At the Secret Headquarters of the A.I. Foundation in Europe, Architecture Committee Member Chelis Carmago unveiled a "Body for ALICE" in the form of the Evolution Robotics ER-1 mobile robot, which he donated to the Foundation. The robot chassis carries a notebook computer as well as sensors including a webcam.
Unlike other mobile robot platforms with built-in dedicated processors, the ER-1 offloads most processing to the customer's own notebook computer. This design permits rapid upgrading of processor technology as computer technology evolves, as well as access to all of the latest mass market software tools. In particular, the design will permit the the programming to include an AIML interpreter for high level robot commands.
According to the company's web site, www.evolution.com,
"The ER1 is a robotics software platform, plus all the necessary hardware, designed to be the best starting point for any project imaginable by the robot hobbyist. Quite simply, ER1 inventors have access to a real autonomous robot -- not just a toy! With the ER1's differentiating features (advanced vision software, Robot Control Center GUI, socket API, and re- configurable industrial strength XBeams.), you can do an infinite number of experiments...
"The ER1 software is accessed via the Robot Control Center (RCC), a Graphical User Interface (GUI) for controlling and customizing your robot. It enables you to program your robot, out-of-the-box, using simple 'If/Then' controls. You can also directly access the robot's functionality using a Socket API/Command Line Interface...
"The RCC allows your ER1 to recognize objects, colors, sound levels and words, to send and receive email, to act on schedule, to move around autonomously or by remote control, to play sounds and music, or to take pictures and video. You can use the RCC software to combine these individual behaviors into any number of complex behaviors."
Keep watching this web site and reading the alicebot mailing lists for more information and progress reports about A.L.I.C.E. on the ER-1 platform. We plan to write AIML categories to control the robot through high-level natural language commands. If you would like to help support this ongoing research effort, please join the ALICE A.I. Foundation.