By Savioke intern, Eric Vincent, a student at Stanford University.
Eric concentrated his efforts on implementing exploratory new models of interaction with Relay. First, connecting Relay to Amazon Alexa in order to enable voice-only control of deliveries. Next, enabling robots to make HTTP calls to external APIs.
At Savioke, we are dedicated to making our robots both easy-to-use and sophisticated in their capabilities. Voice control shows potential to be a valuable step in this direction — allowing users to request a delivery without stopping their current task. Using Amazon’s Alexa Web Service, along with Echo and AWS Lambda, proved to be a simple and effective way to implement a prototype. Users of “Relay by Voice” can place a delivery from one room to another or ask Relay for the status of an ongoing delivery. Both conversational and command-like approaches are enabled.
While predominantly a delivery robot, Relay is capable of much more. Hotels use Relay to make their room service smarter, but in the future, Relay could also enable them to make their whole hotel smarter. Relay could access HTTP-enabled smart home devices, or send statistics to a web server. In the second demonstration, Relay acts a window to the “internet of things,” calling a custom doorbell app in our office. Relay meets visitors at the office entrance, guides them to our waiting area, and informs employees that there is somebody waiting.
While these exact projects may not find a place in our product in the near future, you can expect to see evidence of our close attention to Relay’s friendly and interactive nature. Relay will only become more and more natural to interact with while functionality is added.
Savioke’s Internship program provides college students with an opportunity to integrate aspects of their degree program with the real world application of open source hardware and software development. Over the course of two to three months, interns contribute their expertise to the body of knowledge that forms the foundation of Savioke’s Robotics program, and gain valuable experience working with real, deployed systems.