2015 – Watch Me Robot

  • Inspiration: Having worked on various projects in the GRASP Lab at Penn, we were impressed at the wide range of real-life applications autonomous flying robots could fulfill from natural disaster rescue missions, crop mapping of farms, and cooperate in swarms. We were inspired to find a simpler way for people to control these robots, and the Pebble smartwatch seemed like a great opportunity for its simplicity, effectiveness, and affordability. We built this in one weekend at PennApps XII.
  • What it does: We built an extensible interface between Pebble and ROS (Robot Operating System), which allows users to control a wide variety of ROS-enabled robots from quadrotors to the PR2.
  • How we built it: Using a C Pebble app embedded with a Javascript web client, we send commands to a ROS-integrated Python web server using websockets. These commands are interpreted by the Python node to invoke the appropriate C++ functions to control the robot. We have tested out the app with a quadrotor at the GRASP Lab at UPenn (see video above). Credits to the robot control stack go to developers at Multi-Robot Systems Lab.
  • What’s next for Watch Me Robot: We are looking to adding more functionality to the app itself, especially the accelerometer, as well as making a more user-friendly and appealing interface. Hopefully, we can also apply this ROS-Pebble integration to not only quadrotors but mobile robots, manipulators, and humanoids.