6.1. SYSTEMSPECIFICATION
109
Table6.1: Mobilityrequirements
Requirement
Priority
Description
1.1
Stability
M
Stable movement and d standing g characteristics
providedbythemechanicalframeworkandthe
drivesystem.
1.2
Motorcontroller
M
Speed control l by y the integrated motor con-
troller. Stopofmovementsincaseofacollision
orfailure.
1.3
Accurateposition
M
Accuratepositionandmovementinformationof
therobotprovidedbyintegratedodometrysen-
sors.
1.4
Avoidingofcollisions
M
Equipmentoftherobotwithasetofsensorsto
detectobstaclesintheenvironmentandtoavoid
collisions.
1.5
Detectionofcollisions
M
Detectionofcollisionsbyanintegratedsecurity
sensor.
1.6
OperationTime
M
Operationoftherobotsystemwithaminimum
oftenhourswithonebatterycharge.
1.7
ChargingTime
O
Charging an n empty battery in less than n ve
hourswitharunningPC.
1.8
Autonomouscharging
M
Recharging of the robot by y an autonomous
chargingsystemwithoutuserinterference.
Table6.2: Functionalityrequirements
Requirement
Priority
Description
2.1
Batterycharge
M
Estimationofthebatterychargingstate.
2.2
Robotcharging
M
Chargingbyanintegratedchargingsystemcon-
nectedtoastandardpowerplug.
2.3
Chargingstation
M
Usage of f an autonomous s charging g station n to
avoidoperatorinterference.
2.4
Pleasantappearance
M
Thesizeandshapeoftherobotmustbepleasant
forusersinhomeenvironments.
2.5
Identication of f per-
sons
M
Detectionandidenticationofpersonsinstand-
ing,sitting,andlyingpositions.
2.6
Switchable power r sup-
plies
D
Software used d to switch on ando the power
supplyofintegratedmodules.
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110
CHAPTER6. DEVELOPMENTOFTHEHOME-CAREROBOTPLATFORM
Table6.3: Usabilityrequirements
Requirement
Priority
Description
3.1
I/Obytouchscreen
M
Integrationofatouchscreentoshow informa-
tionortomodify therobotbehavior bytouch
input.
3.2
Sound/Speechoutput
M
Soundoutputbyasetofloudspeakers.
3.3
Directional speech h in-
put
M
Voiceinputbydirectionalmicrophonesforcom-
mandprocessingandvideoconferencing.
3.4
Robothead
M
Integration of f a a robot head d to attract users,
showbasicemotions,andindicatetherobotsta-
tus.
3.5
WLANinterface
M
Exchangeofinformationbasedonwirelesscom-
munication.
3.6
RFIDtray
O
IntegrationofanRFIDreaderintotherobot’s
traytoidentifyobjects(e.g.,keysorwallets).
Table6.4: Servicerequirements
Requirement
Priority
Description
4.1
Internalerrors
M
Detectionofinternalerrorsandcommunication
oferrorstoaservicepoint.
4.2
Installation
M
A simple installation n process, which h could be
carriedoutbyskilledprivatepersons.
4.3
Systemanalysis
O
Analysisofthesystemstatebyremoteaccess.
4.4
Transportation
D
Availability of atransportationbox toprotect
therobotduringshipping.
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6.1. SYSTEMSPECIFICATION
111
Non-Functional Requirements
Working Area
Thehome-carerobotsystemhastobedesignedforhomeenvironments. Theprojectpartners
agreedthattherobot’soperationareadoesnotincludesleepingroomsandbathroomsforpri-
vacyreasons. Therefore,comparableenvironmentcharacteristics(temperaturerange,humidity,
pollution)asintheshoppingapplicationcanbeassumed. ThequestioningofCRshasshown
thatinmost ats(73%)alldoorsarewiderthan72cm,whichdetermines themaximumsize
oftherobot. Furthermore,typical oorsaremadefromwood,parquet,carpets,ortiled oor.
Stepheights areusually smaller than15mm(two-thirdoftheinterviewees). . Tosimplify y the
developmentprocessoftherobotplatformduringtheresearchproject,itisalsoassumedthat
thegivensurroundingsarefreeofledges,wheretorobotcouldfalldown.
