Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Students develop a personal robot to improve quality of life

Canterbury students develop a personal robot to improve quality of life

July 11, 2014

A group of University of Canterbury students are developing a personal robot with the aim of bringing robotics to people to improve quality of life.

Psychology PhD student Kyle Wilson, physics and finance graduate Owen Flanagan and electrical engineering graduate Luke Schwartfeger are the co-founders of the SelfieBot company and its first personal robot.

``In the future we see drones as becoming almost ubiquitous. They could be used for tasks such as home surveillance, accompanying people on jogs and walking you home after dark,’’ Wilson says.

``We recognise the potential drones have to benefit our lives in the near future. Most drone applications are industrial or commercial but we believe there are massive possibilities in the area of personal robotics.’’

The team are carrying out substantial testing, which is playing a vital role in dictating any changes made to the engineering of the device, as well as future direction of the product. Wilson says his research demonstrates that University of Canterbury students can be at the forefront of the technological revolution in New Zealand, regardless of the field their degree is from.

``While there are drones that can follow people on a jog, none so far can reliably follow someone indoors without crashing into a wall or objects. We believe we have the solution. Our SelfieBot product is a small camera drone which we think can change the way personal photographs are taken.

``No piloting is required. The user simply places the SelfieBot in the air like a floating camera and it can hold its position. The SelfieBot can change the way in which selfies are taken. Selfies will no longer be restricted by an arm’s length. They will effectively be hands-free and can include more people in a picture and who can do more than just pose at a close-up range,’’ Wilson says.

SelfieBot - the company - is an active member of University of Canterbury Innovators for bright business ideas and is working out of The Hatchery entrepreneur centre run by Dr Rachel Wright. The students are just a month away from having a functional prototype and they are planning to use Kickstarter later in the year to crowd-fund the SelfieBot.

``If we are successful this will be a great for New Zealand business. Confidence from overseas and New Zealand national investors means we will spend their money in New Zealand rather than on overseas ventures.

Psychology is a science that powerfully contributes to the future of New Zealand. Value-added products must be those that appeal to the end-users, the public, and psychology is a critical ingredient in the design process. Wilson is using that knowledge to help the engineering and commerce students in their development of the personal robot.

Wilson’s supervisor Professor Deak Helton says psychology training is helpful to an electronics hardware start-up because understanding human behaviour and capabilities is the best way to design products, equipment and systems for effective, satisfying, and safe use.

``This is an excellent example of how psychology training can result in awesome innovation and help move New Zealand forward,” Professor Helton says.

``This may encourage students who think innovation is only about engineering and do not grasp that fields like psychology have a massive role to play in the development of user friendly products which will appeal to the market.’’

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

BusinessDesk: Weak Dairy Prices Prompt Pull Back In Fonterra Forecasts

Weak global dairy prices have prompted analysts to pull back their expectations for Fonterra Cooperative Group's payout to farmers for next season. More>>

Broadband Network: Spark Launches New, Competitive Ultra Fibre Plan Line-Up

Spark is giving customers an even more compelling reason to switch to its Ultra Fibre plans from today with the introduction of new competitive pricing for the majority of its plans (details below) and Fibre Landline (voice-over-fibre technology) for ... More>>

Employment: ANZ Proposes Casualisation In Whangarei Stores

ANZ workers in Whangarei could see their incomes drop by 20 to 40 percent if the bank’s proposal to reduce the number of full-time positions goes ahead says FIRST Union national organiser Tali Williams. More>>

Finance: BNZ Develops Specialist Tāmaki Māori Banking Team

BNZ develops specialist Tāmaki Māori Banking Team to support Māori as Auckland grows More>>

Pharmaceuticals: Commerce Commission To Consider Pharmaceuticals Merger

The Commerce Commission has received an application from Pfizer Inc. seeking clearance to acquire all of the shares in Hospira Inc. More>>

Real Estate: Housing Unaffordability Issues Spread

Surging house prices in Auckland and Queenstown last month pushed home ownership even further beyond the reach of first home buyers in the two districts, according to the AMP360 Home Loan Affordability Report for March. More>>

Statistics NZ: Annual Exports To China Dip Below Australia

The value of goods exports to Australia ($8.7 billion) surpassed those to China for the year ended March 2015, Statistics New Zealand said today. More>>

Science: Hookworm Discovery At Malaghan Institute

Professor Graham Le Gros has led a team which has stimulated both innate and memory responses to the parasite, discovering along the way the unexpected behaviour of one particular immune cell, in Hookworm, one of the world’s most devastating tropical ... More>>

Business: Provinces Urged To Make Full Use Of New Air Services

Provincial New Zealand has been urged to use new air services to Auckland or risk losing them either partially or completely. The stark warning was issued today by Far North mayor John Carter at a ceremony at Kaitaia airport to mark the final Air ... More>>

Mobile: 2degrees To Credit All Calls And SMS To Nepal

In the wake of the devastating earthquake in Nepal in the weekend, 2degrees will be crediting all calls and SMS messages made to mobiles and landlines in Nepal from Friday 24th April until midnight Wednesday 29th April. More>>

Scoop Business: Alex Swney Pleads Guilty To $2.5M Fraud Charge

Alex Swney, former chief executive of the Auckland city centre business association Heart of the City, has pleaded guilty to dishonestly using documents to obtain $2.5 million. More>>

ALSO:

Petrol Burns Prices: Second Consecutive Quarterly Fall For CPI

The consumers price index (CPI) fell 0.3 percent in the March 2015 quarter, following a 0.2 percent fall in the December 2014 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. The last time the CPI showed two consecutive quarterly falls was in the December 1998 and March 1999 quarters. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news