Satakunta Co-Op commissioned Robotics Academy students to program a customer service robot for their newly renovated hardware store, Kodin Terra Pori. The aim of the project was to design and implement an application for a mobile robot that would allow a customer to specify a product. The mobile robot would then guide the customer to the new physical shelf location of the product.
The choice was made to use the Omron LD-90, an Autonomous Intelligent Vehicle or AIV, and build an application around its specifications. The LD-90 is ideal for routine internal logistics, such as moving materials.
The mobile robot charts its environment and can then navigate independently around the charted area. The robot can be programmed to communicate with specified waypoints and has laser sensors that allow it to circumvent people, furniture or other obstacles. These features were ideal for the project at hand.
The project provider clearly stated their wish for a simple and clean look to the user interface. In response, students created a landing page, a product search page, and a help page. In addition, a display was added that listed, in real time, where the robot was currently headed as well as the time it would arrive there.
To provide customers with a familiar user interface, Omron was fitted with a Samsung tablet in a tablet stand. The application was loaded onto the tablet and through the menu, customers were able to choose their product category (e.g. laminate flooring) which would trigger Omron to calculate a path to the item.
The project taught the students programming of the Omron mobile robot, including how to chart areas, creation of user interfaces and project management.