Functional Design

The robot in service of the user

© Fraunhofer IPA

The novel design of Care-O-bot 3 represents an intentional move away from existing humanoid service robots. Instead, the robot has been given a functional design, outlining its abilities as a butler. This helps for the user to align his expectations with the actual capabilities of the robot and thus increases the acceptance of the robot. Furthermore, the role of Care-O-bot as a tool that is controlled by the human user at any time is underlined instead of presenting the robot as a technical or even equal version of the human.

Use of flexible materials

© Fraunhofer IPA
Care-O-bot 3 with new tray kinematics based on Schunk Powerballs (2012)

Using flexible materials and composites, a soft and pliant form has been created for the cover of the robot. The cover adjusts to accommodate the movements of the upper body and avoids any pinch and shear points. Body gestures like bowing or nodding are e.g. applied to give an intuitive feedback to the user. The material used for the cover has been developed by Bayer MaterialScience and is characterized by being flexible while at the same time maintaining its form without any wrinkles.