In recent times many different areas of robotics are benefiting from this on a component level, but over at Intel Labs, they’re taking a more direct approach with a project called OpenBot that turns US $50 worth of hardware and the project aims to convert smartphone into a mobile robot that can support advanced robotics workloads such as person following and real-time autonomous navigation in unstructured environments.
This work aims to address two key challenges in robotics: accessibility and scalability. Smartphones are ubiquitous and are becoming more powerful by the year. Thereby the firm has developed new robot by combining hardware and software that turns smartphones into robots. The experiments have shown that a $50 robot body powered by a smartphone is capable of person following and real-time autonomous navigation.
The firm hopes that the presented work will open new opportunities for education and large-scale learning via thousands of low-cost robots deployed around the world. The company will also be focusing on documentation, which is probably the most important part about building a low-cost community focused platform like this. And as soon as they’ve put together a way for us actual novices to turn phones into robots the company will let you know the launch date.