to rumors on the street, Pi Robot does not star in the new film "Life
of Pi" although I think a cameo appearance would have been a nice
touch. However, Pi does make several appearances in the "5th Year Anniversary" video by Willow Garage at:
See if you can spot Pi and one of his feline friends. (The face tracking of Mona Lisa is also from Pi's lab.)
I also did a web interview with robotics company Robotis called "The Chronicle of Pi Robot".
latest endeavor involves becoming a telepresence robot for a person at
work who, for medical reasons, has to spend much of her day in a
reclined position. I have programmed a web interface for Pi so
that the operator can drive Pi around the premises while being able to
see through Pi's eyes. Pi also has a Nexus 7 tablet under his
main camera which allows the operator to Skype into the robot and have
a face-to-face conversation with someone standing in front.
Here's a picture to give you an idea:
(The black oblong object is a speaker.) And here is a picture of the web interface the operator uses.
green "trackpad" on the left operates Pi's pan and tilt camera by
dragging the yellow disc with the mouse. The the blue trackpad on the
right controls his movement across the ground. The middle panel
displays the video stream from Pi's camera. The red dots at the
bottom of the video indicate obstacles detected by Pi's laser
scanner. This helps the operator avoid objects that might be out
of view of the camera. Pi's program also has an auto-stop feature
that will prevent the operator from running into an unseen
obstacle. (In the image above, there is a box on the floor to the
right beneath the field of view and a smaller robot to the left, also
out of view. The red laser dots indicate that it is safe to drive
straight ahead but not to the left or right.)
Below the video
screen are status indicators for Pi's main battery, the laptop battery,
and the temperature of the pan and tilt servos.
Navigation tab is clicked, a map of the surroundings is loaded (if
available) and the operator can use point-and-click on a location to
have Pi find his own way to the goal using SLAM.
In other developments, Pi released both Fuerte and Groovy version of his book ROS By Example and copies have been selling like hot cakes. (OK, more like day-old donut holes but it's a niche market!)