Smart homes contain several systems to alleviate daily tasks, allowing the elderly or disabled to lead more independent lives. KAIST’s Intelligent Sweet Home (ISH), in development since 2005 up to the present, is an example of a smart home. Among the ISH devices are Intelligent wheelchairs, Intelligent beds, Robotic hoists, and a robotic agent to act as an intermediary between these systems and the end user. The robot (named Joy) moves on three wheels (two driven wheels, one omni-castor) and has two arms with grippers so that it may fetch items. Video after the break.
In order to serve as the middleman between a human and the complex subsystems of a smart home environment, Joy must be able to understand the user’s needs and intentions. It must also complete tasks autonomously as much as possible without explicit human commands based on the situation. This kind of artificial intelligence is very difficult to model correctly. The researchers used a planning algorithm based on STRIPS (Stanford Research Institute Problem Solver) but more research into HRI is required before Joy will function naturally.
The design of the robot is based on sa-sang constitution theory, found in traditional Korean medicine. The theory groups people into 4 categories of personality. As a steward, Joy fits the so-eum-in category, which stands for prudence, obedience, adorable, and human-friendly. They selected orange as the dominant color to signify a joyful, cheerful, and lively feeling. The original prototype stood 110cm tall, and a slightly modified version has been developed since (see the photos and video to see the different versions).