Our goals with rocon stem from previous forays aiming at making robots more capable and expressive in a networked environment. These preliminary experiments are now end of line, interestingly enough, for the very reasons that make rocon a much more practical prospect worth investing in. There is a real convergence in technologies recently
- Smart phones have triggered extremely rapid growth in pervasive wireless technologies and embedded computational power.
- Inexpensive 3d sensors providing enough information about the real world to be useful.
- Robot middleware decreasing the effort in order to standardise on a communication layer.
These advances are contributing greatly to the feasibility of tackling the multi-robot-human-device problem. In particular, the hardware issues are becoming tractable, what remains is largely a software problem.
How to compose the system in such a manner so that it is 1) simple to setup, 2) flexible enough to enable a variety of interesting solutions and 3) not so rigid that it constrains experimentation in the area of orchestration. Currently solutions are typically one-off research lab demonstrations for which there is little focus on automating or at least simplifying the setup and configuration of a multi-robot-device-human solution. This is a void we intend to fill while at the same time creating the building blocks needed to support experimentation with a variety of different strategies at a higher level.
What will it look like?
That is a good question...Our focus is to make difficult things simple and be an enabler for higher level strategies. With this in mind, we are targeting a first real implementation and labelling it the orchestration platform prototype. A good visualisation can be found in those pages - keep in mind that they are development notes.