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Robot Duty Cycle

The robots that are helping out during the Olympic games aren’t working 24/7.

This article raises an interesting point about the demands we humans place upon our robot assistants. Some people expect their robotic assistants to always be available to help. For non-robots like the amazon echo and google home, these assistants are stationary and can stay plugged in all the time. Their functionality doesn’t change with battery state of charge. For a mobile robot, until wireless charging is available over longer distances, it seems unavoidable that at some point the mobile robot must remain relatively stationary to recharge for a period of time. Hence, it can’t perform all of it’s functions all of the time.

So, I’m curious…If your mobile Misty robot had a battery that took one hour to charge, how long would you expect the robot to function before it needed to recharge again? For the purposes of this question, let’s assume that when you aren’t using your robot, it’s always on and it has a life or purpose of it’s own…i.e. it performs some task or chooses from amongst it’s available skills and executes them as it sees fit, when you aren’t developing new skills on it. Assume that those skills are using all of the robot’s sensors all of the time. How long do you expect on hour of charge to last before your Misty robot needs to recharge again? And how long would you want one hour of charge to last?

Would you expect it to last longer or shorter than one charge of your smartphone battery? Should it last longer or shorter than one charge of your smartphone battery?

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I keep wondering about this very topic! By its nature, a robot has got to take more battery power than a mobile phone. It’s much larger, and it moves. But it can also carry a much larger batter, so my hope is that Misty could eventually go a full day without needing to charge again – basically the same basic expectation many of us have for our phones.

Speaking of phones, one of the major power drains on phones is the screen. A bright screen drains a phone battery incredibly quickly, so I always take care to set my screen to the dimmest level that is still comfortable. Would Misty’s screen be dimmable by users? Would the screen automatically turn off if Misty sensed that no humans were around?

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