It's a very busy time for simon :). On Saturday I came back from a weeks worth of hacking and socializing on this years Akademy in Finland and just a couple of days later the whole simon team set off to the our next adventure: From Tuesday to Thursday we were attending the kick off meeting of our Astromobile project at the facilities of our project partner: The ARTS Lab of the Scuola Superiore Sant' Anna in Pisa.
In the Astromobile project we are trying to help seniors who are well able to take care of their daily routine but would benefit from a little assistance here and there.
Often these people don't want to have a full time care giver staying with them both for financial reasons but and to preserve their autonomy.
The Astromobile project tries to address this issue and bridge the gap between living autonomously and full on assisted living by creating a special robot that is able to for example remind seniors to take their medication, provide a way to call for help in case of an emergency as well as using modern technologies like video chats to set up a communication link with family and friends.
In this project, simon listens is responsible for the touch screen and the voice interface to the robot using our KDE4 based simon system.
Just after the introduction of the Scuola Superiore Sant' Anna by one of their professors our robot plattform - the SCITOS G5 from a german company called MetraLabs - arrived.
After coordinating the most important steps we received a short introduction to the internal workings of the robot plattform and were pleasently surprised when we booted it up for the first time.
Yes you are seeing the KDM login screen of Fedora 12 :)
(Full disclosure: The robot contains both GNOME and KDE and actually logs into GNOME by default - but still :)
We then got a quick walk through on how to talk to the many sensors, how to use the integrated path planning, mapping features and the script language, AngelScript, that is used to communicate to the robot platform.
During our stay we also got to see the living lab of the ARTS Lab which is basically a 200 square meter appartment containing lots of smart home prototypes. This is also the place where we will be testing our solution with elder people.
While we were in the area we also visited a pilot project which deployed automatic garbage disposal robots called "Dustbots" which were also developed by the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna.
They are running Ubuntu, btw :)