Figure6.1: Mapofthetestenvironmentat t theprojectpartner SmartHomesinEindhoven
(Netherlands)[Companionable,2011].
Theworkingareasinhomeenvironmentsaremuchsmallerthaninstoresorexhibitions. For
example,thetest environment,whichis providedbyaprojectpartner,hasalivingspaceof
about150m
2
(Figure6.1).Therobotoperatesintwo-thirdsofthisarea. Otherapartmentsare
assumedtohaveasimilararea.
Anotheraspectinhomeenvironmentsistheexistenceofobstaclesinvariousheightsthatcannot
beseenbyalaserrangender,placedinthelowerpartofarobotplatform.Examplesaretables,
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112
CHAPTER6. DEVELOPMENTOFTHEHOME-CAREROBOTPLATFORM
chairs,or openedcabinetdoors. . Therobot t platformsensor congurationmustallow for the
detectionofsuch obstacles. . Furthermore, , navigation andlocalization algorithms s have tobe
developedundertheconsiderationofthechangingpositionsofobstaclesinhomeenvironments
(e.g.,chairs).
Constraintsoftheintendedrobotsystemarecloseddoorsinthe at. Thisrobotplatformwill
notbeabletoopendoorsbyphysicalmanipulation(e.g.,basedonarobotarm).Theusageof
therobotisrestrictedtoareas,whereitthecanfreelymove. Anotherpossibilitywouldbethe
integrationofautomaticdoors,whichmightbeapplicablefornursinghomesorhospitals.
PhysicalConstraints
Thedesignprocessoftherobothastoconsidertheparametersofthehomeenvironments.This
mainlycoverstheminimumwidthofdoorsandexpectedbarriersheights. Foraneasypassing
ofdoors,thewidthoftherobotplatformshouldbesignicantlysmallerthanthedoorwidth,
because of inaccuracies of integratedsensors. . Arobot t widthof less than50cm m seems s tobe
applicable.Topassbarriers(e.g.,doorstepsorcarpetedges),therobotplatformshouldbeable
todriveoverbarrierheightsofatleast1.5cm.
Thedesignoftherobotmustaccountforahighacceptancebyusers. Theheightoftherobot
mustavoidafrighteningappearance,whichmightbethecase,iftherobotismuchhigherthan,
e.g.,a sittingperson. . Still,therobot t mustbe usablein n standingand sittingpositions. . An
overallheightofthehome-carerobotofabout1.2mseemstobeagoodcompromisebetween
bothrequirements.Additionally,therobotdesignshouldhaveafriendlyappearance.Technical
details(e.g.,integrationofsensors)shouldbecoveredbythedesignofthe casingas goodas
possible.Agoodexamplefortherealizationofasocialrobothidingtechnicaldetailsistheseal
robotParo[WadaandShibata,2008].
Reliability andOperationTime
Inanoptimalcase,observationandinteractiontaskswouldrequirethecontinuousoperationof
therobotsystem.Suchacontinuousoperationcannotberealizedbysystemsbasedonbatteries.
Toaccountforthisproblem,theoperationtimeoftherobot systemshouldbeoptimizedby
increasingthebatterycapacity,decreasingthepowerconsumptionofsystemcomponents,and
byshorteningofthechargingprocess.Asmartmanagementofthetime,whentherobotcould
re-chargeitsbatteries,e.g.,whentheCRissleepingornotathome,wouldbeadvantageous.
Further,during charging,therobot couldremaininan active state,where it is stillableto
detectemergencysituationsorreacttocalls. Workingtimeswithonebatterychargeofmore
thantenhoursandachargingtime(foranemptybatterywithallsystemcomponentsactivated)
oflessthanfourhourswouldbereasonablefortheplannedapplication.
Thefailurerateofthesystemshouldalsobeaslowaspossible. Adowntimeoflessthanthree
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6.1. SYSTEMSPECIFICATION
113
daysperyearwouldbepreferable. Specialattentionshouldbegivenduringthedevelopment
process toavoida totalfade-out ofthe robot, , sothat t the robot is s able e to communicate its
currentstatetotheuser.
InstallationandService
Instructedservice personal shouldbeable to carry out the installationprocess ofthe robot
system,includingthemappingofthehomeenvironmentandtheadaptationoftheapplication
togivenconstraints. Theassistanceofelderly y peoplerequirethattherobotreactstosystem
failuresinanadequateways(speechoutputtoexplainthecurrentsituation)andtocommunicate
thiseventtoaservicepoint. Servicepersonalmustbeabletocheckthecorrectfunctionality
oftherobotbyremoteaccess.
