Linda is one of six robots under development in the £7.2 million collaborative STRANDS project and is named after Lincoln’s Roman name, Lindum Colonia.
Researchers are creating mobile robots able to operate independently over prolonged periods, based on an understanding of 3D space and how this space changes over time.
Funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework programme (FP7), the project team consists of six academic partners, a security company and an Austrian care home provider, where the technology will be tested for real.
The robots will eventually be deployed to run for an extended period of time so they have the chance to develop an understanding of how the world appears and how to identify deviations from their normal environment. The ultimate aim is for the robots to support security guards or staff in care homes.
As part of EU Robotics Week 2013, the six robots took part in a similar ‘robot marathon’ to see which could run for the longest time and cover the most distance.
Dr Marc Hanheide, from Lincoln’s School of Computer Science, leads the research on how the robots gather information about their surroundings, and use this learned knowledge to interact appropriately with human users.
He said: “When complete, these robots will perform intelligent tasks in care and security applications. Before that, we must ensure they can simply just survive without expert help in the real world. To challenge ourselves and our robots, we decided to run a robot marathon during European Robotics Week 2013. This was an endurance competition in which the universities who are participating in the project ran their robots for as long as possible, with the aim of them covering as much ground as possible. Linda won the marathon, and this year is taking on an even bigger challenge; running 24/7 in a public space.”
During her challenge Linda will also be gathering data to help her to learn how to become more robust in the future, which will include assessing how people move around her, and which routes are particularly safe and fast to take.
The technology used in the STRANDS project was showcased at a week-long national celebration of university research at the Natural History Museum in the summer of 2014. Linda was chosen to mingle with visitors as part of Universities Week 2014, a campaign which aims to increase public awareness of the wide and varied role of the UK’s universities.
See Linda at The Collection, Danes Terrace, Lincoln, 10am to 4pm from 24th to 30th November 2014.
Follow Linda’s activities during the week through live broadcasts at http://lcas.lincoln.ac.uk/linda and on Twitter @LindaStrands