Makers Celebrate as PocketBot for ROS by Tesseract Mobile Makes Social Robotics Easier Than Ever

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Makers have a new tool to add social capabilities to their robots. PocketBot by Tesseract Mobile now has the ability to interface with ROS (Robotic Operating System) using an Android device.

PocketBot on an Android phone used as a robot interface.

PocketBot demonstrated by Nadia Ruslanova

"I wanted to make it easier to build cool robots. Or to add functionality to your existing robots and robotics projects."

PocketBot, an Android app by Tesseract Mobile, is designed to connect to ROS (Robotic Operating System). It allows Makers to add social capabilities to their robots using their Android phones or tablets. The app can recognize faces and keep eye contact. It interacts with users through normal conversation/speech input. By interoperating with ROS using a standard robotic language/messaging interface, PocketBot connects to existing ROS mapping systems, navigation algorithms, path planning, robotic visualization tools and more. Pocketbot also adds telepresence abilities to robots using the WebRTC standard.

Joshua Frank, co-founder and programmer at Tesseract Mobile, explains "I wanted to make it easier to build cool robots. Or to add functionality to your existing robots and robotics projects." Makers could, for example, build robots to remotely monitor their home while they are away. The same phone capabilities that allow a user to video chat can work for telepresence. A robot maker can invite a friend to control the robot remotely, like a virtual visitor. By connecting to an Arduino, PocketBot can even be used for automation tasks, like turning off and on lights and unlocking doors.

PocketBot had been used exclusively for internal research and development by Tesseract Mobile. They have since made PocketBot for ROS free to use and available for immediate download on the Google Play Store. Just follow this link: PocketBot

For more information on PocketBot, please visit http://pocketbot.io/ or http://wiki.ros.org/pocketbot.

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Laura Ockel
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