JOL CRAB: the house of robots JOL CRAB: the house of robots

JOL CRAB: the house of robots

...and much more

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The aim of the JOL CRAB is to develop technologies, prototypes and service concepts that involve robots not only interacting with the Web (by exploiting the potential of the Cloud Computing infrastructure) but also with humans. To achieve this, the problems generated by using service robotics need to be faced from a technological, legal and economic viewpoint, as well as from one related to human-machine interaction, namely, ergonomic, perceptive-cognitive and expressive aspects.

We are working on these issues in collaboration with various faculties of the Polytechnic of Turin to develop appropriate enabling technologies.

To better understand what is involved, we interviewed Marco Gaspardone, Director of the Telecom Italia Joint Open Lab CRAB.

A fascinating aspect of robotics and one of the causes of extreme difficulty in obtaining concrete results is the important interdisciplinary approach that characterises this scientific discipline. The sectors involved in the study of robotics include information technology, ethics, biology, precision engineering, psychology and artificial intelligence. The problems to be solved and the technologies to deploy in order to make a robot move around an environment, do a task, interact with people and things, perceive and reason, all require a combination of a wide sphere of knowledge.

The aim of the CRAB is to perform field trials for testing the use of service robots (terrestrial robots, humanoids and drones) in a concrete way and in real-world environments.

Activities are carried out by following two main strategies:

  • applying the concept of Cloud Robotics: i.e. an approach to robotics according to which the intelligence of the robot is shifted to the Web, instead of remaining “on board” the robot itself, in order to create robots with higher performance at a lower cost;
  • using the ROS (Robot Operating System) framework to develop software: i.e. using a development environment for robotics applications that allows the application logic to be abstracted from the hardware on which the application is executed, with an approach similar to Java or Android.

Such strategies lead to the prototyping of a Cloud Robotics Network Platform that can provide functionalities for robotics applications accessible via the Web.