Thursday, December 01, 2011
Hand Gesture Controlled Vacuum Cleaner
School of Industrial Design , University of Lund asked why robotic vacuum cleaners are not a regular part of our everyday lives. The concept of a completely automated robotic aid to help us with our chores seems, at glance, an attractive proposition. He interviewed various groups of users and found out that most robotic vacuum cleaners do have some technical problems like limitations in suction power and inability to handle long strands of hair. But, surprisingly, the typical users did not seem to mind, in fact most users were very happy with their robots. In contrast, interviews with people with little or no experience with robotic vacuums reveals a far more skeptical approach. Mainly, this group exposed a trust issue, where a majority feared that the robot would be uncontrollable and would cause problems if and when it went unsupervised. In his master thesis design project he focused on an innovative idea to provide a feeling of control to the user. The result allows for a big measure of control over the robotic vacuum cleaner, while still keeping its autonomy. This is achieved with a design concept utilizing a hand recognition system that was inspired by research into our relation and interaction with pets.
His idea correspondents very well with the new trend to apply gesture technology such as Wii and Kinect to robotic applications. Master thesis link here.