Remote controls seem to be old-fashioned, and Clearpath Robotics demonstrated clearly that Tweets are everything needed for controlling their TwitBot.
Clearpath Robotics marked its five year anniversary with a special robot that can be controlled in a special way. In all these years, Clearpath Robotics collaborated with some great engineers from University of Waterloo’s Mechatronics and Engineering departments. The founders of Thalmic Labs, who made the MYO muscle impulse-based remote control also graduated from there.
Matt Rendall, the CEO of Clearpath Robotics, pointed out that “We’re all engineers so we take a very experimental and scientific approach to how we do things. We test the hypothesis. We see the results. We improve on it. And so we sold our first robot [and] we learned a lot. We sold some more robots, we made some tweaks and we continued to iterate through our process. At every stage of the business there are more tests and more hypotheses, there are more experiments that need to be run to grow the business.”
Controlling TwitBot is pretty straight-forward. First, you need to check the live feed that’s available on Twitch, in order to know the robot’s current position. The music is quite relaxing (albet very weird), but can become annoying after a while, so you’re free to turn it down or off, if you wish. Next, you need to get on Twitter and mention Clearpath Robotics’ handle (@ClearpathRobots). The hash tag #MoveRobot is what triggers TwitBot‘s movement, so don’t expect messages not containing this influence him in any way.
The available commands are:
- forward or fwd
- backward or bck
- right or rght
- left or ft
- stop or stp
The LED lights of TwitBot can also be changed by mentioning blue, red, white, etc. in the tweet. Since the Twitter-controlled robot doesn’t have to much room to move, don’t expect it to go more than a few centimeters after receiving each command. Nevertheless, this is still a very interesting concept that could definitely be improved.
Clearpath Robotics encourages whoever plays with their TwitBot to share this little game with their friends. After all, it’s a lot nicer when a lot of people are involved and TwitBot gets commands to move in various directions all the time. If you watch the live feed long enough, you even get to see some easter egg moves.
Be social! Follow Walyou on Facebook and Twitter, and read more related stories about the Myo wristband that uses muscle impulses to control remote objects, and the Pepper, the incredibly communicative Japanese robot.