It’s a good time to be in the market for a mobile manipulator. After recent announcements by both PAL Robotics and Fetch Robotics, Spanish company Robotnik has stepped up with their take on an affordable robot that can move around and actually, you know, do things for you: RB-1.
Once again, we want to mention up front that any resemblance that the RB-1 might have to other mobile manipulators is likely just because they are designed around a set of capabilities that they all have in common, leading to unavoidable similarities in appearance. The RB-1 looks kind of like Tiago, which looks kind of like Fetch, which looks kind of like UBR-1, which looks kind of like Platformbot, which looks kind of like Toyota’s Partner robot, which itself (and we unforgivably neglected to mention this before) is based on one of the greatest mobile manipulators of them all, Georgia Tech’s EL-E.
So, let’s have a look at RB-1. What’s unique about it is that it’s built mainly using Dynamixel Pro servos: they’re powering the 7-DoF arm, the gripper, and the pan-and-tilt head. The torso also elevates nearly 40 centimeters. The arm has a total reach of 70 centimeters (enough to pick stuff up off the floor), and it can lift 2 kilograms. RB-1 has a 3.5 hour battery life, but I can’t tell if it comes with a dock or not.
In terms of sensors, there’s an Asus Xtion RGBD in the head, and a Hokuyo laser in the base, which is a pretty standard setup for mobile manipulators. Powering all of this is an Intel Core i7 with 8 GB of RAM and a 200 GB of disk, running Linux and ROS.
Robotnik’s website doesn’t seem to be updated to reflect the new robot yet, but the spec sheet we have puts the price at €46,200 (about US $52,000). We’ve contacted the company for more images and videos, and we’ll let you know if we hear back.
[ Robotnik ]
Thanks ROS News!
Evan Ackerman is the senior writer for IEEE Spectrum’s award-winning robotics blog, Automaton. Since 2007, he has written over 6,000 articles on robotics and emerging technology, covering conferences and events on every single continent except Africa, Antarctica, Australia, and South America (although he remains optimistic). In addition to Spectrum, Evan’s work has appeared in a variety of other online publications including Gizmodo and Slate, and you may have heard him on NPR’s Science Friday or the BBC World Service if you were listening at just the right time. Evan has an undergraduate degree in Martian geology, which he almost never gets to use, and still wants to be an astronaut when he grows up. In his spare time, he enjoys scuba diving, rehabilitating injured raptors, and playing bagpipes excellently.