Robots have been contributing a major part to every part of the industry in supporting repetitive tasks, such as in the assembly lines of cars or even helping in the production of microchips. Robotics is an amazing field that is going to accelerate more robot in the near future. It should find a way in less structured environments such as healthcare or even hazardous environments in times of disasters. Wouter Houtman, who is a researcher, has investigated the interaction of robots with their environment and developed algorithms to improve their movements in the ‘the real world’.
As robots are taking over the world rapidly, a vast amount of them are being used in the automatization of industrial processes, like the assembly of cars and automotive parts or even for the production of microchips. These kinds of robots are created to perform a limited number of specific tasks in a relatively stable kind of environment.
Efforts are also being made to design robots of completely biodegradable materials so that they do not impact the environment to any extent. Robot can also prove to be highly cost and time-efficient in waste collection when compared to humans. Most of the automation with industrial robots cuts down on material waste, allowing for the efficient use of raw materials, helping to keep the environment clean and steady.
But, on the other hand, when we take a look at the robots in healthcare that are being used to assist nurses as there is a shortage of staff in the hospitals and healthcare sectors these days. These robot can also be used for searching for vitamins or hazardous substances post-disaster, they can be helpful in great ways. Wouter Houtman, therefore, investigated several case studies on how robots can function in varied environments.
While he talks about soccer robot, he says that those case studies are different. Soccer-playing robot, plant grading robots, and robots that can estimate human motion intentions, he says there are many challenges. He states that by investigating diverse systems, we can improve robot systems on multiple fronts simultaneously.
The soccer field is a highly dynamic environment, for Wouter Houtman makes it a perfect place to study the movements of autonomous robots. These soccer robots have a platform with steerable wheels that can make wheel orientation controllable. For this he came up with a dynamic wheel control, allowing fast re-orientation without slowing down the reactivity of the system after all the intentions of opponents are uncertain.
The other case study is that in two other systems, the researchers modeled the expected variation of the environment to facilitate the robot’s adoption. In a greenhouse tested Houtman, new algorithms to improve automatically counting of flowers in orchid plants, with varying plant size and number of flowers. In the last study, he investigated in a structured indoor environment whether a mobile robot could estimate the intention of a person.