Investors: Press Release
GeckoSystems Improves Mobile Robot Solutions in New R&D Facility
CONYERS, GA, May 31, 2011 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- GeckoSystems Intl. Corp, a dynamic leader in the emerging mobile robotics industry revolutionizing their development and usage with "Mobile Robot Solutions for Safety, Security and Service(TM)," (PINKSHEETS: GOSY) (http://www.geckosystems.com/) -- announced today they have improved one of their mobile robot solutions, the GeckoMotorController(TM) 7.2, due to better testing at their new R&D facility.
"Recently we announced that we expected our new R&D lab to be more appropriate for our needs to continue our advanced mobile robot solutions work. After early 'level of autonomy' testing in our new facility, we learned that our GeckoMotorController (that was recently upgraded this past year to its seventh generation) to have need of further improvements," commented Martin Spencer, President/CEO, GeckoSystems Intl. Corp.
The new GeckoMotorController continues to use a proprietary "self adaptive" constant energy paradigm for extraordinarily smooth acceleration and de-acceleration of their mobile service robots. A 'herky jerky' mobile robot platform can be very distracting when proximate to people and other living creatures. "Our latest upgrade to this fundamental low-level software continues to enable ballet smooth movement, but with more robust ramping algorithms from a dead stop," reflected Kevin O'Connor, Sr. EE Roboticist, GeckoSystems Intl. Corp.
The GeckoMotorController is written in the software programming language known as "C," uses quadrature encoded PWM and runs one of the two CPUs that are subsystems on the GeckoSPIO(TM).
"I continue to be very pleased with our new facility. We have a much better testing environment, more amenities, and less noise. I am looking forward to the engineers and programmers we are presently interviewing joining us in this new space, which is more conducive to our advanced robotic systems development," stated O'Connor.
At this new facility, GeckoSystems will be continuing its R&D into advancing their suite of proprietary mobile robot solutions for not only the upgrading of wheelchairs to be collision proof, but also the recently announced GeckoImager(TM), the AscBot(TM), and the ChairBot(TM).
GeckoSystems' new GeckoImager uses sensor fusion interpolated with structured light machine vision ("depth camera") data from the Kinect sensor with sonar range finding data, complimented by GeckoOrient's(TM) solid-state compass, accelerometer, and odometry sensor fusion. This provides their automatic, self-navigation AI software, GeckoNav(TM), with sufficient and timely data to achieve actionable situation awareness resulting in a very safe, loose crowd level of mobile robot autonomy that is "collision proof."
This unedited video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kn93BS44Das , shows a GeckoSystems' CareBot(TM), equipped with a pair of Microsoft Kinect sensors, navigating through a narrow passageway cluttered with various obstacles. This represents the worst case for in-home and/or commercial navigation. GeckoSystems recently announced GeckoImager(TM) incorporates multiple Kinects for a sufficient field of view (FOV) to be safe, collision proof, and capable of automatic self-navigation.
"As demonstrated in the video, the CareBot's automatic self-navigation is accomplished using three high level GeckoSystems' AI savants: GeckoImager, GeckoNav and GeckoSuper. The three savants are spread over two low cost, low power, off-the-shelf dual core Intel Atom motherboards running at 1.66 GHz located on the robot. The computer running GeckoImager is running Ubuntu Linux 10.10 while the computer running GeckoNav and GeckoSuper is running Microsoft Windows XP. Two low-level GeckoSavants, GeckoOrient(TM) and GeckoMotorController(TM) run on their robot controller board, the GeckoSPIO. All of the capabilities depicted in this video are running on board on this prototype mobile service robot. I am very pleased to be part of the engineering and programming team that achieved this demonstrable accomplishment," stated O'Connor.
This fundamental technological approach has many applications in mobile service robots. Heretofore, cost, size and complexity of set up has been prohibitive. Microsoft's recent contribution to the advancement of low cost, truly utilitarian personal robots advances their founder's timeline notably and takes their new product, the Kinect, far beyond only the living room.
Service robots can be used to provide domestic aid for the elderly and disabled, serving various functions ranging from cleaning to entertainment to remote monitoring. The high cost of labor in developed countries and the increasing need for assisted living has led to the development of the service robotics market. As service robots are in greater proximity to humans, the technology involves more safety concerns over human-machine interaction. However, developments in the manufacture of intelligent and safer robots by GeckoSystems address the issues of safety, manipulation, and sensing. Thus, GeckoSystems is well prepared for the day when every home will have a robot.
A test drive in a house was not done as the first demo since most homes are not as cluttered as the "gauntlet alley" depicted. An actual home video, using the prior CompoundedSensorArray(TM) is at: http://www.geckosystems.com/
The design strategy for incorporating the Kinect units into the CareBot overall shroud design is to keep integration costs and manufacturing costs at a minimum. Just as the Ford Model A was better than that of the Model T, nonetheless several millions of Model T's were sold due to the compelling value proposition of selling for the same money as a motorcycle, but capable of carrying up to four people in a near weatherproof transport.