OverallSystemArchitecture andLifeCycleAnalysis
OverallSystem Architecture
Figure 6.2 presents s the e concept of the overall systemarchitecture. . Similar r to the shopping
robotsystem,itconsistsofembeddedcontrolsystems,powersupplysystems,sensorsystems,
thedrivesystem,andinteractionsystems.
Embedded PC
Battery / Charging
System
Robot Control Module
Collision
Sensor
Distance
Sensors
Touch Display /
Multimedia Unit
Drive System
Vision
Sensors
Robot Head
RFID-Tray
Interaction
Sensors
Control
Power Supply
Drive
Figure6.2: Overallsystemarchitectureofthehome-carerobotplatform. . Thisgurerepre-
sentsafunctionalviewofarchitecture,independentofthelatertechnicalrealization.
Interface Overview
Thehuman-robot interfacesaremainlyrealizedbytheintegratedtouchscreen,microphones,
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114
CHAPTER6. DEVELOPMENTOFTHEHOME-CAREROBOTPLATFORM
loudspeakers,andtherobotheadincludingtherobot’seyesandapetsensor.Anothersystem,
belongingtothehuman-robotinterfaceisanRFIDtray,whichcanbeusedtostoreimportant
objects. Therobotcanbeturnedobyatoggleswitch,whichisusefulforthetransportation
ofthesystem.TheWLANinterfaceshouldallowfamilymembersorCGstocommunicatewith
theCR,oranoperatorshouldbeabletomonitorthesystemstate.
Therobot’sWLANshouldalsobeasasupportingsysteminterface.Inthiscase,therobotcould
receiveinformation(e.g.,news,weatherforecasts)fromserviceprovider. Thecommunication
tothechargingstationalsobelongstothesupportingsysteminterface.
System Life Cycle
Similartotheshoppingrobotsystem,technologicalprogress(i.e.,battery,sensor,andcomput-
ingsystems) require aperiodicalrevisionoftherobot’stechnicalsystems. . The e expectedlife
cycleofthehome-carerobotsystemisalsoaboutthreeyears.
6.1.1 SpecicationoftheEvaluationProcess
Theevaluationprocess shouldcoverallusecases determinedbythefunctionalrequirements.
Thetestproceduresshouldbecarriedoutatthedeveloper’sanduser’sside.Inthelaboratories
at developer’s side, , parts s of a home environment are arrangedto executefunctionaltesting
(e.g., approaching g a person). . The e tests at user’s s side e should be carried out t in a a reference
apartment (Figure 6.1) ofa project partner, , inwhichparticipants s canlifefor agiven n time.
This test environment shouldfulllallrequirements ofanintended d home environment t (e.g.,
smallbarriers,slidingdoors).
6.1.2 EvaluationofAHPCriteriafortheHome-CareRobotApplication
Basedonthedescribedfunctionalandnon-functionalrequirements,theAHPcriteria canbe
evaluated:
Adaptability (A): : Therobotsystemwillbeexclusively y developedforassistiveapplications
in homeenvironments. . Theapplicationinother r working areas (e.g.,hospitals) willbe
arrangedbasedonthegivensystemrealization. Anadaptationoftherobotsystem(em-
bedded system m and d mechanical design) to other elds of f applications is not planned.
Therefore,thiscriterionisofverylowpriority.
OperationTime(O): Forthebest t usability,therobotmustmovefreelyinthehomeenvi-
ronmenttomonitorforCRortoapproachtothe CRfor interactionpurposes. . During
thechargingprocess,whichshouldbecarriedoutautonomously,thefunctionalityofthe
6.1. SYSTEMSPECIFICATION
115
robotisrestrictedtostationarytasks(e.g.,stationaryusermonitoring,waitingforincom-
ing commands). . Evenif f therobotstillprovides aset offunctionalitiesinthecharging
mode,theoperationtimewithonebatterychargeshouldbemaximizedandthecharg-
ing timeminimized. . The e satisfactionof the criteria OperationTime e is s weighted d to be
"demonstrated"moreimportantthanAdaptability.
