Intel Lab Transforms Your Phone into a Robot for $50

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Have you ever dreamed of owning a personal robot? Boston Dynamic's doglike Spot would be a great choice were it not for the hefty US$74,500 price tag. But don't worry -- a couple of Intel Labs researchers have proposed a novel method for building a robot called "OpenBot" on just a US$50 budget. Complete design and implementation information has been open-sourced, all you need to supply is the brain and sensory system -- your smartphone. Inspired by projects such as Google Cardboard that plug standard smartphones into cheap physical enclosures, the researchers developed and validated a design for a mobile robot that leverages a smartphone for sensory and computational abilities, communication channels and access to a software ecosystem. The robot is capable of mobile navigation with real-time onboard sensing and computation, and can perform tasks such as person-following and real-time autonomous navigation in unstructured environments.

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