GeckoSystems has several breakthrough technologies -- not just the GeckoImager -- in concert with the Kinect, and all the other necessary mobile robot solutions, such as their GeckoSavants, to have a complete, cost effective and multifunctional product. Due to the robustness of GeckoSystems' biological hierarchal architecture, GeckoNav, being "sensor loving," and the recent invention of GeckoImager, the company has strengthened its "first mover" position in this emerging trillion-dollar industry.
Further, scanning laser range finders provide a similar level of data flood as does the Kinect. Robot experimenters have used scanning laser range finders for nearly ten years. At a cost of $2,500 to $50,000 each they are prohibitive. The PrimeSense Kinect solution is a watershed event due to its low cost and extremely robust functionality. It is consumer pricing for an industrial solution that has been investigated and improved for over 30 years.
GeckoSystems' successful adaptation of Microsoft's Kinect with the GeckoImager enables more markets to be addressed in addition to wheelchairs, such as retail. The strategic business need addressed by GeckoSystems' AscBot is to enhance the in store shopper's experience to strategically position the retailer as better, different than their competitors. This will enable them to enjoy margins greater than their competitors while maintaining desired market share. This type of strategic marketing positioning is necessary to increase gross sales while reducing overall operational costs to increase net profits. Simultaneously, while increasing sales with in store assistance and product promotions, the AscBot's mobile and intelligent video surveillance systems would dramatically reduce shrinkage due to internal and external theft. Simply stated, GeckoSystems' AscBot would "inform and observe(TM)" in retail stores.
The development of the AscBot will make extensive use of existing GeckoSystems technologies originally developed for the CareBot. While the AscBot will require a superset of the existing GeckoSystems capabilities, the additional functions required by the AscBot are currently available in off-the-shelf products that can be easily integrated into the existing GeckoSavant(TM) architecture.
GeckoSystems' successful adaptation of Microsoft's Kinect with the GeckoImager enables more markets to be addressed in addition to retail stores, such as healthcare cost reduction with the recently announced ChairBot(TM).
Care for infirm, chronically ill, and frail individuals with various potentially life threatening episodes is a significant problem throughout the world. The national and international shortage of qualified doctors, nurses and other appropriate health care professionals is well documented in numerous publications and research studies. Tech enabling caregivers is a 21st century solution to this century old problem of cost effective family and societal healthcare.
GeckoSystems has been developing eldercare capable personal robots, the CareBot, for nearly 14 years. Recently they completed their first year of in home trials with many insightful and unexpected benefits to not only the care receiver, but also the extended care giving family. Given this experience, they believe that an eldercare capable robotic wheelchair upgrade could cost effectively assist those infirm family members that are not typically able to walk about freely, needing routine vital sign monitoring and immediate notification of appropriate care givers when vital sign limits are triggered. This group represents family members requiring nearly constant monitoring.
This robotic wheelchair, or ChairBot, would consist of a wheelchair equipped with several artificial intelligence systems (GeckoSavants) developed for the CareBot. In concert these systems enable the occupant of the chair to benefit from automatic collision avoidance and room-to-room transitions. GeckoChat(TM) would provide verbal interaction for control of the wheelchair and annunciate medication and other timely reminders. The GeckoScheduler(TM) would time and commence the prompting of the various reminders for medication and/or vital sign measurements such as blood pressure, pulse rate, blood sugar and/or oxygenation level, EKG monitoring, etc. mounted on the wheelchair. The GeckoSuper(TM) would be programmed by the care givers such that appropriate alarms would trigger should any pre-set vital sign parameters be exceeded and pre-designated parties promptly notified by pager, email, and/or cell phone. In nursing homes or assisted living facilities each ChairBot would be wirelessly networked into the residence's IS system for continuous monitoring of each individual's vital signs as they went about their daily routines.
While the cost of the ChairBot would be greater than that of a CareBot, the cost benefit ratio would be even more extraordinary since semi-professional and professional care givers would no longer be required to be in near constant physical proximity of the care receiver. Hence one caregiver could provide complete monitoring of multiple patients and yet be immediately notified if any of their vital signs exceeded pre-established bounds.
"We continue to be very pleased with our new R&D facilities. We are interviewing and hiring more engineers and programmers to continue our product development on the CareBot, the upgrading of wheelchairs to be 'collision proof,' and our new AscBot and ChairBot product concepts. This friendlier, non-intimidating movement of our mobile robots will further speed the adoption of them by the consumer, professional healthcare, and commercial/homeland security marketplaces, while providing our nearly 1400 shareholders the ROI they deserve for their vision and confidence in GeckoSystems," concluded Spencer.