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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Indian techie builds low cost robot for household chores

Bangalore: A Bangalore based Microsoft techie, Ramaprasad has built robots that can cook, keep the house safe when he is away and help him spend his leisure the way he likes it best. Also, these robots tell him news that interests him, and show him ads of products he would like to buy.

Talking to Bangalore Mirror on the sideline of Microsoft Tech Ed being organized in Bangalore, Ramaprasad said that it is awesome letting smart robots do all the humdrum work at home. What thrills him even more is that he made all the robots, which he calls Buddyhomes. The software, hardware, design and implementation are all his.



For the past 15 day, Buddyhomes do every work for Ramaprasad. They wake him up with an alarm. If he does not wake up, they pour some water over his head! He goes for his breakfast. He puts the noodles into a pan on the stove. Then he leaves because he wants to read the newspaper. Meanwhile, a buddyhome stirs the noodles. In two minutes, he gets the message that noodles is ready. He scans the newspapers. He is interested in Lalu Prasad Yadav. He smiles. Immediately, the screen on the wall before him shows the latest available news about Lalu.

Building these robots with software including cloud computing, Microsoft.Net, Visual Studio 2010 and Open Computer Vision, Ramaprasad said that the technology to build the robots is 'very simple'. It has three webcams and a screen, gesture-recognising software, and hardware from SP Road near Town Hall. "It costs me just Rs.16,000. It is so reasonable because most parts are from SP Road. The motors, chips, atmega, and H bridges are all from SP Road."

Now Ramaprasad is trying to finetune the robots to do wet mops of the floor, and do more sophisticated cooking. In particular, he wants to pursue gesture-reading robots because he sees great potential in it for the hearing- and speech-impaired. "I think it is possible to interpret gestures, and turn that into voice. Think how it can help those who cannot speak," said Ramaprasad, who studied in College of Engineering, Guindy, Chennai, and has a BE in computer science and engineering from Anna University.

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