Kinova Robotics is set to offer consumers a new product line with the beta launch of Movo, a mobile manipulation platform designed to aid in the research and experimentation of mobile robotics.
Movo has been fully designed and developed using the Robot Operating System, along with MoveIt! and Gazebo, and offers an application programming interface that will provide researchers the most advanced functionality in all areas of robotics.
The new, feature-rich platform benefits from the low weight, low energy demand and compactness of Kinova’s world-renowned manipulators, combined with a powerful omnidirectional mobile system and fully integrated navigational system.
Its high-end, open-source architecture will make it easier to start any type of mobile manipulator application and will allow researchers more time to focus on their respective subjects.
Keith Blanchet, senior director of Kinova’s Innovation division, says: “The mobile platform market is fairly busy, but lacked open platforms that would allow for advanced manipulation or meaningful depth and range of creative research capability.
“With Movo, Kinova aims to have robotic technology achieve extraordinary tasks in all aspects of our lives, not only the workplace.
“Mainstream public acceptance of mobile platforms will only come from further research on the technologies and human factor considerations of such platforms. Movo provides unparalleled research capability to that end.”
Movo also represents a natural evolution in Kinova’s design DNA from its previous line of Jaco robotic arms.
The company says its mission, however, remains the same — every decision that went into this new platform stemmed from “the desire to continue empowering people and increasing human capacity through responsible, respectful uses of technology”.
In working with researchers across the globe, Kinova says it realized the need for effective solutions that will allow them to meaningfully contribute to the world in innovative ways.
The company will, therefore, provide dedicated support to researchers using Movo during the beta stage to ensure success in their research and the best use of the new platform in their particular field.
Early impressions, including that of George Konidaris, assistant professor at Brown University’s department of computer science and Movo’s very first beta user, appear promising.
“We were looking for a reliable, general-purpose mobile manipulation platform, because the research projects pursued in my lab are often quite diverse,” Konidaris says.
“Movo looks to be a great general-purpose research platform. We’re planning to use it as our primary mobile manipulator for years to come.”
Movo will remain a part of the company’s beta program until its official release, which is scheduled for 2018.