!
The Co4Robots project had a special relevance at the ERW Central Event. The project aims to develop a decentralized system to control and coordinate heterogeneous robots in collaborative complex tasks. This is a key step to ensure an efficient future for robotics.
There was time for fun too! REEM-C played a bit of piano to celebrate the #DayOfMusic and could meet the youngest participants of the event, who showed us their robotic creations! Meanwhile, we couldn’t take the eyes off of the ERL with the Facebook Live streaming that we broadcasted through our screens there.
The European Robotics League, at PAL Robotics!
This year PAL Robotics changed the traditional Open Day to host an European Robotics League Tournament in Barcelona! PAL Robotics’ offices were transformed to recreate a house for this Service Robotics Local Tournament. The five teams made an outstanding performance, you can check the final scores here. We will reveal more insights on the European Robotics League outcome very soon, so stay tuned!
III Iberian Robotics Conference in Sevilla
The robotic developments of the Iberian Peninsula were also gathered together at ROBOT 2017, the III Iberian Robotics Conference hosted by Universidad de Sevilla. TIAGo also traveled to this conference and was especially attentive to the industrial applications and collaborative robotics’ debates and talks.
We enjoyed so much this European Robotics Week all over Europe, can’t wait for next year’s!
One of the pictures PAL Robotics submitted to the Humanoids Photo Contest. Click and vote!
This November is an exciting month for us and for our robots! It began last Wednesday, when our CEO Francesco Ferro was invited as an expert at the European Parliament to take part in the “Transferring Robots to the world of SMEs” conference.
Now we’ve got a date with the humanoid robotics community next week in Birmingham, at Humanoids 2017! Top stakeholders and researchers in the field will participate in three intensive days of workshops and debates that deepen on the capabilities, potential and challenges that humanoid robots have nowadays. Check out the full programme here!
Bipedal humanoids have always been at the heart of PAL Robotics, which is why we are Gold Sponsors of Humanoids 2017. We endorse this ambitious robotics field, since it enormously contributes to the whole robotics state of art and opens multiple possibilities for a future of service robots.
Where to find us at Humanoids 2017
For the first time TALOS is joining the team that is travelling to the UK altogether with REEM-C and TIAGo. All of them have new demos ready to be shown at the conference exhibition! High-performance robot TALOS is the next step PAL Robotics made in bipedal robots after the proven reliability of the also human-sized REEM-C.
Where do we envision humanoid robots? What will they be capable of? The workshop “Humanoid Robot for Real Applications Use”, organized by F. Kanehiro and A. Kheddar on Wednesday 15th is rising a debate on the next steps that have to be done in order to introduce collaborative humanoids at homes, industries and public spaces. As experts in bipeds and in robust walking control, our CEO will share our know-how with the workshop participants.
One of the papers that will be presented on Friday 17th (15h) is: “TALOS: A New Humanoid Research Platform Targeted for Industrial Applications”, by Olivier Stasse et al. The paper describes TALOS’ kinematics design, which enables the robot to adapt to a human environment and perform industrial tasks. High quality components are also pointed out, such as the torque sensors in all joints or the fast EtherCAT communication bus inside.
We are truly motivated to attend Humanoids 2017 and we hope to see all of you there!
Over the last years, the robotics market has been filled with many new models of robots. This tendency leads us to imagine the future with multiple robots helping us around and performing a rich variety of tasks, which sounds amazing. But such situation also raises a relevant challenge: how will all these diverse robots coordinate?
Saving time and optimizing resources will be best achieved if all the platforms are integrated in a multi-robot system, even if there are different developers behind each robot. This is the overall goal of a H2020 EU Project: Co4Robots. The work will focus on decentralizing the control and coordination of heterogeneous robots that should interact between them and with humans.
Consortium meeting & Integration week at PAL Robotics
The first developments with TIAGo were a success! All the Co4Robots partners met in Barcelona from 16th to 20th of November to work intensively on the project. After the consortium meetings on the first days, a TIAGo robot was used to perform some tests on the first milestone of the project: collaborative grasping between the robot and a person.
It was a pleasure to receive the consortium partners from KTH, Bosch, NTUA, UGOT and FORTH at PAL Robotics’ offices, sharing different experiences and building this project together! We look forward to the next steps of Co4Robots!