Design News, April 2013

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Source: Moog AniMAticS Automation & Control The Millenia Robot (IRI) visits children in a local hospital. especially receptive to Millennia, our newest mobile robot." Autism is a developmental disability, which often includes delayed speech, a lack of interest in relationships, and limited eye contact. According to the Autism Society, one percent of American children ages 3 to 17 have an autism spectrum disorder. "In the robot's presence, a magical change occurs where intellect, physical appearance, abilities, or handicaps suddenly become unimportant. Such a therapeutic experience is made possible by the non-human attributes of the robot. His interlocutors are never placed in a situation where the children feel obliged to 'compare' themselves to the robot or be concerned with how the robot may perceive them." IRI has taken its social robots to clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools for the hearing and sight impaired, and more. While the majority of their goodwill visits occur free of charge, Doornick supports these visits by employing his social robots for talk shows, tradeshows, television appearances, and corporate events. In all situations, he observes the necessary conditions for the ultimate human-robot interaction experience. "When humans hear speech, we associate it with human behavior and have high expectations for the interaction. Our robots are remotely controlled but don't speak with a robotic voice, which make the robots immediately relatable and establishes a connection that's acceptable. The movements are also ex- tremely important. The robots need to be slow with closed-loop feedback systems to detect bumping into things or people, fluid enough to mimic human movement, and quiet enough that you forget it's a machine." To ensure his social robots move in the most quiet, fluid manner, and are remotely programmable, Doornick moved from DC motors to fully integrated servo motors with advanced controllers, primarily relying on the SmartMotor for its program capacity and ability to quickly calculate complex sequences of movement. "We wanted to upgrade our robots to become programmable and animated, with the ability to be remotely controlled with complex movement sequences, such as dancing or using gestures to illustrate a story it's telling. Our talented Mannetron engineering team found that the SmartMotor had a good weight-to-torque ratio with the precise closed-loop movements we were trying to create and it could all be connected to a central computer — head, arms, waist, and neck. We've been using Animatics' products for over 10 years and have world-class, extremely lifelike mobile, social robots," said Doornick. Chuck Searcy is a senior applications engineer at Moog Animatics. For more information, go to How do you select the ideal positioning sensor solution? ©2013 TURCK

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