Education, eldercare and COVID prevention to benefit from open platform robot

Paul Pickle of Lantronix

Lantronix Inc., a global provider of intelligent edge and secure data management solutions for the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), has teamed with Misty Robotics, to create Misty II.

An open-platform robot, Misty II has built-in applications for education, eldercare and COVID-19 transmission prevention in addition to extensive development capabilities. Qualcomm Robotics solutions from Qualcomm Technologies Inc. are integrated into Misty II.

“For robots to become a part of our everyday lives, developers need an accessible robot platform upon which to build,” says Morgan Bell, head of Engineering for Misty Robotics. “Working with Lantronix and its Intelligent Edge Solutions (IES) platform, we created Misty II with the performance and development capabilities needed for meaningful tasks and customisation for business, home healthcare and educational use.”

“Lantronix’s role in the creation of Misty II is a direct result of our expanded offerings in edge computing and engineering services attributed to our recent acquisition of Intrinsyc Technologies Corporation,” comments Paul Pickle, CEO of Lantronix. “Our expanded strengths enable us to offer Intelligent Edge Solutions that address a wide variety of development and manufacturing needs to support our customers’ visions — ranging from robotics to medical solutions to the fight against COVID-19.”

The Challenge: Create an open-platform robot for use in business, home and education

Misty Robotics turned to Lantronix to co-create an open-platform robot that could perform human-like tasks with a personality and perception abilities as well as serve as the basis for additional application development.

In addition to having the powerful technology needed for a useful robot, the Misty II platform needed to be easy to program and have expandable capabilities. The ultimate goal was to create an open platform so developers from around the world could contribute to Misty’s growth.

The Solution: A platform robot that invites everyone to contribute

Lantronix used its expertise to help Misty Robotics incorporate Qualcomm Robotics solutions into the design. Misty’s hardware includes two IES System on Modules (SOMs) based on solutions from Qualcomm Technologies.

The IES Open-Q 820Pro µSOM is equipped with a Qualcomm APQ8096SG application processor for visual and acoustic processing while the Open-Q 410 SOM is equipped with a Qualcomm APQ8016E application processor running Windows 10 IoT Core for UI/UX and programmability. Also included is the Qualcomm Aqstic Audio Codec (WCD9335) for advanced audio processing purposes.

Misty’s software utilises the Qualcomm Artificial Intelligence (AI) Engine for object detection and machine learning, Qualcomm Noise and Echo Cancellation and Qualcomm Voice Activation for which Lantronix enabled Qualcomm Hexagon DSP-based voice activation for APE-mode keyword detection for the “Hey Misty” custom keyword detection.

Working with Qualcomm Technologies’ robotics and audio team, Lantronix helped to facilitate advanced audio and keyword tuning. Advanced audio features for beam forming and noise reduction were key features to aid users interacting with Misty while in noisy environments.

Lantronix design services were leveraged by Misty Robotics to develop many other software capabilities, including camera management, audio management, display panel support, audio topology support using multiple microphones and speaker output, inter-processor communication, battery charging and tuning of noise suppression. Lantronix also helped with hardware design reviews and FCC certification testing support.

Results: A platform robot with wide potential

An innovator in product development services and edge computing modules, Lantronix helped Misty Robotics take full advantage of robotics solutions from Qualcomm Technologies to create Misty II, an open robotics development and learning platform.

Misty’s capabilities include:

  • An industrial yet approachable design with a fully articulating head and screen face capable of conveying an impressive array of expressions and personality and the ability to respond to touch
  • Spatial awareness and mapping that allows her to move freely on her motor-driven treads, including the ability to travel to her charging station when low on battery
  • High-resolution camera and object detection capabilities that let her detect people’s faces and other visual information
  • Far-field microphones and audio processing capabilities that give her the ability to hear speech while filtering out background noise
  • Advanced audio and keyword tuning
  • Ability to record video and audio data and share it with other devices or use her screen and speakers to stream data shared with her by other devices

The true potential lies in Misty’s customisation. Both her hardware and software can be modified with ease. For example:

  • Misty’s arms, headpiece and other appendages serve as attachment points so developers can build their own custom hardware attachments for unique tasks
  • A software development kit makes programming easy without prior robotics training
  • Misty is capable of integration with third-party APIs
  • Misty can be programmed for unique skills
  • Application templates are available from the Misty development community
  • Hardware and software modifications can be shared with the community

Built for exceptional performance, Misty has an impressive array of capabilities and gives developers the opportunity to build meaningful robot applications. With Misty, developers don’t need to worry about building their own robots. Utilising Misty’s open platform, developers can devote their attention to implementing their ideas and sharing them with the world.

Misty’s applications include:

  • Education. Misty’s straightforward software development kits and hardware customisation provide an incredibly engaging opportunity for students to learn programming, robotics and more.
  • Eldercare. Misty can be used in the growing eldercare industry to promote independence and quality of life. She can serve as a senior assistant by connecting to smart home appliances, monitoring falls and providing medication reminders all while supplying companionship with her convincing personality.
  • COVID-19 Protection and Prevention. Misty can help keep people safe from illnesses such as COVID-19. Currently under development are applications that enable Misty to move through a building to sanitise doorknobs and other surfaces that are frequently touched. Other applications will allow her to question visitors for symptoms of illness and use infrared cameras to check their temperatures for fevers, reducing the risk of exposure.
  • Social Use. Misty will also have applications that enable her use as a greeter, receptionist, delivery agent, security monitor and more.

“Misty’s most promising applications may have yet to be discovered. She has the potential to tap into the imagination of millions of developers who aspire to work with robots, helping shape the future of the industry,” concludes Morgan Bell for Misty Robotics.

For details, visit the complete case study.

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTNow_OR @jcIoTnow


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