MyRobots offers social network functionality, in this case not for human beings but robots. Domestic robots will be able to post their own messages to their owners, or exchange information between each other.
RobotShop.com, an e-commerce site specialising in robotics, has just launched MyRobots, a cloud-hosted service that enables robots and other intelligent machines to exchange information among themselves or with their human owners. Based on the open source platform ThingSpeak – which specialises in data transmission and storage - the system is primarily something akin to a traditional social network such as Facebook or Twitter. Each user registers his/her robots, which can then connect freely to the Internet - either in their own right via a dedicated function or from a physical terminal sold by RobotShop - using a unique dedicated API key provided by the network. The automated machine can then convey important data – ranging for example from information on a battery’s charge level to the rate at which a vacuum cleaner bag is filling up - by posting text messages on the site.
Communication between machines or with the owner
Mario Tremblay, President of RobotShop, explains that the system will be able to monitor such household appliances in their tasks and ensure any necessary maintenance is carried out, as an automated machine will able to inform its owner as to its own status at any moment. Moreover, each individual machine will be able to "communicate" with its fellows. The site creators hope that before long a refrigerator whose door has been left open will be in a position to ask the household robot vacuum-cleaner, via the robot ‘social network’, to come over and give the door a push. There are many theoretical possibilities but at the moment the system is still in its infancy, especially as today very few robot models are compatible with the platform.
MyRobots to start charging soon
While access to MyRobots is currently free of charge, this is about to change. Each robot will have to use a virtual ‘token’ - which can be obtained on a monthly charge basis - to communicate on the network. The cloud service is also planning to open an online robot app store, with MyRobots taking a 25% cut of all transactions made. The various source codes of the platform are also (for the moment) accessible free of charge, enabling everyone to develop his/her own compatible applications. The network could also serve as a database for automated comments so that robot manufacturers can detect any major faults in their machines more quickly.