Usability(U): Thiscriterionisofhighrelevancefortheintendedrobotapplication. Particu-
larily,theinteractionwithCRsueringfromcognitiveimpairmentsrequiresanintuitive
andeasyusabilityoftherobotsystem.Thedesignprocesshastoconsidertheintegration
ofallinteractive components in anadequate way (i.e.,the position of the display and
theunderstandabilityofspeechoutputs) andatechnology-hidingintegrationofallsys-
temcomponents. Thiscriterionisweightedtobe"demonstrated"moreimportantthan
AdaptabilityandweaklymoreimportantthanOperationTime.
Robustness(R): The e robustness ofthisrobotsystemisofrelevanceforthesuccessofthis
application.Nevertheless,itisexpectedthatthemechanicalstressislowerthaninshop-
pingapplications,becauseofthehomelyworkingareaandthelowerdrivingspeed. This
criterionis,therefore,weightedtobe"demonstrated"moreimportantthanAdaptability,
equallyimportantasOperationTime,andweaklylessimportantthanUsability.
Safeness(S): The e safeness of users and home furnishings has to be consideredduring the
development process. . Thediversityofobstacles s thatcouldbehit orknockoverbythe
robothastobeconsidered. Therealizationofasafechargingsystemisalsoofrelevance
fordesigndecisions. ThecriterionSafenessisweightedas"demonstrated"moreimpor-
tantthanAdaptability,equallyimportantasOperationTime,weaklylessimportantthan
Usability,andweaklymoreimportantthanRobustness.
Features(F): Theintegrationoffeaturesisofrelevanceforthelaterimplementationofnovel
functionalities(e.g.,enhancedpersontrackingalgorithms)basedonthesamerobotplat-
form.Fortheweightingprocess,itisassumedthatthiscriterionisweaklylessimportant
thanOperationTime andRobustness,andessentiallylessimportantthanUsabilityand
Safeness.ThiscriterionisweightedtobeessentiallymoreimportantthanAdaptability.
Costs(C): Theproductionandmaintenancecostsareimportantparametersforthemarket
penetrationandthesuccessofthisrobotplatform. Thegoalofthedevelopmentprocess
wouldbetoachieveapricethatallowsforthemarketingofthisplatformintheconsumer
sector. Project t partners agreed d that t asellingprice of less than n 10.000Eurowouldbe
desirable. Consequently,CostsareabsolutelymoreimportantthanAdaptability,strongly
favoredoverFeatures,absolutelymoreimportantthanRobustness,andweaklymoreim-
portantthanOperationTime,Usability,andSafeness.
116
CHAPTER6. DEVELOPMENTOFTHEHOME-CAREROBOTPLATFORM
Theresults of the pairwise criteriacomparisons andthecalculated d weights s arepresentedin
Table6.5.
Table6.5: Criteriaevaluationmatrixofthehome-carerobotplatform.Thestructureofthis
tableisinaccordancetoTable5.5.
A
O
U
R
S
F
C
Weights
C.R.
A
1/1
1/7
1/7
1/7
1/7
1/5
1/9
2.1%
0.067
O
7/1
1/1
1/3
1/1
1/1
3/1
1/3
11.2%
U
7/1
3/1
1/1
3/1
3/1
5/1
1/3
22.6%
R
7/1
1/1
1/3
1/1
1/3
3/1
1/5
9.3%
S
7/1
1/1
1/3
3/1
1/1
5/1
1/3
14.6%
F
5/1
1/3
1/5
1/3
1/5
1/1
1/6
5.0%
C
9/1
3/1
3/1
5/1
3/1
6/1
1/1
35.2%
In comparisontothe shopping robot t application, , the results s of this weighting process show
that the development must stronglyfocus onCosts,because oftheusageof this platformin
theprivatesector.ThecriterionSafeness,mostimportantfortheshoppingsystem,isstillofa
remarkableinterest,butlessimportantthanUsability. ThecriteriaAdaptability andFeatures,
whichmightbeconsideredforfurtherusageinotherapplications,arenotofrelevanceforthe
development process. . Figure e 6.3 presents s the e criteria chart t of f the weighting results for the
home-carerobotsystem.
Adaptability (A)
Operating Time (O)
Usability (U)
Robustness (R)
Safeness (S)
Costs (C)
Features (F)
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
Figure 6.3: : Criteria a chart for the e home-care e robot t platforms representing the calculated
criteriaweightsofTable6.5.
6.2. SYSTEMDESIGN
117
6.2 SystemDesign
6.2.1 SystemArchitecture
Giventhecriteriaweightsforthehome-carerobotsystem,anappropriatesystemarchitecture
canbederived. Forthedescribedalternativesofthesystemarchitecture(Chapter4.2.2),the
AHPrevealedtheprioritiesshowninTable6.6.
Table6.6: Decisionresultsforthesystemarchitectures.
A
O
U
R
S
F
C
Priority
Rank
Impact
2.1%
11.2%
22.6%
9.3%
14.6%
5.0%
35.2%
A1
12.5%
36.4%
25.0%
5.4%
5.7%
8.3%
43.4%
27.0%
3
A2
12.5%
36.4%
25.0%
14.6%
26.3%
8.3%
43.4%
30.9%
1
A3
12.5%
6.6%
25.0%
23.7%
12.2%
41.7%
4.0%
14.1%
4
A4
62.5%
20.7%
25.0%
56.3%
55.8%
41.7%
9.2%
27.9%
2
IncontrasttothemodulararchitectureA4thatwasusedfortheshoppingrobotsystem,ar-
chitectureA2was determinedasmostapplicablefor thehome-careapplication. . This s system
architectureconsistsofacentralizedcontrolunit(embeddedPC)toexecutecomplexsoftware
algorithmsandasystem-specicco-controllertoprocessreal-timetasks. Theselectionofthis
architectureismainlydrivenbythecriteriaCosts andSafeness. . Theproductioncostsofthis
architecture are low, becauseof the small number of embedded systemunits (primarily the
co-controller) andthe highspecialization n ofthis s co-controller totherequiredfunctionalities.
Thehighsafenessofthissystemarchitectureisalsoenabledbytheco-controller.Anadequate
designofthis co-controller allows redundancy inthemonitoringof safetyfunctionalities and
determinedreactiontimestocriticalsystemevents.
Theconceptoftheselectedarchitectureistheprocessingofalllow-levelfunctionalitiesbyone
Robot System
Control
Subsystem
Interaction
Subsystem
Power Supply
Subsystem
Sensor
Subsystem
Drive
Subsystem
Figure6.4: Decompositionofthehome-carerobotsystemintosubsystems.
118
CHAPTER6. DEVELOPMENTOFTHEHOME-CAREROBOTPLATFORM
embeddedsystemunit,theco-controller.However,thewidedistributionoffunctionalitiesinside
therobotsystem(e.g.,thehead)wouldrequireacomplexcablingofthesecomponentstothe
co-controller.Thisincreasestheproductionscostsanddecreasestherobustnessofthesystem.
Toaddressthisproblem,twoadditionallow-levelsystemunitsaredesignated: aheadunitto
controlthemultimediasystemsandtherobotheadcomponents(i.e.,theeyedisplays);anda
batterycontrolunittomonitor,charge,andprotecttherobot’sbattery.
6.2.2 SystemDecomposition
DecompositionoftheSystemintoSubsystems
Equivalenttotheshoppingrobotsystem,thisrobotconsistsofaControlSubsystem,aPower
SupplySubsystem,aDriveSubsystem,aSensorSubsystem,andanInteractionSubsystem(Fig-
ure6.4).
DecompositionofSubsystemstoSegments
Thedecompositionprocessfromsubsystemto segment levelstillleads toasystemstructure
(Figure6.5)similartotheshoppingrobotsystem.Themaindierenceisthereducednumberof
segments,whichwasachievedbyallocatingseveralfunctionalitiestofewsegments.Forexample,
theMainControlSegment isresponsiblefortheexecutionofcomplexsoftwarealgorithmsand
Power Supply Subsystem
Head/Multimedia
Segment
Low-Level Interaction
Segment
Control Subsystem
Main Control
Segment
Battery / Charger
Segment
Interaction Subsystem
Vision Sensor
Segment
Distance Sensor
Segment
Motion Sensor
Segment
Sensor Subsystem
Drive Subsystem
Drive Motor 
Segment
Figure6.5: Decompositionofthehome-carerobotfromsubsystemtosegmentlevel.
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